Is there anything cozier than baking during the holidays? The weather outside may be frightful, but inside it’s warm and wonderfully fragrant with cinnamon and chocolate.
Think that because you’re on a diet you can’t indulge in holiday baking? Oh yes you can, with this guide to smart swaps.
1. Leave out the sugar and bring in the stevia for a calorie-free sweetener. Because stevia is 200 times more sweet than sugar, you’ll need to reduce the amount of sweetener that the recipe requires. Experiment with the recipe by using a different ingredient to add volume. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, try 1/4 cup of stevia and then 3/4 cup of applesauce. For easy measuring, use a brand of stevia that comes in bulk, such as Vitacost.
2. If you’ve gone gluten-free and have a favorite recipe you want to bake, try a gluten-free baking mix, such as Pamela’s Products Gluten and Wheat-Free Baking Mix.
3. Do you love making cookie cut-outs in the shapes of trees and stars, but worry that the complexities of making your own gluten-free cookies will put you on overload? Bring on those cookie cutters and the fun with Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten-Free Dreams ® Sugar Cookie Mix! It’s also low in calories with just 70 calories per tasty cookie.
4. Have you ever read the ingredient list on a bottle of vanilla extract in the store? Most of them contain chemicals that you can’t pronounce, an overload of sugar and an abundance of alcohol. Go with a healthy substitute in your recipes this holiday with alcohol-free and fair trade Frontier Natural Products Vanilla Flavor.
5. There’s something about the winter holidays that requires hot chocolate to drink. Unfortunately, there’s also something about the holidays that causes waistlines to expand. To the rescue: A sugar-free cocoa mix that tastes like the real thing: Just Like Sugar Guilt-Free Hot Cocoa Mix.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com, Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.