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Healthy LivingAround the holiday season, many people start to notice their clothing getting a little snug. With all the Christmas parties full of rich foods and sweet treats, those extra pounds tend to just sneak up on us, not to mention we just celebrated a holiday that is focused on food, Thanksgiving. With simple substitution and an eye for smart choices, you can survive the holiday season leaving those extra few pounds behind.

Who doesn’t love homemade cake around Christmas time? When baking your family’s favorite cake, cut the calories by reducing the oil. If your cake recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, you can get away with just using 2/3 cup. If you’re feeling brave, substitute the oil with unsweetened applesauce. Not only will this cut the calories, but it will also cut down on the fat.

Sometimes those sweet treats are a little too sweet. Reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe by 1/4 to 1/2 cup. A simple rule with using sweetener is for every cup of flour you should have 1/4 cup of sweetener. If you’re worried about the flavor, add a little more cinnamon or vanilla to your recipe. If you want to replace the sugar in your recipe with a sweetener like agave nectar, replace every cup of sugar with 2/3 cup agave nectar.

Get sneaky by adding more nutrients to your sweet treats. Make black bean brownies or brownies with pureed pumpkin, applesauce or mashed banana. Add berries to a slice of angel food cake or go for the dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Try making cookies with almond flour. Almond flour is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

Do you want to experiment with whole wheat flour in one of your favorite recipes? Instead of going all the way, do 50% whole wheat flour and 50% all purpose flour.

Other simple substitutes can be using fat-free or 2% milk in the place of whole milk. If a recipe calls for heavy cream, use evaporated skim milk. For every egg in a recipe, use 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute. Instead of using chocolate chunks in your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, use the mini chocolate chips or use dark chocolate instead. If your recipe calls for shortening, don’t fret; use a trans fat-free and saturated fat-free margarine.

Follow these simple tips to prevent those extra pounds from creeping up on you.

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