4 Holiday Ingredient Substitutions

It's holiday time, which for some means getting into the kitchen to prepare dishes for holiday gatherings or baking cookies for gift-giving. If you are trying to cut back on fat and cholesterol, are preparing items for someone with food allergies, or are trying to cut back on animal-based products, below are some ingredient substitutions you can use this holiday season. 

1. Eggs

Eggs are found in many recipes around the holidays: sauces, pies, casseroles, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. Eggs how ever are a common food allergen and contain high amounts of cholesterol. If you are looking to replace eggs, try one of the following:

Flax eggs: Mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of warm milk creates a flax egg. Whip the mixture with a fork and let sit a few minutes before using and it will start to gel to be similar in texture to an egg.

Mashed banana or unsweetened applesauce: Mashing half of a banana or adding ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce can be used in baked goods as a replacement for eggs. This substitution would not work for most casseroles or sauces due to its sweetness.

2. Buttermilk

Buttermilk adds tang to baked goods and due to its acid content it creates a softer texture because it tenderizes the gluten. Buttermilk is lower in fat than heavy cream or whole milk and most buttermilk is cultured, meaning it contains healthful probiotics. However, buttermilk can be high in sodium. For a quick replacement for buttermilk try:

1 cup plant-based milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar: You can use regular milk as well, but for someone with a milk allergy you want to opt for a plant-based milk such as almond milk or soy milk. Choosing unsweetened almond milk will bring down the carbohydrate content of the milk by 11 grams.

3. Butter and Margarine

Making substitutions for butter is quite easy and all the swaps are a 1:1 ratio. Butter contains saturated fat and traditional margarine can contain trans-fat. Opt for one of these substitutions:

Greek yogurt: Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt can be used in place of butter or margarine to cut back on the fat content and increase the protein in recipes. Because it will add additional moisture to avoid soggy items you may want to reduce the liquid in your recipe by ¼ cup or add an additional ¼ cup of flour.

Plant-based spread: Choosing a plant-based spread, such as Earth Balance, will eliminate the trans-fat you find in some margarines and increase the heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Just be aware that because these spreads contain more unsaturated fats they will become more liquid the more it sits out at room temperature.

Healthy oils: Replacing butter or margarine with the same amount of oil is another options. Opt for healthier oils such as olive oil or safflower oil.

4. Sour Cream

Sour cream is found in a lot of dips and spreads at the holiday season. Nutritionally, sour cream is mostly fat and the majority of that fat is saturated fat which is not the best choice for heart health. Try this easy replacement:

Greek or plain yogurt: Stir 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of either Greek or plain yogurt to make a replacement for sour cream. You can mix half sour cream with half of this yogurt mixture if you want to lighten it up without going to just yogurt. In baking, use the same mixture but add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup. If you are looking for a vegan replacement, look for plain soy or almond milk yogurt.

We at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season! 

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