Better Baking: Simple Swap Suggestions for Healthier Holidays
Spending time around the table with family and friends during the holidays gives us much joy, but we don’t always keep our physical well-being in mind when eating the decadent dishes that the season offers. But healthier dish options this holiday season are possible; the key is healthy swaps and substitutions to help you stay on track!
For example, instead of using butter when baking desserts, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored applesauce. Remember to buy the no-sugar-added-version. Instead of whole or heavy cream, sub in low-fat or skim milk.
To lower the carbohydrate content, you may be able to reduce the amount of sugar that a recipe calls for. If using flour, try to use only half white flour and the other half whole wheat flour.
Chocolate chips or candies in a dessert are a delight, and you can try reducing the called-for quantities to lower the sugar content. You may also try no-sugar-added dried fruits like cranberries or cherries. Use extracts like vanilla, almond or peppermint to add flavor without added calories.
When cooking, try to use olive oils instead of butter and herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt.
You can put these substitutions into practice by choosing a healthier but similar option to a traditional holiday dessert.
For example, perhaps you tend to select store-bought pies to include in your holiday feast. The nutrition label of one popular, pre-made, frozen apple pie contains 47 grams of carbohydrates per serving. A general recommendation for those with diabetes is to limit their carb intake to 45-60 grams of carbs per meal for optimal blood sugar control, so one slice of this store-bought pie will put a huge dent into the daily carb allowance. On top of that, it has 21 grams of added sugars. It’s recommended for women not to consume above 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of added sugar a day and for men not to consume above 36 grams (9 teaspoons) of added sugar a daily. Again, this is not leaving much room to enjoy other tasty holiday foods.
Baked Apple Recipe
A better option is a delicious dessert swap for the season: homemade baked cinnamon-stuffed apples! This lower carbohydrate treat makes an excellent alternative to a frozen apple pie.
Per serving, the baked cinnamon stuffed apple dish cuts the carb content almost in half, with only 26 grams of carbs for this dessert.
4 large apples, cored
half lemon, juiced
6 tablespoons of a natural brown sugar substitute blend
1/4 cup of oatmeal
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of margarine/buttery spread
1/4 cup pecans
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Drizzle lemon juice over apples.
First, preheat the oven to 425°F. Then, drizzle lemon juice over the apples. While the oven is still heating, combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Stuff each apple with about a fourth cup of the mixture and transfer the apples onto an oven-safe baking dish. Bake this for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy the aroma.
And there you have it, a carb-friendly take on apple pie.
Before we go, how about one last swap idea? A snack for a walk! Remember to stay active during the holidays to help combat the additional calories you may be eating.
If you are looking for more ways to stay carb-conscious and get extra support to keep your Type 2 diabetes in check, you may be interested in the Ochsner Digital Medicine Type 2 diabetes program.
Have a happy (and healthy) holiday!
Learn more about the Ochsner Digital Medicine program.