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Claudann Jones Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Claudann Jones Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The holiday season is here! Transform your holiday baking with tips to make your recipes lighter and healthier. Try these healthy recipe modifications:

Swap refined flours for whole-grain flours.

In many recipes, you can substitute 100% whole-grain flour for refined flour or simply use a mix of half 100% whole-grain flour and half refined flour, like all-purpose flour. This trick can add fiber and nutrients and added fiber is beneficial for your digestive tract.

Cut back on added sugars.

Cutting back on 25% of sugars in a recipe will not make a noticeable difference to the taste. When you do reduce the sugar in a recipe, it is recommended to increase liquid. You can also add mashed bananas or applesauce as a natural way to sweeten desserts or toss in dried fruits that don’t contain added sugars; dates, apricots and raisins are naturally sweet. Being overweight or having obesity increases the risk of 12 types of cancer.

Increase fiber.

You can add high fiber ingredients such as rolled oats, dried fruit, pureed beans, nuts and seeds into your waffles, pancakes, muffins or other holiday dishes. Top with fresh fruit such as mashed or whole berries for more added flavor and fiber.

! For example, adding one cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber!

Using this easy trick is a great way to increase fiber intake at least 30g of fiber each day.

Spice things up.

Warm, aromatic spices are always a hit for the holidays. Adding a few dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg or clove to any holiday recipe is not only a great way to add holiday cheer, but spices also provide cancer-fighting phytochemicals. These spices are another great way to add additional flavor to your foods to help you cut back on salt and sugar in your baking.

Boost nutrients and flavor.

Make dessert recipes that feature fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds as the star of the show. You can add shredded or pureed apples, pears, carrots, coconut, mashed banana, pumpkin or sweet potatoes to boost nutrients, flavor and moisture. You can use these ingredients to add extra flavor and act as a replacement for some of the butter or oil in the recipe.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays a little lighter! For more information, contact me, Claudann Jones, Smith County Extension Agent for Family and Community Health at 903-590-2980 or email at cmjones@ag.tamu.edu. Like our Facebook page: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Smith County. Stay well and stay safe.

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