Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. The leaves are changing, the air is brisk, and let's be real, the treats are fantastic. As a mindful dietitian, I believe that an occasional treat IS healthy. It's important to have a good relationship with food, that allows you to indulge in a treat here and there so you feel satisfied. Sure, basing your eating on greens, more veggies, protein, is a great start, but you have to "listen" to your needs for longterm success.
Which brings me to my 7 Tips to Enjoy your Holiday Desserts without feeling Guilty...
PART 1: How to Bake Healthy Holiday Desserts...
1. Reduce Sugar in Recipes: Simply reduce Sugar by decreasing the called for amount in the given recipe. Sugar can be reduced without causing a science experience if you are simply reducing the sweetness factor in a recipe. Meaning recipes that rely on a fat:sugar ratio such as pie crusts, caramelized/chewy cookies, and custards require sugar to bake properly. Also, I would change hard candy because sugar is the primary ingredient, or in frozen desserts because sugar keeps the frozen treat from becoming rock solid. When you are baking cake, pie fillings (especially when they contain sugary berries), quick breads, cakey/soft cookies, muffins, no bake bars or bites, etc. You can easily omit up to 1/3 of the sugar amount without any drastic changes to the taste or texture.
Start with a 10% Reduction = You can do this by taking out 5 tsp for every cup of sugar (or 2 1/2 tsp for every 1/2 cup of sugar). Continue to taper out sugar from 10% until you start to tell a difference or aren't crazy about the "changed" recipe. Also bumping put the vanilla extract and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, etc) helps make the dessert taste sweet without the sugar.
2. Focus on Natural: You can easily make treats that are based on fruits, nuts, and seeds. Usually, the more unprocessed - the better it is for you.
3. Upgrade Your Ingredients: Crazy simple healthy swaps to easily make desserts higher in nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Focus on one ingredient to "upgrade" (swap for a healthier ingredient). Start off with swapping half of the specified ingredient, and increase from there.
Ingredient Upgrade Examples:
- whole wheat, blended oats, or nut flour instead of white flour
- fruit and vegetable purees for butter
- avocado instead of butter
- mashed bananas instead of butter
- black beans instead of flour
- blended great northern white beans for butter
- roasted and pureed beets instead of butter
- greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayo
- flax or chia seeds + water instead of eggs
- For an fully loaded printable sheet of easy healthy substitutions (click here)
PART 2: How to Eat Desserts at Holiday Parties...
4. Have Designated Treat Days/Occasions: During the holiday season, instead of having a zero-treat tolerance, be realistic and give yourself guidelines so you feel in control. This can be having a treat at holiday parties, only on Tuesdays, every 5 days, or a nibble at lunch time. Find your method, and stick to it.
5. Be a Dessert Snob: Single out that one dessert you’ve been eyeing at the holiday party, and go for it. Studies show that when you eat one dessert, even if it is a larger piece, you eat less than when you try a small bite of all the desserts.
6. Don't Wait to Get Back on Track: How many times have we said, "I slipped up with my eating, I'll start being good tomorrow." Stop yourself right there and reset right then. The most damage is done when we believe that we've gone too far, because that's when we make pressured bad decisions. Meaning, we feel pressured to eat a lot worse than we normally would, even if we weren't on a diet. Pressured eating involves eating foods you wouldn't even be tempted with usually, but you feel obligated to eat it because you feel this either your last chance before you are "good" again, or we want to eat everything so we become sick of treats. Start as soon as you can, because you can still turn the day around. Every day and every decision makes a difference on your overall health.
7. When you Eat the Treat, Enjoy it!: You become much more satisfied with far less when you take adequate time to really think about the treat you are eating. The greater the satisfaction, the less you need to eat of it.
Want to have a happy healthy relationship with food for natural and long term weight loss that makes you feel more confident? Connect with me with my 1:1 Coaching Services. I offer Telehealth packages so I can talk to anyone within the US. Meaning if don't want to drive, or you have a loved one that would benefit working with a Dietitian. Let's Talk. Today there is a 20% Discount with the Promo: STUDIO5