As the days grow shorter and the nights colder, many of us find ourselves craving our tried and true comfort foods. As WAHMs, we have the incredible ability to work right from our kitchens, but that also means easy access to that leftover mac ‘n cheese when we’re bored, procrastinating, etc. It’s also a busy time of year full of happy hours, cookie swaps, and family parties. No one wants to waste this fun time worrying about counting calories or sticking to a diet. With a few simple tweaks, it’s possible to cut the sugar and fat from your favorite foods without sacrificing the flavor and fun. Here are some of our favorite tips.
Make Sneaky Substitutions
Whether making dinner or sugar cookies, there is always room to add in some extra nutrients or cut calories. Here are some of our favorite (and secret) substitutions. Your family will never know!
Cauliflower has gotten a lot of attention lately and for good reason. It is incredibly versatile and can be used for everything from pizza crust to a thickener for soups and stews. Next time you are making a creamy soup (like broccoli cheddar) try stirring in a cup of cooked, pureed cauliflower instead of cream. The cauliflower gives a nice thick texture and will take on the flavor of the soup.
Butternut squash has a sweet, smooth consistency and makes a great addition to traditional mac ‘n cheese. Try replacing some of the cheese and butter with cooked, pureed squash. And to save time, just purchase pureed squash in the freezer section at your grocery store.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Greek yogurt. Its thick, rich texture is perfect for lightened-up frosting or as a replacement for sour cream. For an easy and delicious snack, try mixing plain nonfat Greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter, some cinnamon and a little stevia. Use this as a dip for apples, strawberries or whole wheat pretzels.
Experiment With Flours
White flour causes blood sugar to rise and fall, leaving us craving more sugar and carbs. Try switching to whole wheat pastry flour this holiday season. Start with half and half, and see if you notice a difference. Almond flour makes delicious, moist sugar cookies with just a hint of almond flavor. Garbanzo bean flour can be used to make biscuits, and coconut flour makes perfectly moist cakes.
Mashed bananas are a popular vegan baking staple. They can replace egg, butter or shortening in a dessert recipe. For a decadent breakfast, try combining 1 ripe banana, 2 eggs and a dash a cinnamon, then cook on a griddle for the most natural pancakes you've ever had.