Some people feel that the Christmas season isn’t complete without certain indulgences. It may be a marathon of Christmas movies, holiday songs on an endless loop, a wish list with every present crossed off or a trip under the mistletoe. However, for many holiday revelers, Christmas desserts are what really seal the deal. These include an assortment of pies, cakes, cookies, candies and other confections. Of course, these desserts are also often the inspiration for New Year’s resolutions about eating better. Still, there’s no reason why Christmas desserts and healthy eating have to be mutually exclusive concepts. It’s simply a matter of making certain adjustments. According to the American Heart Association, cholesterol consumption can be cut by replacing one whole egg with two egg whites or one-fourth of a cup of egg substitute in recipes. As for sources of fat, it’s best to use non-dairy or non-hydrogenated products. With these substitutes in mind, here are three holiday indulgences you can enjoy without guilt this Christmas, courtesy of Food Network.
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 large eggs, which can be swapped out for the whites of 4 eggs or half a cup of egg substitute
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups of grated carrot
- 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple, drained of excess juice
- 2/3 cup brown sugar (feel free to use less because of the sugar in the pineapple)
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch of fine salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line muffin cups with paper holders. Mix the eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla in one bowl, and combine the rest of the ingredients – minus the carrots and pineapple – in another. Slowly mix the wet ingredients with the dry ones and evenly stir in the carrots and pineapple. Pour into the muffin cups and bake until golden.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons unsalted, non-hydrogenated margarine at room temperature
- 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar, with extra for dusting
Directions: Mix flours, cinnamon, salt and pecans, and set aside. Cream the margarine and sugar together. Beat in the egg white until it’s fluffy, then add the vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until it makes a dough. Shape single-teaspoon servings of the dough and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown. Lightly dust with confectioner’s sugar right after taking out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Light chocolate chip cookies
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (the non-quick-cooking kind)
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, which can be swapped out with the whites of two eggs or 1/4 cup of egg substitute
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1/2 a stick of unsalted, non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions: Mix oats, flour, salt and baking soda in a food processor until the oats are finely ground. Set this mixture aside. Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to cream a bowl of margarine, agave nectar and sugar together into a fluff. Mix in the egg and vanilla until smooth. While the mixer is still at low speed, stir in the flour mixture and chocolate chips. Shape single tablespoon servings of the dough onto baking sheets and chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly golden around the edges.
Aside from these three desserts, you can never go wrong with fruit, according to the American Diabetes Association. Mix fresh berries into 1/3 cup of low-fat pudding or cover two small strawberries with chocolate.