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Lightening Up Holiday Desserts

posted Dec 3, 2016, 3:18 AM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

The six weeks from Thanksgiving to the New Year is filled with food and festivities, which can wreak havoc on your diet. The average weight gain during this time is 1-2 pounds. But weight gain doesn't have to happen, this month we will be discussing ways to lighten up holiday foods. This week we will start with desserts since they tend to not only be high in fat but also high in sugar which means high calories and weight gain. However, you can make desserts lighter with less calories, fat and sugar without losing the great taste. The following are some tried and true substitutions that can be used with most recipes:

     - Use 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg and save 60 calories and 6 grams of fat for the whole recipe.

    - In recipes that call for chocolate chips, use mini chocolate chips and cut the amount in half - you will cut the calories and fat grams in half. 

    - For pies roll the crust thinner and skip the top layer, make pie crust cut outs or weave strips of crust on top to save fat and calories. Click here for a lightened up pumpkin pie recipe.

    - Decrease the amount of sugar by 25%; you can do this for almost all recipes containing sugar. You will save calories and still have a sweet and light product.

    - Substitute low fat dairy for full fat milk, cream cheese, and yogurt.

    - Try substituting equal amounts of natural applesauce for oil or butter (other pureed fruits and vegetables work well also-think pumpkin, squash, bananas)

    - Use nonfat Greek yogurt, water and egg whites to replace oil and whole eggs in cake mixes. Check out these low fat, cute reindeer cupcakes.

    - Many fried foods can be baked, jelly doughnuts or sufganiyots are a popular deep fried pastry enjoyed during Hanukkah, these sufganiyots are baked instead of fried and smaller. You will save about 7 grams of fat per doughnut. If you want to          stay with tradition, use a healthier oil like olive, corn, or canola and drain the doughnuts on paper towels to decrease the amount of fat. 

 For more tips on making healthier desserts click here.  All foods can fit into your meal plans, including desserts. By trying some of these substitutions, eating smaller portions and eating desserts occasionally you can still enjoy them without the guilt.

 Happy celebrating.