Kristina Olson reveals the three essential nutritional substitutions you need to make in your kitchen to ensure that your health is celebrated while still adding plenty of flavor.
The maxim that you can’t out-train a bad diet may be true but that doesn’t mean you have to follow it verbatim. Instead, try modifying traditional treats to make them a little friendlier for your health and waistline.
Here are three great ways to sate your sweet tooth this holiday season, while still keeping you healthier, leaner and happier.
Your fitness sugar daddy
The spread of sweeteners on shop shelves gives you plenty of choice – perhaps too much. Although it’s great to see more than just the typical cane sugar and brown sugar, it can be difficult for a health conscious person to choose the best one. The one currently gaining a lot of traction in the fitness community is coconut palm sugar. That’s because it can be used to replace both brown and white sugar, using a substitution ratio of 1:1.
Although it’s higher in calories than stevia (nearly the same calories as refined cane sugar), coconut palm sugar has a low glycemic index value, which means it’s digested slower, moderates spikes in blood sugar and can help fight off cravings.
Oat flour power
A variety of flours have also become popular in health food stores. Baking aisles are replete with low carbohydrate and gluten-free options. The best of the bunch is oat flour because it’s gluten-free and an excellent substitute for enriched white flour or wheat flour. The substitution ratio is approximately 1:1 for most baked goods.
Eating more oats could lower the risk of you suffering chronic heart disease, while also reducing the chances of women developing diabetes, according to research from Yale University. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, you can make your own from oats by using a blender.
Grease is the word
If you’re looking to decrease the calories of your buttery treats but still want that buttery goodness, there are lots of alternatives. For example:
Earth Balance is a vegan-friendly non-GMO spread with fewer calories and less saturated fat than real butter. Also, it has zero hydrogenated oils, aka trans fats, and is a great source of alphalinolenic acid fatty acids, which can reduce your risk of suffering a fatal heart attack, according to the University of Maryland.
Healthy apple & blackberry holiday crumble
1 cup oat flour
1 cup minute oats
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup Earth Balance
4 large apples
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
3 fl oz lemon juice
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
What to do
1. Peel and core apples, then cut into quarter-inch slices.
2. For the filling, mix the apples, blackberries, cinnamon, coconut palm sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix oat flour, minute oats, coconut palm sugar, pecans, cinnamon and salt with a spoon. Next, add Earth Balance and vanilla. Use a fork to mash the Earth Balance into the dry ingredients.
4. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
5. Prepare ramekins by spraying them with coconut oil. Fill each 7oz ramekin with an equal amount of filling. Then pour crumble over the top. Bake on the center rack at 350°F for 60 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
Find nutritional advice and more in every issue of TRAIN FOR HER magazine.