"Healthy Holiday Substitutions"

As the holiday season moves into high gear, no doubt you'll be cooking up many of the family favorites. Unfortunately, along with fun memories these creations often come loaded with diet busting, waist expanding calories, sugar, and fat.

This year, try slimming down those recipes with these helpful options from SparkPeople.com:

* Use canned applesauce or plums in cake and pie recipes as a healthier alternative to butter, margarine, or oil.
* When muffin and quick bread recipes call for fat (such as oil), try reducing it by one-third to one-half. You won't even miss it.
* In ice cream desserts, use ice milk or low-fat frozen yogurt.
* Save the fat by using cocoa powder instead of chocolate. Substitute three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder for each ounce of unsweetened chocolate in baked goods such as cakes or cookies. For chocolate fillings, you may need to add one or two teaspoons of oil in addition to the cocoa.
* Replace heavy cream in puddings, cheesecakes, and cream pies with evaporated skim milk.
* Use nonfat yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. Two egg whites can be substituted for each whole egg in many baked recipes.
* Since much of the fat in cake comes from the frosting, try topping cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar.
* Use Splenda brand sweetener in place of all or part of the sugar in baked goodies. It works great in pie fillings and puddings too. Follow the baking tips on the box and visit www.splenda.com for ideas.
* Decrease the amount of nuts used in a recipe by half, substituting it with Grape-Nuts cereal to keep the crunch and texture.
* Reduce the amount of chocolate chips or nuts in a recipe by one-fourth. No one will even notice!
* Use fat-free whipped cream in place of regular whipped cream.
* Substitute skim milk for regular milk.

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