The key to eating healthy throughout the holiday season is remembering portion control, especially when it comes to those must-have favorites. For the rest of the courses, all you have to do is make the right choices that will allow you to indulge and enjoy, yet keep you from loading up on the fatty, high-calories dishes that can quickly lead to unwanted weight gain.
To help you expand your repertoire of better-for-you holiday fare, from savory stuffings to decadent desserts, we've put together 3 carb-cutting, sugar-slashing, fiber-boosting ingredient trade-outs and tips for guilt-free seasonal indulgences that won't wreak havoc on your waistline.
Ingredient swaps for butter:
- Avocado. Use mashed avocado in place of half the amount of butter. If a recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of mashed avocado. The savings: 78 calories and six grams of saturated fat for every tablespoon (and 1250 calories and 96 grams of saturated fat per cup of butter traded out).
- Greek yogurt. Use plain, low-fat Greek yogurt in place of half the amount of butter. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of Greek yogurt, and save 725 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat.
Ingredient swaps for sugar:
- Cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts can be added to recipes to boost the perception of sweetness.
- Natural plant-based sweeteners. Granulated Z-Sweet, granulated Pure Via, and Swerve Sweetener each measure cup-for-cup like sugar, with zero calories and zero sugar. Per cup, this translates to a savings of 775 calories and 200 grams of sugar (or the equivalent of 50 sugar packets).
Ingredient swaps for salt:
- Incorporate spices, herbs and flavored vinegars. Every teaspoon of salt replaced translates to a savings of 2325 milligrams (a day's upper limit) of sodium.
Or… for any recipe calling for these ingredients, simply use less!
For more details on this topic, plus other ideas for ingredient swaps, read Molly’s full article on Nola.com.