The holiday season is here, and for many of us, that means more time spent in the kitchen baking sweet treats and hearty meals. The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy delicious food (and a few glasses of wine!) with loved ones, but it can also be tricky to stay on track with your healthy eating goals…
The good news is, there are some simple swaps to help make your holiday goodies a little more “guilt-free!”
Here are my top five healthy holiday baking swaps that you can use this holiday season (or all year-round!)
*And be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a healthy (and delicious) recipe, too!
Use: Pure Maple Syrup or Raw Honey
Skip the refined sugar and use a natural sweetening option instead. While pure maple syrup and raw honey are still very high in sugar, they contain some added benefits that table sugar does not. Both pure maple syrup and raw honey are rich in vitamins and minerals, and raw honey is also an excellent source of antioxidants. (Plus, check out my blog post on the health benefits of maple syrup).
How to Make the Swap: For every 1 cup of sugar, use ½ cup of raw honey or a ⅔ cup of pure maple syrup. If you opt for pure maple syrup, you may find that you need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by about two to four tablespoons, but this may vary from recipe to recipe, so reduce it by more or less as needed.
Use: Coconut Oil
Try making your recipes dairy-free by using coconut oil instead of butter. Coconut oil makes a great healthy swap as it contains some powerful digestive and immune-boosting health benefits.
How to Make the Swap: Substitute coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio, so use as much coconut oil as you would butter in your recipe.
Swap: White Flour
Use: Almond Flour
To make your holiday recipes gluten-free, try using almond flour instead of white flour. This will help prevent sudden blood sugar spikes as almond flour has a low glycemic index. Almonds are also a rich source of magnesium, giving your holiday desserts a little added nutritional boost.
How to Make the Swap: Almond flour can often be substituted at a 1:1 ratio when swapping out white or wheat flour, but it can be dependent on the recipe. If your recipe seems to have too much moisture after adding the almond flour, you can add ¼ – ½ cup of additional almond flour until the batter comes together as it traditionally would.
Swap: Imitation Vanilla
Use: Pure Vanilla Extract
Some holiday recipes may call for imitation vanilla. Any extract that has the word “imitation” in front of it means that it’s not the real thing and therefore is artificial and filled with additives. Skip the artificial version, and use pure vanilla extract instead. Not only will you avoid artificial flavoring, but your recipes will taste better!
How to Make the Swap: Simply look for a pure vanilla extract instead of a flavoring with the word “imitation.”
Swap: Regular Milk
Use: Dairy-Free Milk
Try using dairy-free milk, like unsweetened almond or coconut milk, in your holiday recipes instead of dairy milk. Dairy can be inflammatory and many people react to it. You won’t even notice the difference in taste, but your health will thank you for it!
How to Make the Swap: If a recipe calls for regular milk, choose unsweetened almond milk, or even cashew or coconut milk. If a recipe calls for heavy cream, try using unsweetened coconut cream.
Here is a healthy and delicious sweet treat that will have everyone asking for more!
Healthy Chocolate Bar Recipe
- 1 cup mixed nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruits
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- 1/2 tbsp raw honey ((or pure maple syrup))
Mix all the ingredients together and flatten into a loaf pan.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
Cut them into squares and enjoy!
*Please feel free to double this recipe to make more (just use a larger pan for the difference).
Here at Body Solace Studio, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season that’s surrounded by family and friends, and filled with love, laughter, and delicious food! Let me know if you use any of these healthy holiday baking swaps to make your sweet treats just a little healthier this year!