Healthy Holiday Baking

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’Tis the season for pumpkin pies, gingerbread men and decadently rich desserts. Fortunately, there are ways to slenderize your holiday baking so you can maintain a healthful diet that meets your organic lifestyle needs.

Start by substituting organic applesauce or other organic fruit-based products for butter, margarine or oil in your favorite holiday breads and baked goods.

“Substituting fruits for butter works well in most quick breads, muffins and some cakes,” says Jyl Steinback, a personal trainer who has been dubbed “America’s Healthiest Mom” and author of several books, including “Fill Up to Slim Down” and “Supermarket Gourmet.”

“It usually doesn’t work as well in cookies,” she tells Organic Authority. “I have good success substituting the full amount of butter or margarine with the fruit. You can also try substituting fat-free yogurt, fat-free creamers or skim milk, in certain cases. There is no absolute proportion, as recipes will differ, so it truly depends on the individual recipe.”

So, what basic guidelines should you follow?

“If the recipe is too ‘liquidy,’ add a little more flour,” Steinback instructs. “If it is too thick, add a little more fruit or liquid. Try applesauce, crushed pineapple or canned pumpkin in several of your favorite quick bread or muffin recipes. Cake recipes are a little more fussy, but I have had success substituting applesauce for the oil in packaged mixes.”

And while we’re on the subject, if you’re not exactly Julia Child or you’re pressed for time, there are several organic cake mixes available at your local natural or whole foods store. Check out the Dr. Oetker line, which includes vanilla, chocolate and marble cake mixes, as well as icing, cookie and muffin mixes.

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