Cut the Fat in Your Christmas Baking

Depending on which study you read or what experts are saying the average weight gain during the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year’s) can be between 1-10 lbs. People of average weight, gain around 1-2 lbs. during this time and those who are overweight tend to gain more, approximately 5 lbs. This just doesn’t seem fair!

 But now there is a way to enjoy all those holiday goodies and not put on the pounds. Simply, cut the fat.  Fat makes your baked good moist and tender and you can still make them delicious with a few basic swaps.

 The easiest way to cut the fat when cooking is to use less butter or oil.  Eggs, oil, butter, shortening, milk and cream are the typical “fat” added to your baked goodies. Thank goodness there are several easy swaps that can be made and these swaps may change the texture slightly but it is worth it to cut out the saturated fat.  The following are some ideas for you to cut the fat.


 Replace regular butter with healthier buttery spreads like Smart Balance or Promise.

 Trade half the butter with pureed fruit like mashed bananas, apple butter or prunes, which work best with chocolate recipes.

 For cookie recipes, replace half the butter with egg whites, applesauce or plain yogurt.


Replace half the oil with applesauce.


Replace each egg with two egg whites or use egg substitute (1/4 cup = 1 egg).


Replace cream with equal parts of low fat, evaporated milk.

 Sour Cream

Replace equal parts of sour cream with fat free sour cream or Greek-style yogurt.


Replace each ½ cup shortening with 1/3 cup of canola or vegetable oil.


Replace whole milk with 1%, 2% or fat free.

 Cream Cheese

Replace half the cream cheese with equal parts of reduced-fat cottage cheese or part-skim ricotta cheese.

 Sometimes when you cut the fat in your recipes will work. Sometimes cutting down on the fat will drastically change your recipe and you will need to replace some of that fat with other ingredients.

 It may take some trial and error when you are trying to re-invent your favorite recipes in a healthy manner.  Try splitting your recipe in thirds and make your adjustment to each mini batch. That way you won’t be wasting entire batches and once you have discovered what works best you can write it down for the next time.

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