Health Advice



Nutrition News: Healthier Holiday Baking

Charlyn Fargo on

For the holidays, baking shifts into gear with cookies, pies, candy and cakes. We seem to be surrounded by temptation at every holiday party and event.

While you may not be able to avoid or resist all the creamy desserts, there are ways to make your own baking healthier.

Here are a few tips to help with that goal:

Choose whole grains. Use at least 50% whole-wheat flour in your traditional recipes -- or use oatmeal.

Cut down on sugar. You can reduce the amount of sugar in a traditional recipe by one-fourth to one-third, and no one will even notice. Increase the amount of flavorings like cinnamon and vanilla to enhance the sweetness. You can also try using artificial sweeteners like Splenda to add sweetness without using sugar.

Focus on fat. Use fat-free evaporated milk in your pumpkin pies, and try fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese in your cheesecakes. Switch to canola oil instead of vegetable oil to get a boost of healthy omega-3s. Try substituting unsweetened applesauce for oil, and use two egg whites in the place of one egg.


Add nutrients to your baked goods with nuts, dried fruit (for extra fiber) and milled flaxseed. You can use 3 tablespoons of flax as a substitute for 1 tablespoon of oil. You can also use 1 tablespoon of flax and 3 tablespoons of water as a substitute for an egg.

Practice portion control. Cut desserts into smaller portions by slicing a pie into 10 pieces rather than six or eight and cutting brownies, cakes and bars into bite-sized pieces.

Sometimes it helps to simply bake fewer desserts. Fewer options mean fewer temptations.

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