Holiday baking may be a tradition in your family. For years, our family would get together and bake. Those are special memories and I miss spending that time with family. This year we will not get together as a family to bake.
Discuss Traditions with the Family
The pandemic brought many changes. Many people who have never baked started baking while in quarantine. But the question remains, how many baked goods do we need? Many people refer to quarantine weight gain in 2020. Having quick and easy access to cookies, cakes and candy is not helpful. For those trying to lose extra weight or prevent gaining more weight during the holidays, it may be best to limit the number of items baked. Ask family members what one thing they would want to have during the season. Take the list of items and choose one or two to make.
Ask your family what other activities they would enjoy that do not involve food. Making homemade decorations and spending time together as a family can replace baking. Or doing something to help another family can become a new family tradition. If the family wants to bake, what can you bake to donate to a local food bank? Check in advance to be sure they can accept what you make. Just remember, the tradition does not have to be baking but families need traditions.
Think Calories, Sugar and Fat
Think calories, sugar, and fat. We make the sweetest, richest desserts for special events. Think of a Yule log at nearly 600 calories a slice. Think of the unpopular fruit cakes that may have up to 700 calories a slice, depending on how it is made. Special decorations, frostings and nuts can just add more calories to items that only give our bodies energy (calories) but few vitamins and minerals. There are many recipes available that use vegetables (zucchini bread or pumpkin bread). Banana bread is a well – known fruit bread. There are many recipes that add cranberries, blueberries, oranges or other fruits that can provide more than empty calories. Dried fruits like dates, apricots and raisins can add a lot of sweetness but they also increase the sugar content of the food.
Think cost! The added ingredients are also added cost. Some of the items are only seen during the holidays and special ingredients can make your grocery bill skyrocket. So check your recipes for simple ingredients and be sure you can get everything you need. Due to the pandemic, a few items have been harder to get this year. Check out part 2 of this series on “baking substitutions” for more information and ideas.
This may be a good year to start a new tradition. Whether you choose to bake or create a new tradition, choose a budget friendly, healthy tradition that creates happy memories of times together.