Not sure if it’s just me or what, but I am getting nervous about the impending holiday season. I love to bake– I deliver baked goods to neighbors, teachers, friends, and relatives every year, but, hey, a lot (maybe the majority!) stays here in our house. If I don’t plan ahead and have a strategy, I will just bake my old standards, which have a whole lot of junk in them.
This year I’ve made it my mission to keep my ingredients whole and healthier. Do not confuse this with low calorie– many of the items I suggest are still high in calories, but much lower than the alternative and much better for you.
Try getting out your baking recipes and replacing the standard ingredients with these healthier alternatives. You still have to watch how much you eat, but at least it won’t be complete junk.
Most recipes I’ve tried with these ingredients convert very well. Some may have a slightly different texture and taste, but still very good.
Chocolate Chips Most chocolate chips are full of ingredients that you can’t pronounce and loaded with sugar. Enjoy Life Chips have two ingredients: unsweetened chocolate and cane sugar. They are gluten, dairy, nut, and soy free and verified Non GMO. To me they taste exactly the same, in fact they may have even more chocolate flavor. We switched over and never looked back.
Whipping Cream Occasionally I will use organic, non-GMO heavy cream and make my own whipping cream, but most everyone in my family doesn’t do well with dairy, so we switched to whipping organic coconut cream. It’s still high in fat, but it’s vegan, dairy free, and you can control the kind and amount of sweetener you add.
Flour Switch from white flour to organic, non-GMO brown rice, coconut, or nut flour. Keep in mind that not every recipe will convert with these flours, so it’s best to find a recipe that calls for the healthier flours. Brown rice flour is an excellent thickener for sauces, and I just made cookies with it that are out of this world.
Corn Syrup- Ditch the corn syrup and replace it with organic brown rice syrup. Both have a high sugar content, but Brown Rice syrup has a glycemic index of 25 vs. a whopping 75 for corn syrup.
Cream Cheese- I love the stuff, but I rarely eat dairy anymore unless it’s Organic and Non-GMO. I use and love Daiya vegan cream cheese. I find there to be very little difference in taste and texture when eating it straight, and even less difference when using it in a recipe.
Butter- Like I said above, I don’t eat most dairy. Not only is it high in calories, but also very high in bad fat. Instead, I replace butter with Melt which is a blend of healthy oils. It is soy, lactose, dairy, and trans fat free. It tastes pretty good, coming very close to butter. Plus, it now comes in chocolate!
Heavy Cream- I have been using Unsweetened Vanilla Silk Almond Milk for several years now– it can replace milk, and even heavy cream in some recipes.
Sugar- I threw out our white sugar many months ago and really haven’t looked back. Organic Stevia and Liquid Stevia work just fine, have zero calories, does not promote tooth decay, and does not make your blood sugar spike. If you don’t care for full Stevia in your baking, Truvia makes a Baking Blend that is half sugar, half stevia. I’ve used it and it works great.
Now that I have my pantry filled with all of the above healthier options, I’m going to start planning and testing what holiday baked goods I’m going to make. For me, planning ahead is a great way to ensure that things don’t fall apart. How about you– how do you keep your kitchen healthy during the holidays? What tips and tricks do you have?
Disclaimer- I a not a health professional–no one paid me to write this post- these are products I have used, that work well for me personally.