Healthy cookie baking tips

Holiday-CookiesIt’s that time of year again. Holiday cookies, cakes, candies and goodies are hard to resist and often break our healthy eating habits; however, there are simple substitutions that can be made in our recipes that can cut fat, calories and cholesterol.

To cut fat from recipes:

  • Unsweetened applesauce, nonfat Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, mashed banana and pureed prunes can all be used as substitutes for items such as sour cream or butter.
  • Use egg substitute instead of whole eggs. For each whole egg use 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute.
  • If a recipe calls for sour cream, replace with non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Instead of buttermilk, use 1 cup of skim milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Use canola oil instead of corn oil as it is a healthier fat.
  • Substitute regular evaporated milk with its non-fat version.

If you are concerned about losing flavor or have picky eaters, replace 1/2 of the fat with one of the above.  For example, replace 1/2 cup of butter with 1/4 cup of applesauce. This substitution will save you 400 calories and 44g of fat.

As a general rule of thumb, use ½ cup of the substitute for 1 cup of the original ingredient. If the dough seems dry, add more until it is the desired consistency.

To cut cholesterol from recipes:

Egg yolks add cholesterol to any recipe. Instead, replace whole eggs with one of the following:

  • Use only egg whites.
  • Opt for an egg substitute.
  • Replace with flaxseed by adding 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal to 1 tablespoon of water. In turn, you will cut the cholesterol and add healthy fat and fiber to your recipe.

To cut sugar from recipes:

  • Use 1/3 less sugar than the recipe suggests
  • Blend traditional sugar with a substitute to cut 1/2 the calories.

To cut salt from recipes:

  • Most recipes do not need salt in them unless there is yeast, or a rising element involved in baking. Cut the amount of salt needed in half or don’t add any at all.
  • In savory dishes, substitute salt with onion powder, garlic powders, celery powders or herbs.

Other tips:

  • Instead of white flour, use whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour to increase fiber content.
  • If peanut allergies are a concern, try using a soy butter, sesame butter or almond butter in place of peanut butter. These butters also contain less calories and fat than peanut butter.
  • Add flax seeds, chia seeds, or oatmeal to bulk up fiber content and healthy fats.
  • Continue to watch portion sizes. Though you are replacing some of the higher calorie ingredients with lower calorie alternatives, eating too much can still cause unwanted weight gain.

-Katie Lambert, RD, LD

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Category: Heart & Vascular, Nutrition

About the Author ()

Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center is the largest hospital in Missouri and the largest private employer in the St. Louis region. An affiliated teaching hospital of Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has a 1,800 member medical staff with many who are recognized as "Best Doctors in America." They are supported by residents, interns and fellows, in addition to nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals.

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