No one wants to completely give up their favorite foods on the holidays. We may try to convince ourselves that mashed cauliflower really isn’t all that bad, but in reality we greatly miss our mashed potatoes. The same goes for desserts when you try to substitute low fat options for old time favorites. It doesn’t have to be this way though. There are ways to cut the calories in holiday baked goods without ruining the flavor.
Skip the Nuts
One of the easiest ways to cut the calories in holiday baked goods is to to omit the nuts. Nuts are only a bonus in most desserts aren’t necessary. If you think you’ll miss the texture of the nuts, look for low calorie ways to add crunch to your baked goods, such as puffed rice.
Cut the Sugar
Most baked goods can have up to a third of the called for sugar omitted and still taste wonderful. This saves a ton of calories. One teaspoon of sugar contains 15 calories. Just think what omitting 1 cup of sugar from a cake recipe would do. You do have to be careful though. Some baked goods get their structure from sugar, such as icing and cookies, and omitting sugar can ruin the recipe.
Substitute the Oil
Oil is used in many baked goods simply as a way to keep the item moist. In most recipes, you can substitute some, if not all, the oil for a low calorie option, such as apple sauce. The apple sauce keeps the cake moist, but has a fraction of the calories that vegetable oil contains. Some bakers have even been known to use baby foods, such as prunes, to keep baked goods moist.
Omit the Bottom Crust
Pie crust is loaded with fat and calories due to the fat used to make the crust flaky. Instead of creating a double crusted pie, only use a top crust. This is a simple way to cut the calories from the crust in half. Once you sit down to eat, you can even pick off the top crust from your slice of pie and save even more calories. This way, your guests are happy and so are you.
Invest in High Quality Nonstick Pans
No one ever thinks about the fact that cooking sprays and greasing a pan with shortening adds calories. This simple prepping of pans can increase the fat and calories in your holiday baked goods. That’s why it’s important to use nonstick pans. While nonstick pans can be purchased rather inexpensively. Many of the cheaper brands don’t work and will leave your cakes and cookies stuck to the pan. Instead, spend the money and invest in a good quality brand. Your waistline will thank you.
Keep It Simple
Did you know that for every cute doodad you add on to a cake or cookie, you’re adding calories? When you frost cookies and add colored sugar, you’re adding calories. When you add candy to decorate a cake, you’re adding calories. This doesn’t mean you have to skip decorating cakes and cookies though. Dyes are a great way to add color without adding calories. Another option is to use a cake stencil and use powdered sugar or cocoa powder. While this does add some calories, it’s no where near as much as some other decorating methods. Best of all, this tip will also save you money.