COCONUT MILK FOR HEAVY CREAM
Classic holiday soups like pumpkin stews and crab bisques often call for non-diet-friendly heavy cream. By substituting coconut milk cup for cup, you’ll get the same creamy taste and texture for about half the calories—and no, the coconut taste won’t dominate the soup!
CACAO NIBS FOR CHOCOLATE CHIPS
These antioxidant-rich bits are unprocessed parts of cocoa beans used to make chocolate. Sub them in one to one where recipes call for chocolate chips to cut out additives such as sugar and dairy—you won’t notice any sweetness missing. If you can’t do without chocolate chips in your baked goods, opt for minimally processed chips without any refined sugar.
MERINGUE FOR FROSTING
Do you really want to dump that entire box of confectioners’ sugar into your mixer? DIY a fat-free meringue instead by combining two egg whites and four tablespoons of sugar in a high-speed blender and—voilà—icing with less guilt.
UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE FOR OIL
Reduce the amount of oil on the holiday table with applesauce. The fat-free puree can be used cup for cup in breads, muffins, and even boxed mixes for brownies and cakes.
VANILLA EXTRACT FOR WHITE SUGAR
Famous for your crisps, cobblers, and pies? You can skip white sugar altogether in your recipes by using vanilla extract, which is tasty and adds more flavor than sugar with fewer calories. Rule of thumb: Use two tablespoons of vanilla extract for every cup of sugar. This works in poached fruit recipes too.
NUT FLOURS FOR WHITE FLOUR
If you’re feeling daring, try a true recipe switch instead of an ingredient swap by using recipes that call for nut flours such as almond or coconut instead of white flour. Nut flours are higher in fiber and protein than white flour, they’re gluten-free, and they even contain heart-healthy omega-3s. A caveat: Nut flours don’t rise like regular flour and can’t be swapped cup for cup, so it’s important to find a recipe that calls for the specific flour you’re using.