Healthy Ingredient Swaps for the Holidays
The holidays are filled with decadent foods that while delicious, aren’t always packed with nutrition. But these rich foods can be healthier without sacrificing flavor. By making simple ingredient swaps, you can increase nutritional value while still enjoying delicious meals and treats. Use the list below to find alternatives for some of your holiday staples.
For Drinks & Snacks
To sweeten holiday beverages, avoid refined sugar by using cinnamon, cranberries, or orange slices. These ingredients infuse your drinks with natural sweetness and festive flavors.
When preparing hors d’oeuvres like meatballs, consider using rolled oats or crushed bran cereal in place of breadcrumbs. This substitution adds fiber and reduces the overall caloric intake.
For Entree’ Sides
Replace butter and cream in mashed potatoes with low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. This swap maintains a creamy texture while significantly reducing the fat content.
Instead of sour cream, opt for low-fat plain Greek yogurt and replace regular cream cheese with low-fat Neufchâtel cream cheese. These swaps work well in baked potatoes and cheesecake, offering a similar creamy consistency.
For Desserts and other Sweets
When baking muffins, brownies, or quick breads, use unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas, pureed beans (such as black beans), or canned pumpkin instead of oil, margarine, or butter. You can use a 1:1 ratio for these substitutions.
Instead of adding high-sugar chocolate chips or candies to your loaves of bread or cookies, try incorporating dried fruits like cranberries, blueberries, or cherries. They provide natural sweetness and a burst of flavor without the excess sugar.
Achieve a healthier balance in your baked goods by combining half whole wheat flour and half white flour. This swap increases fiber content while maintaining a pleasant texture in your favorite recipes.
In desserts such as pies and custards, consider using evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream. This swap offers a healthier option while maintaining a creamy texture.
By incorporating these ingredient swaps into your cooking and baking, you can enjoy your favorite dishes with more nutritional value. It’s a win-win for your taste buds and your health!
Lindsay Gabbard, RDN, LD | firstname.lastname@example.org
“I love my career due to the wide range of opportunities. My passion is sharing a mindful eating approach, offering evidence-based nutrition guidance, and individualizing care to meet patient needs for improved health.”
A Kentucky native, Lindsay joined the HCSG team in 2022. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Kentucky and has over 20 years of experience in clinical nutrition, community outreach, nutrition counseling, and long-term care. Outside work, Lindsay enjoys camping with friends and family, reading, concerts, hiking, and exercising.
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