Healthy Holiday Cooking & Baking Substitutes

With Christmas and New Years right around the corner, I am sharing some simple tricks I often use in cooking and baking to help make treats a little "lighter" and clean. 

8 Healthy Holiday Cooking & Baking Substitutes 

The holiday season is a time for gathering friends and family to celebrate. And even though most of these celebrations and parties revolve around food, there are many simple tricks to help you prepare delicious food lower in fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. Use these 8 healthy replacements this holiday season to achieve healthier dishes and treats.

  1. Replace sour cream with nonfat plain Greek yogurt in casseroles or dips (1:1 ratio).

  2. Replace vegetable oils in baked quick breads and muffins with unsweetened applesauce (for every 1 cup oil, use ¾ cup of applesauce).

  3. Replace half the amount of sugar in baked goods with vanilla (ex: for every 2 TBSP sugar add ½ teaspoon vanilla).

  4. Replace cheese with nutritional yeast in pasta dishes or when topping tacos, burritos, or egg dishes (for every 1 cup of cheese, start with ¼ cup of nutritional yeast).

  5. Replace butter in baked cookies or bars with extra-virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil, and in baked quick breads with mashed banana. Be sure to buy extra-virgin olive oil as the bottles that are labeled as "light", "pure", or simply "olive oil" are refined through a process that uses acids and deodorizing agents (not something you necessarily want to put into your body) to neutralize flavors. Instead use "virgin" or "unrefined" oils, as these will be the purest and most natural form of the oils.   

  6. Replace refined brown sugar with 100% real maple syrup in sweet potato or yam casseroles (for every 1 cup of brown sugar, use ½ cup real maple syrup).

  7. Reduce the amount of salt or butter in recipes by flavoring with herbs and spices like rosemary, cloves, or garlic.

  8. Replace whole milk products or heavy cream with low-fat/fat-free milk or canned coconut milk. 

May these simple substitutions bring more health, joy, and merry to your holiday celebrations!