CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — If you plan on doing a lot of baking during the holiday season, swapping ingredients is an easy way to cut down calories.
“You should take any recipe and give it a once over before you start making it,” said Kelli Hughes, a registered dietitian with Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.
She suggests cutting the sugar in half or even a third. “A lot of times you can just take the sugar out and you’re in business, ” she said.
Other easy substitutes are black beans for flour and applesauce instead of butter.
Hughes also suggests being careful about empty calories found in holiday drinks and snacks. Keeping fresh fruits and veggies handy can also keep you from unhealthy snacking.
“Keep extra fruit and vegetables cut up and chopped at eye level in the fridge, so it’s right there when you’re looking for something,” Hughes said. “Add salad and greens to your meals because it fills up and you’re not going around hungry.”
But don’t eliminate your favorite treats from your holiday traditions. Hughes said finding a healthy balance is key to enjoying the holiday season.
“You should still have fun,” Hughes said. “Food at the holidays is an important piece of the celebration for people, decide what is important to you.”