Healthy Holiday Eating With Ingredient Substitution

Every holiday season, especially December bring about a festival of food choices. For those of us with digestive problems this can be very difficult. But there are ingredient substitutions that we can make when preparing our own meals and desserts. Make a shopping list and find most of these ingredients in your local health food store. Some of these food products can be ordered online if you plan
ahead.

Changing ingredients when making desserts can be tricky but others can work well. For example, butter! If you must use butter, make sure it is grass fed butter. This makes for a more pure butter. If your recipes asks for margarine, shortening or oil, avoid margarine and shortening and certain oils totally. Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil. Try using coconut oil or other nut oils as an option.

Bananas – Mashed. Fruit provides natural, nutrient rich sweetness all on its own. Mashed bananas have an ideal consistency and can be used in place of butter and oil and a good swap for sugar.  Great to used in cookies, brownies, pancakes, and muffins.

Berries – This magical food is so important in helping fight free radicals and filled with antioxidants. Berries help to boost our immune systems as well. Rather than reaching for chocolate chips to sweeten up your batters, mix in a healthy dose of berries.

Cocoa Powder – Unsweetened – the power of chocolate is so beneficial. See previous article. Cocoa in its raw form has been found to help reduce stress, fight belly fat, and fight off free radical damage. Cocoa powder can easily be added to cookies, cakes, and pancake recipes.

Coffee – 1/4 Cup (60 ml) – Use 2 tablespoons (10 grams) instant coffee in 3 tablespoons hot water.

Cream Cheese – Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese. Neufchatel, or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth.

Eggs – Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg. Egg whites can be found in the egg refrigerator in a container. Eggology is a popular brand. This is pure egg whites, no yolk. If you want to separate your own do so with a whole egg.

Flour – Many recipes require all purpose plain white flour. This flour is so refined the nutritional value is gone. Try gluten free oat or gluten free flours. If you can tolerate whole-wheat pastry flour please note that it is less dense and works well in softer products like cakes and muffins. Coconut flour is made from dried, grounded coconut meat and is a gluten-free alternative to wheat based flour. Adding coconut flour into the mix will not lower the total carbohydrate count, but it will boost the fiber content as well.

Buckwheat Flour – This is a gluten free and high in nutrients like B vitamins, manganese and magnesium. This alternative flour has been found to help lower blood sugar levels and reduce your risk for diabetes due to its fiber content. Buckwheat flour is especially good for whipping up pancakes.

Fruit canned in heavy syrup – Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or use fresh fruit.

Honey – It is hard to avoid all forms of sugar, so switching to more nutrient-dense options like honey can help ensure that you are not stuffing  your foods with empty calories. Quality honey is rich in vitamins and minerals and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the bodies. Honey doesn’t send your blood sugar levels in a rise the way that white sugar does.

Evaporated Milk – Evaporated skim milk.

Oil – One cup of vegetable oil has approximately 1,927 calories and contains 218 grams of fat. the reason it is so high in calories is because fats are calorie dense. Substitute with 100% pureed canned pumpkin. Use one cup pumpkin for one cup oil. Which only contains 100 calories and zero fat!

Whole Milk – Reduced-fat or fat-free milk. Better yet use coconut or almond milk.

Oil-based Marinades – Wine, balsamic, vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth.

Sugar – Reduce the amount of sugar in baked goods, add vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon to intensify sweetness. Unsweetened applesauce for one cup of sugar to cut fat and calories.

Sour cream, full fat – Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt.

Syrup – Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup.

Table Salt – Use herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange), rice vinegar, salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends.

Yogurt – Fruit Flavored – Plain low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit slices.

There are many wonderful foods we can use as substitutions. We do need to adjust our tastes when trying substitutions, but it is all worth a try. It may all be an experimental experience, but worth the try!