If you're a world-class baker it may be a point of pride to whip up some festive holiday desserts for those in your assisted living retirement community. However, all of those tasty treats likely aren't always the healthiest choices. While we all tend to indulge our sweet tooth during the holidays, there are a number of ways to make healthier desserts for yourself and your loved ones. Here are five ideas for making healthier holiday desserts:
1. Explore the NIH recipe collection
The National Institutes of Health has worked to put together a wide range of heart-healthy options for any occasion, including dessert. Although you won't find a comprehensive list of every holiday treat, it is a good starting point when working to concoct healthy desserts. All of the NIH recipes include detailed nutrition facts to help you monitor your eating habits this holiday season.
2. Find healthy substitutes for unhealthy ingredients
Butter, oil, eggs and sugar all help you make desserts that taste great, but there are a number of alternative ingredients that you can use without effecting the flavor. Musselman's points out that applesauce can easily stand in for vegetable oil, and that eggs can be replaced with egg whites or an egg substitute.
3. Put out a tray of fresh fruit
While it's hard to pass up on a spread loaded with cookies, crumbles and pies, putting out a tray of fresh fruit may help you, your friends and your family make healthier decisions during a large holiday meal. This will provide your guests with a healthy option among all the other sweets.
4. Create small portions
Rather than let everyone decide on their own portion size, divide up pies, brownies and other baked goods into reasonably sized portions. This will encourage those indulging in dessert to only take the portions that are already cut out. Remember to eat everything in moderation.
5. Don't prepare too much
Although everyone loves leftovers, if you prepare too much dessert, then you'll feel obligated to eat it days after a celebration such as Thanksgiving. Take into account how many people will be joining you during a big holiday meal, and try to only make enough dessert for that occasion. If you are cooking or baking for picky eaters, consider making personal small portions just for them.