Healthy Substitutions for Baking and Cooking This Holiday Season

Tis the season…for baking holiday cookies, making dishes for holiday parties, and the list continues.  There are many traditional foods that are served around the holidays that are loaded with fat and calories. However, with some slight modifications, many of these recipes can be little healthier.  Try the following substitutions to reduce the fat and calories in some of your favorite dishes:    

Instead of: Use:
Cream Cheese Low-fat or fat-free cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
Heavy Cream Evaporated skim milk
High-Fat Cheeses Low-fat or skim-milk cheese (look for < 5gm fat per ounce)
Mayonnaise Low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise or plain low-fat yogurt
Oil or fat (for basting) Fruit juice or low fat stock
Oil (in baked goods) Applesauce
Sour Cream Fat-free sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt
Sugar Nonnutritive sweeteners (i.e. Splenda)
Whipped Cream Fat-free whipped cream or fat-free Cool Whip
White Flour Equal parts white flour and whole wheat flour
Whole Egg 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute
Whole Milk Skim milk

Saving 50-100 calories here or there, may not seem like a big difference. However, cutting back 100 calories a day can lead to a 10 pound weight loss at the end of the year.  Many of these substitutions can be made with very minimal changes to the flavor or texture of a dish.  Chances are that your family or friends won’t know the difference, but their waistlines may thank you for it.