Improving Health


‘Better for You’ Holiday Baking Alternatives

Posted by Mairead Callahan, RDN, CPT on November 22, 2017

 Trying to make your favorite, decadent baked good for family and friends this holiday season?  When making delicious cookies, gooey brownies, or even a nice crisp apple pie, you need all that butter, and heavy cream to make the dish worthwhile, am I right? Actually, this is not necessarily the case! Several healthy baking substitutions can be replaced with typical recipe ingredients to make your favorite dish healthier with the same, great taste.  You will have your family and friends speechless at the simple, healthier, baking substitutions!  Here are some of the most common recipe ingredients that can be easily replaced with more wholesome ingredients in your favorite recipe this holiday season.

1. Butter

Try swapping out high-calorie, saturated fat laden butter options with mashed avocados, plain Greek yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas, pureed pumpkin, and even prune puree.


2. Whole milk/cream

You can substitute condensed evaporated skim milk, fat free half and half, or non-dairy options such as almond, coconut, cashew, or soy milk.


3. Sugar

Give the necessary sweetness that your recipe needs by substituting completely (or half of what it calls for) with stevia, vanilla extract, applesauce, or cinnamon.


4. White flour

Several options exist for replacing this ingredient, including black bean puree, whole wheat flour, nut flours (almond), coconut flour, oat flour, and quinoa flour.

Dessert Makeover: Pie

Pie is almost always offered at holiday occasions. Pecan pie wins the title for high calorie, high fat, holiday pie. A slice of pecan can have 503 calories and 27 grams of fat.  That is a lot of calories and fat for one piece of pie!

There are a few healthy swaps you can make when baking a homemade pie.

  • Use whole wheat pie crusts or replace traditional pie crust with cinnamon graham crackers.
  • Use low-fat or skim milk instead of evaporated milk.
  • Skip the crust when eating and save 100 calories
Mairead Callahan, RDN, CPT

About The Author

Mairead Callahan, RDN, CPT

Mairead is a registered dietitian, media personality, and founder of the popular health and wellness blog "My Healthy Ending." She studied Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, completed her supervised practice at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. Mairead’s philosophy is grounded in the power of whole foods, plant-based nutrition, and an active lifestyle.

Post Topics Healthy Eating, Healthy Holidays