Tips to Dodge Holiday Pounds

Tis the season of merriment, cheer and overindulgence. Pecan pie, sugar cookies and eggnog – the holidays are filled with our favorite, and yes, fattening, foods. It’s fine to enjoy these treats but do so in moderation. It will help to avoid packing on extra holiday pounds. If you’re doing the cooking, try to look for creative ways to lighten up your favorite recipes.

Healthy ingredient substitutions will help you cut fat and calories in your favorite dessert recipes. So, when you plan your holiday baking, consider some of these healthy tips.

Use Less Sugar

You can cut calories simply by using less sugar or by substituting a no-calorie sweetener for part of the sugar. For each tablespoon of sugar you cut out, you’ll save 48 calories. So cutting 1/4 cup of sugar would save you a total of nearly 200 calories. Be sure to look at the packaging for sugar-to-sweetener measurement conversions.

Choose Whole-Wheat Flour

Add fiber and other important nutrients to your recipe by using whole wheat flour instead of white flour. In most bakery-type recipes you can usually substitute whole-wheat flour for half of the white flour. An added bonus…the extra fiber helps slow digestion and increase fullness.

Substitute Egg Whites

Use two egg whites instead of the whole egg because the yolk is not as healthy as the white. Or, choose an egg substitute to help reduce cholesterol even more.

Cut the Fat

In most baking recipes, you can cut the fatty ingredient – butter, margarine, shortening or oil – by half. Replace the other half with a moist ingredient such as applesauce or low-fat yogurt.

Try Low-Fat or Low Sugar Products

Try substituting lower-fat and lower-sugar ingredients in your baking recipes when possible. Try reduced-fat cheese, light cream cheese, less sugar jams, light pancake syrup, light yogurt and fat-free half-and-half to help cut calories and fat.

Eliminate Extras

Recipe add-ins can sometimes be left out or cut in half. For example, if a recipe calls for chocolate chips, reduce the amount. By eliminating a tablespoon of chocolate chips you can cut out about 50 calories and three grams of fat. And in some cakes and cookies, you can eliminate frosting and substitute a light sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Choose Cocoa Instead of Chocolate

Cocoa is a great way to add the chocolate flavor to bakery recipes without getting the saturated fat (and calories) found in chocolate chips or chocolate squares. For every two squares of baking chocolate you replace, you’ll shave off almost 90 calories and 14 grams of fat.

Use Cooking Spray and Nonstick Pans

Using nonstick pans and dishes and a spritz of canola cooking spray means you’ll need less fat in the batter or crust to keep food
from sticking.

Substitute Powered Milk or Evaporated Milk

Using milk substitutes instead of the real thing can make a drastic reduction in calories.

Add Flavor with Citrus

Use lemon, lime or orange zest to add a punch of flavor to your baked goods. Fruit puree mixtures are low calorie, taste good and work especially well in chocolate, spice and carrot cakes.

More Help for Shaving Off Unwanted Holiday Pounds

Drink More Water

Water fills your stomach and reduces feelings of hunger. Drink plenty before going to a party and you’ll probably eat less.

Go for the Small Plate

Research shows that people tend to eat whatever they put on their plates – even if their stomachs are full. So, if you choose a large plate for hors d’oeuvres or at a buffet you are more likely to overeat

Take a Walk

An oldie but a goodie, taking a walk is one of the simplest ways to prevent holiday weight gain. Bundle up and enjoy a walk in the winter wonderland.

Limit Alcohol

Avoid drinking too much alcohol at parties. Eggnog, the most popular holiday drink, has an incredible 450 calories per glass. That’s the equivalent of nearly one full meal. And keep in mind, alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, making it more likely you will reach for tempting treats as the night goes on.

Give Yourself a Break

If you overindulge one day, don’t worry or stress about it. Just get back on the right track the next day. If you eat a little more, exercise a little more in order to make up for it.

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