It’s really difficult to eschew baking entirely without feeling like Ebineezer scrooge himself during the holiday season. And since sweet baked goods tend to be at odds with the anti-inflammatory lifestyle, here are some ways to lighten up baking for a healthier holiday season:
1. Substitute unsweetened Apple Sauce for Sugar
For cakes and other baked goods, you can reduce the sugar content by up to half when you use apple sauce. I’m told that you should half the amount of sugar and then add the same amount of apple sauce, plus 1/3 more. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you can use ½ cup of sugar and about ¾ a cup of apple sauce. Be mindful also to cut down on the other liquids in the recipes by about ¼ for every 1 cup of apple sauce used.
2. Substitute Greek yogurt for Oil.
Greek yogurt actually works really well for baking. It creates a moist consistency (especially ideal for cakes, breads and brownies). To substitute, cut the amount of oil in half. Add ¾ cup of low-fat greek yogurt for every cup of oil you omit from the recipe.
3. Substitute Cacao Nibs for Chocolate chips.
This may sound like heresy, but I assure you: the chocolate taste is still well preserved. Cacao is at its essence, chocolate in the raw, or simply unprocessed. They contain no sugar, very little fat and high levels of flavanols and catechins, for which Dr. Perricone notes Cacao as a “super food.” Simply substitute cacao nibs for chocolate. Works well with cookies, breads and cakes.
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