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How Healthy Are Your Holiday Traditions?

Holiday traditions are often based on recipes that have been handed down through generations and those memories that cling to the scents and sights of particular foods. Why should this year be any different? You’ve sifted through your favorite family recipes and all you see is sugar, butter & flour, right?  Don’t get discouraged – by making some substitutions, you may be able to enjoy them after all!

Using artificial sweeteners is tholiday_traditionshe most obvious switch. It seems like there are new options on the shelf every week but, not all sweeteners are the same!  If the dish you are making will not be cooked or baked, you are safe to use your favorite no-cal sweetener.  Baking or cooking is another matter – Splenda is one of the few that holds up under heat. Use the type that is specifically made for baking and cooking as it measures differently than what’s in the little yellow packets.

You might be able to cut back on the butter or shortening in some of the recipes.  Butter used for cooking shares its flavor well and you may not miss the extra fat.  Applesauce or other pureed fruits are a common substitute for butter and oil in recipes but watch out for the extra carbohydrates, it may not be worth the switch. Using a low-fat dairy product in place of the heavier one is generally okay but you may notice a bit of difference in the texture of your dish.

Flour may be one of the trickiest to switch out and you may have to do a bit of experimenting before you are truly happy with the results, but there are many options on the market today.  Flour made from nuts has a forth of the carbohydrates that wheat flour has and has the benefit of added protein as well. Soy flour is a great option too, it contains just one third of the carbs in all-purpose flour. You can substitute (both nut & soy flour) 1/4 – 1/2 of the amount of flour in most muffins, cakes and cookies.  Whole wheat flour has more fiber than white flour so it lowers your effective carbohydrate count but cannot always be substituted one for one in recipes. Crushed nuts or some of our protein Biscotti work great as crusts for pies or cheesecakes!

There are several low-carb baking mixes available either online or in health food stores. The reviews are pretty good but I have not tried any of them.

Check out the recipes that we have already tested!  Many of them may be similar to what you are trying to recreate.  You will find a great selection on our blog at www.cfwls.com/blog/, website (search recipes) or on our Pinterest page at www.pinterest.com/cfwlsva/.

 

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