Seasonal Sweets

We all have our favorite holiday treats, from eggnog to sugar cookies – and there are some that we should avoid more than others. In my opinion, it’s about selecting moderate portions of what you really want to enjoy. If portion control is an issue for you, then this guide will help you make better choices this holiday season. Here are some of my favorite calorie friendly desserts, along with valuable nutrition TIPS to help you from TIPPING the scales this winter.

Meringues: All meringues are made with egg whites and sugar (or sugar substitute), and are usually fat-free, depending on what else is added to flavor. My top picks include unsweetened cocoa powder and peppermint candies. You can add just about anything to meringues since they’re completely neutral in flavor. Try some instant coffee granules, cinnamon, or even orange zest and ginger. They’re definitely a guilt-free festive treat.

Pumpkin…anything! Canned pumpkin (100% pumpkin) is not only low in calories and virtually fat-free, but it’s packed with fiber, vitamin A, iron, and potassium. Most canned pumpkin products are sodium-free and have no added sugars, so the taste is very… “concentrated.” Mix it with non-fat plain (Greek) yogurt and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar and cinnamon and you’ll be amazed at the simple holiday dessert you’ve created. One cup of canned pumpkin has only 83 calories and 1 gram of fat.

Candy Canes: Who doesn’t love candy canes? They’re cheap, take a long time to eat, and don’t break the calorie-bank. One (standard size) candy cane has 45 calories and can instantly transform a boring dessert into a merry delight. Try these:

Peppermint Sundae: Crush up and add to low-fat vanilla ice cream and top with reduced sugar chocolate syrup.

Peppermint Mocha: Add to hot chocolate for a quick and easy pick-me-up.

Choco-mint Cane: Dip in melted chocolate and let stand to harden…impressive!

Try these substitutions to lighten up your favorite dessert this holiday:

  • Use baby food prunes (for chocolate and darker colored recipes) or applesauce (for lighter recipes) in place of oil & butter.
  • Use fat-free Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Use evaporated skim milk in place of heavy cream.
  • Choose angel food cake instead of devil’s food cake (Devil’s food has twice as many calories!)
  • Instead of traditional eggnog, have soy eggnog which will save you as much as 16 grams of total fat (and 10 grams of saturated fat).
  • Bake pies with less crust and use less frosting on cakes & cupcakes.

Use this list to keep yourself in check at parties all season long!

You’d better watch out:
1 slice pumpkin pie with whipped cream (500 calories)
1 slice pecan pie (500 calories)
1 cup egg nog: (400 calories)
1 serving (3.5 ounces) peanut brittle (485 calories)
1 chocolate chip cookie (150-200 calories)

Be good for goodness sake (better choices):
Lindt chocolate truffle ball (80-90 calories)
1 shot (3 oz) liqueur (150 calories)
2 small pieces fudge (140 calories)
1-2 gingerbread cookies (100-200 calories)

Happy Holidays!