The holidays are all about those delicious, nostalgic recipes that you loved growing up, but some of the ingredients used in those traditional recipes make us cringe. This year, try some simple healthy baking swaps so you can really “give the gift of health” this holiday season.
Choose a Smarter Sweetener.
Coconut sugar is one of our favorite alternatives to white sugar or other processed sugars.Coconut sugar contains probiotics that support gut health and help balance blood sugar. Bonus: coconut sugar is also better for the environment than cane sugar!. One acre of coconut palm trees can produce 75% more sugar, using less than 20% of the resources when compared to sugarcane plants. Get a sweet, holiday dose of coconut sugar by baking up our Simple Sugar Cookies.
Out with the [Industrial] Oils.
When baking, swap your traditional vegetable oil and shortening for coconut oil. Many vegetable oils and shortening can contain nasty GMOs and Trans Fats, so replace them with a healthy alternative instead. Just be sure to add coconut oil in to your recipe at room temperature, otherwise it will solidify.
Better for You Butter.
Yes, another reason to love avocado! When baking, try avocado in place of butter. One medium avocado will be the equivalent to about two sticks of butter. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas and are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber.
Exchange your Eggs.
If you’re looking for a break from eggs or if you are cooking for Vegan guests, try making a flax egg. Mix together 3 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds (or chia seeds) until well combined. Then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill and use as you would an egg in any of your baking recipes.
Fill up on Fiber.
Chia seeds are high in fiber, beneficial for digestive health as well as metabolism, and are an excellent source of Omega-3 Fats. Arm your kitchen with this super food to keep you feel full, boost your brain power, and reduce inflammation that may come from overindulging. Chia seeds are also low in calories and can easily be incorporated into your recipes.
Cacao vs. Cocoa
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate, which makes it less processed than cocoa powder. Cacao offers an incredibly high source of antioxidants and magnesium and contains more fiber than cocoa powder. Cocoa powder, on the other hand, is less expensive than cocoa and some people appreciate the sweet taste. While cocoa powder still has some nutritional value, it is more processed and offers fewer antioxidants and nutrients when compared to cacao.
Aquafaba is the common name for the cooking liquid of beans and legumes. It can boost fiber in recipes and can be used as an egg binder or a whipped egg substitute in dessert recipes like meringues. If you are just getting started with Aquafaba, it’s easiest to begin with the leftover liquid from a can of chickpeas. Use a mixer and whip for 3-6 minutes. Throwing in a small amount of cream of tartar (about 1/8 teaspoon) can help make it easier to whip.
You can still show your love through food this holiday season, but in a healthier way by making these easy ingredient swaps. Show us your healthy holiday baking swaps and tag us on social media and use #SimpleGiftofHealth so we can see all of your healthy treats this holiday season!