How To Make Your Holiday Baking A Little Healthier

By Chelsea Becker

With the holidays fast approaching, so are all the baked goods. It's a catch twenty-two really, because we love a double chocolate chunk cookie as much as the next person, but we also love having some healthy options as well. Luckily there are a few baking gurus out there who have discovered how easy (and tasty) it is to swap in some of our favorite healthy foods into even the most decadent of holiday treats.

Baking
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Black beans for flour

Black bean brownies have been around for a little while now and if you haven't tried them yet, the holidays are the perfect time! Swapping out the flour for the beans amps up the nutritional value, increasing both protein and fiber. Don't think for a second, though, that the usual brownie taste will be sacrificed at all!

100% whole wheat flour for bleached white flour

There are few things better than a warm loaf of banana bread coming out of the oven on Christmas morning. The house is filled with the smell and mouths are surely watering. Most banana bread recipes call for bleached white flour, but a simple swap for 100% whole wheat flour won't change your flavor and adds B vitamins, zinc, iron and more.

Avocado for butter

No baking required on this one, but this dessert checks two healthy ingredients off the list. The first is adding avocado instead of butter. You don't lose any creaminess or flavor, but instead get more of the good, healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The second healthy ingredient is the pumpkin puree, which many pumpkin pie lovers will be happy to know. Turns out it's loaded with all kinds of vitamins and fiber.

Dates or maple syrup for refined sugar

Yes! There is a way to enjoy those soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies without all the refined sugar that will probably leave your stomach aching. The healthiest way to enjoy a sweet treat like cookies is to sweeten them with natural sugars like those found in medjool dates or 100% pure maple syrup.

Nut milks for dairy products

Whether you've jumped on the vegan train or are sensitive to dairy, you can definitely find a way to still indulge in some delicious, chocolate doughnuts this holiday season. All you have to do when making them at home is sub in your favorite nut milk (almond, coconut or cashew will work) and you'll be good to go.