From USA TODAY NETWORK ARCHIVES
The holidays are a time for fun, friends, and family; but also for indulgent eating. Holiday parties are notorious for delicious, high fat, high sugar treats sure to pack on the pounds.
Log in below for a few easy recipe substitutions and modifications that will make your traditional recipes a tad bit healthier and help Santa fit down the chimney this year.
We recommend trying one substitution at a time — ease into it!
Use Panko breadcrumbs instead of traditional ones — they absorb less oil and save you 125 kcal per serving. Sub oatmeal for traditional breadcrumbs as a binder in meatloaf to increase fiber.
Use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, this adds 12 grams of fiber per cup, making you feel fuller for longer. If you don't like the texture whole wheat flour gives to baked goods, try subbing out only half of your all-purpose flour. This will still add fiber but retain desired texture. For every 1 cup white, use 7/8 wheat.
Swap black beans for flour: 1 cup flour=1 cup black bean puree (15 oz can), drained and rinsed. Adds fiber and protein and a great option for gluten-free friends.
Trade avocado puree for butter — goes great with chocolate baked goods. See sample Avocado Black Bean Brownies — 1 c avocado puree=1c butter.
Decrease sugar. Cutting sugar in half and adding a teaspoon of vanilla retains sweetness while cutting calories.
Exchange Chia seeds or flax seeds for eggs. Mix 1 tablespoon Chia seeds and 1 cup water and let sit for 15 minutes and you have yourself 1 egg substitute. Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons warm water and sit for 5-10 minutes and you have the same thing. This will add those healthy omega fats and help Santa stay heart healthy.
Replace sour cream with low-fat yogurt. Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch for every cup of yogurt so it doesn't separate. Or mix 1 c. low-fat cottage cheese and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice in a blender until smooth to give you a high protein, low fat sour cream alternative.
Substitute 2 egg whites for each whole egg in most baked good recipes. Try starting with 1 egg and 2 egg whites if the recipe calls for 2 eggs to reduce cholesterol.
Slice the sodium of condensed soup in your casseroles by making your own. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and stir in 2 tablespoon flour to make roux. Slowly add 1 cup skim milk, stirring over medium heat until thick, add mushrooms, onions, or chicken as desired.
Cut back on oil. Pureed plums or prunes, mashed bananas, applesauce or canned pumpkin can all be used in place of oil in quick breads or cookies- replace half of the oil with one of these delicious substitutes to swap fat and calories with vitamins and fiber.
Increase the vegetables. Swap grated steamed cauliflower for rice, mashed cauliflower or turnips for mashed potatoes, cauliflower puree for ½ of the egg yolks in deviled eggs, ribboned zucchini or spaghetti squash for traditional noodles, lettuce leaves for flour tortillas, or try your favorites pureed and added to soup for body instead of heavy cream, butter, or cheese. These subs will cut carbs and calories while adding that fiber to increase satiety.
Trade ground turkey or ground chicken for ground beef. Since these have less fat than beef, add 2 tablespoons chicken stock or even barbecue sauce to increase moisture and help with binding to keep your burgers moist and delicious with less saturated fat and kcals.
Be creative with your recipe substitutions and make something delicious to keep your family healthy. Start those New Year's resolutions now. We wish you a happy, healthy holiday season.