Welcome to week one of A Gluten-Free Holiday 2011! This week we’re sharing tips and recipes for staying healthy through the holidays and I’m giving away 2 autographed copies of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Mark your calendar – next Thursday we’ll be sharing Thanksgiving Favorites at Cook It Allergy Free.
Instead of a new recipe, I’m sharing my favorite tips for healthy baking.
1. Add Nutrient Dense Foods & Flavorful Ingredients
Get creative. Rethink some of your favorite recipes – instead of adding more sugar how can you get more flavor into the dish? Add nutrients with spinach, zucchini, avocado, blueberries, raspberries, and apples. Citrus juice and zest adds interest to cookies, breads, and chocolate. Dried fruits such as raisins, dates, blueberries, and juice sweetened cranberries add nutrition and enhance sweetness. Cranberry Walnut Bread is a perfect holiday example.
2. Try Flax Meal and Chai Seeds
These tiny seeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients, and dietary fiber. Flax meal can be used as an egg replacer, too, for those that are sensitive to eggs. These Chunky Banana Flax Muffins have taste great and are healthier than your average breakfast muffin.
3. Try a Bean-Based Recipe
Beans are a great source of fiber and phytochemicals. They’re easy to bake with, too. Everyone does a double-take when I tell them they’re eating brownies made with black beans. In the cooking classes I teach, my students are often a little nervous to bite into one. But, once they take a bite they argue over who’s taking home the leftovers.
4. Reduce Fat with a Fruit Puree or Low-Fat Plain Yogurt
Notice I didn’t say fat-free. Fat helps us to feel full and causes our food to be digested slower. And, baked goods without fat are often dull and lifeless. Try unsweetened applesauce or yogurt to reduce the overall fat content by 25 – 50%. Other options include light sour cream, pumpkin or squash purees, and prune or date purees. Look at this Almond Butter & Jelly Cookie recipe for inspiration.
5. Toast Nuts Before Baking to Add Flavor
By toasting nuts before hand, you can increase the flavor and decrease the total amount used. Nuts are full of great nutrition but they’re also calorie dense. Moderation is key, so this allows you to get just as much flavor without as many calories. This Cranberry Walnut Cookie recipe uses toasted nuts.
6. Try Lower Fat Dairy Products
Try 2% milk, Neufchatel, or ‘light’ cream cheese, 2% cottage cheese, and part-skim ricotta instead of their full-fat counterparts. The difference is usually unnoticeable, like in this Baked Quinoa Pudding that uses 1% milk.
7. Use Healthier, Whole Grain Flours
Whole grains add fiber and nutrients. Even if you don’t need to be gluten-free, try adding one of the whole grain flours to your usual baking flour. Teff, quinoa, amaranth, oat, and garbanzo-fava bean flours are all nutrient dense and add interesting flavors and textures to baked goods. Try quinoa flour in this Orange Quinoa Muffins with Currants recipe.
Notice that I’ve never mentioned perfectly healthy – instead focus on eating healthier. There is no perfect, only progress. If you’re new to healthier baking, start small. Pick one tip that seems the most doable to you and implementit in your holiday baking.
More Healthier Through the Holidays Tips:
- 4 Most Important Ways to Stay Healthy this Holiday from Cook it Allergy Free
- Hummus Burgers from She Let Them Eat Cake
- Low Carb Date-Free Squares from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs
- Tips for Holiday Moderation from Tasty Eats at Home
- 5 Ways to Feel Your Best this Season from Daily Bites
What are your favorite ways to stay healthier through the holidays?
Congrats to Therese and Ashley, the winners of this give-away!
Two people will each win 1 autographed copy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.
Do Any of the Following to Enter:
- Link up your favorite healthy holiday recipe or best tips for staying healthy through the holidays.
- Leave a comment below.
- Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Leave a comment for each time you’ve shared.
Contest ends Wednesday November 9th at 11:59 pm CST. Winners will be contacted via e-mail. Contest open to continental US residents and Canadian residents only.