healthy choices

Healthy Holiday Sweets ~ Boost the Flavor and Lower Calories

Crustless Apricot Tart

Crustless Apricot Tart

Desserts are the best part of holiday meals for many people. Just the thought of the season makes our mouth water for sweets. And who doesn’t like a sweet end to a savory meal? But, there are many meals and occasions during the season that feature desserts, and plenty of them, that can lead to excess calories and unwanted weight gain.

You can certainly enjoy holiday sweets, but being mindful of how they are prepared and how much you eat will help prevent tipping the weight scale too far in the wrong direction.

Keep in mind that while ingredient substitutions do fine for many recipes, there are some baked products that substitutions are not recommended.

Start out with these easy changes to boost flavor and lower calories. * Crustless pies are a real calorie saver. While this won’t work for all pies, it does well with pumpkin and sweet potato.

  • Replacing evaporated fat-free milk for heavy cream in cheesecake and cream pies really cuts fat and calories. You can also use evaporated fat-free milk to make quiche.
  • Avoid the thick layer of fat and sugar dense frostings by topping some cakes, cookies and quick breads with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar mixed with a touch of cocoa and/or cinnamon.
  • Extracts are powerful flavor boosters. Just be careful, too much can be overpowering.      Vanilla, almond, and walnut extracts add flavor and enhance sweetness, so you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.
  • Instead of chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, cherries, or raisins.

Got the idea?  Simple changes can make a big difference in the amount of calories and fat in many holiday desserts. But, don’t fool yourself and eat twice as much. Go easy on the desserts ~ spread your “tasting” to a little bit of your favorites so when January comes you won’t have tipped the scale too much.

Check out these Ten Healthier Holiday Choices from USDA’s MyPlate.