The holiday season is about getting together with loved ones and creating new memories. It's about cooking great food, hosting parties, and having fun. People can easily forget about keeping track of their fitness goals in this happy chaos. That’s why we at Dr. Jen’s encourage you to consider healthier baking options. Change the way you bake so that no one feels guilty about sneaking in a few extra bites. Here are a few suggestions for this holiday season:
1. Use Whole Wheat Flour
Many holiday baking recipes call for refined or white flour, which is not as healthy as whole wheat flour. You can easily switch to the latter without compromising on texture or taste. Whole wheat flour contains vitamins B-1, B-3, B-5, riboflavin, and folate. It contains much more calcium, iron, and protein, than plain white flour.
Both types have the same amount of calories, but whole wheat is more nutrient-rich. In most recipes, you can substitute 1 cup of white flour with ¾ cup of whole wheat flour.
2. Healthier Oils and Fats
Oils and butter are essential ingredients in baking, but they also affect your health, which means you have to make smart choices. Some of the healthiest oils are:
- Canola oil – Canola oil has a bad reputation because it is always used in fried foods, but this product is one of the healthier options available today. Canola oil is low in saturated fats and has a neutral flavor, which makes it the right choice for baking.
- Avocado oil – This oil has been gaining some popularity recently because it is low in saturated fat and packed with monosaturated fats. Avocado oil also has a high smoke point of around 375°F-400°F, which means it can handle almost all kinds of baking.
- Vegetable oil – Vegetable and canola oils are very similar. The former is chemically processed, has a high smoking point, a neutral flavor, and is low in saturated fat. This oil is suitable for baking but won't add much flavor.
- Sesame oil – Sesame is a cold-pressed, richly flavored oil with a relatively low smoking point. It may not be suitable for frying but works well in baked goods. Sesame oil also adds a delicate nutty flavor to your baked goodies.
- Flaxseed oil –Flaxseed oil is excellent for drizzles and dressings. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and even a spoonful of it makes any dish healthier. This oil oxidizes in extreme heat, so use it in toppings or sauces on baked items and nothing else.
Other options are safflower oil, pure olive oil, peanut or groundnut oil, etc. Don't use coconut oil as a replacement for other oils, especially the ones mentioned above. However, you can use it as a replacement for butter. It isn't just a great vegan holiday baking alternative, but can also add a creamy, nutty flavor to any dish.
3. Add Ground Flaxseed Meal
Flaxseeds and chia seeds are rich in fiber, nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, and are a great addition to any meal, especially holiday baked items. You can add flaxseed meal to pie crusts, cake crusts, batters, etc. Some of our Dr. Jen's Protein Bars have ground flaxseed in them. You can also add two tablespoons of chia seeds to a 12-piece cookie or muffin batter. It will add fiber, potassium, iron, and calcium to the dish.
4. Add Nuts
Nuts are rich in protein, fatty acids, and nutrients. They make an ideal snack, which is why most protein bars contain nuts. Some of the most nutritious nuts include almonds, pistachios, cashews (which you can use to make vegan cream cheese), pecans, walnuts, and more. All of these nuts are suitable for baking.
If you’re thinking about eating healthy or are looking for something to help with those mid-day hunger pangs, get Dr. Jen's Ultimate Protein Bars. They are delicious, nutritious, filling, and a healthy alternative to junk food.