1. Lighten ingredients in your desserts.
- Use Splenda brand sweetener in place of all or part of the sugar.
- Splenda is a non-nutritive sweetener that measures just like sugar.
- Splenda works great in pie fillings, puddings, cranberries, etc.
- Splenda is not recommended for crisp cookies or cakes where sugar is needed for structure.
- Save 652 calories per cup compared to sugar.
- Follow tips on the box or at www.splenda.com.
- Use egg whites or nonfat egg substitute in place of whole eggs.
- Use 1/4 cup of egg whites or nonfat egg substitute for every whole egg.
- Save 41 calories and 5 grams of fat each egg.
- Use Grape-Nuts cereal in place of half the nuts -- save 320 calories and 71 g of fat a cup.
- Reduce amount of chocolate chips and nuts by 25%.
- Use fat-free whipped cream in place of regular whipped cream -- save 30 calories and 4.5 g of fat for each 2-tablespoon serving.
- Substitute skim milk for whole milk -- save 64 calories and 8 g of fat a cup.
- Use evaporated skim milk in place of evaporated milk -- save 140 calories and 18.5 g of fat per cup.
- Use trans-free stick margarine in place of butter -- save 89 calories, 12 g fat and 93 g of saturated fat per cup.
2. Cut everything into smaller pieces.
- Cutting pies into 10 pieces versus 8 saves 20% of the calories; cutting into 12 versus 8 saves 33% of the calories.
- Cakes and brownies should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
3. Make cookies smarter.
- Make cookies smaller.
- Make just one or two varieties.
- Consider making dough and freezing - bake just what you need, a little at a time, during the holiday season.
- Cutting fat doesn’t really save calories because it is replaced with sugar and flour.
4. Make fewer high-calorie items, such as cakes and pies.
- You will be less inclined to eat too many desserts if your choice is limited to a few special treats.
- If you really like to bake, consider making inedible crafts as part of your holiday creations, instead of so many baked goods.
5. Feature hot beverages with dessert.
- Hot beverages can be a low-calorie highlight.
- Try hot herbal teas.
- Make your own flavored coffees. Try adding ground cinnamon, pure vanilla or almond extract to the coffee grounds before brewing.
- Use lower-calorie condiments such as fat-free half and half, fat-free whipped cream, orange zest, cinnamon sticks and non-nutritive sweeteners.
6. Offer your guests a variety of fresh fruits with dessert.
- Serve grapes, oranges, pears and a variety of colors from fruits in season.
- Place whole items in a bowl and put sliced fruits on holiday platters.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.