Healthy desserts may not be completely possible when converting recipes, but we can get them a tad better for us! There is nothing like food during the holidays! Every year we swear we aren’t going to over do it, then we invariably do it at least once. Maybe, if we make them a little healthier we won’t feel quite as guilty… Maybe…
For those of you who can actually hold on to their self discipline, you have my admiration. Truly.
My resolve made it nowhere this year, especially since I learned to make pie crust and then made my first pecan pie. I can’t be trusted with sweets, honestly. While at the time of my writing this I’m only a few days past Thanksgiving, I still feel like I have overdone it and went completely south on my health. I’ve let myself go, badly. I keep saying I’m going to/want to get back on track then doing nothing to achieve that. I can give excuses with the best of them!
Getting Back On Track…
Skinny Southern Baking is, hopefully, going to help save my waist line and help my family (and whomever else I bake for) be a little less unhealthy this year!
Everyone knows Southern cooking is a part of our culture. We eat. A lot. Whether it’s in sadness or celebration, we take food. It’s comfort, it’s fun and it’s love. In the South anyway.
I’ve learned that sometimes making desserts healthier is in the simple things. It’s switching out sugars, changing recipes a little to have less calories and more nutrition. In almost all of my recipes, there are ways listed to lower calories or make them without dairy. Mostly, they are there because of necessity, but whatever the reason I think making our food a little healthier here and there is always a good thing.
For our doubters, I highly recommend not telling anyone about the changes you’ve made. That way, they aren’t jaded with the first bite. The mind is a powerful thing and some people convince themselves they don’t like things long before the food touches their tongue.
Besides, every true Southerner knows you never share all of the ingredients or your secrets when you share your recipes!
How to Make Dessert Healthy(ier)
Clearly, making many of our favorites become a totally healthy desserts is impossible. There’s no way to make some of those things, some of those flavors, completely healthy. However, we can make them a little healthier by making slight changes to our recipes.
- Replace 1 egg with 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. The baking soda helps to keep the recipe from getting too dense.
- In place of sugar, you have options. You can use honey, coconut sugar, agave or even maple syrup. Just remember, maple syrup contains a ton of sugar so if you are watching your sugar, that one isn’t for you!
- 1 cup sugar is equal to:
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup agave
- WARNING: One alternative can be xylitol, while healthy for people, it can be lethal to pets so if you have pets, please don’t use it!
- You can use sweetener alternatives, such as Nustevia or sweet and low. These have different exchange ratios, so please look those up!
- 1 cup sugar is equal to:
- Healthier oil alternatives for baking include olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil and safflower oil. Healthline also has a list of the lease healthy oils which can be found via that link.
- Replace white flour with coconut flour, almond flour, whole wheat flower, quinoa flower or buckwheat flower. Typically the ration is 1:1.
Skinny Southern Baking
Skinny Southern Baking is filled with 65 recipes of ‘Classic Southern Recipes’ that are gluten-free, dairy free and refined sugar-free. This book was written by Lara Lyn Carter. We’ve reviewed one of her other books titled simply Skinny Southern (click that link to check out my review!) and enjoyed it.
The book has a lot of recipes that look delicious and are easy to follow, all made into ‘healthy desserts’ by using healthier alternatives. I absolutely love the photographs, some of which feature her and her family with the food being featured. Looking through the book is inspirational.
Even if a person isn’t interested in making things fit all of the dietary restrictions, it seems like it would be easy to ‘fatten’ them up some or revert them back to glutenous recipes.
I have an insane collection of cookbooks and cooking magazines and love them! Not that I try every recipe, but I enjoy looking though and finding new things to try. I’ve also had a couple of recipes published. It was super cool, especially when I got the check. The second time I didn’t get paid but later a random person called to say that I was in their cookbook! That was a strange feeling, good but different!
Anyway, I had a super ADHD moment while typing there, but I’m leaving it because -well- that’s me. The point I was trying to get to is that I am stoked to add this to my collection and to see what healthy desserts come from it!
Honestly, I’m having a hard time with the fact that there isn’t a pecan pie recipe in the book. To me, that is the ultimate in Southern recipes. Every family has at least one person who can make the most fabulous, epic pecan pie. It’s an art in the South. It’s a matter of pride and, often, featured in films as such. So, I’m a bit taken aback that this recipe isn’t in there. Of course, maybe it’s not in the book because there are some things that just should not be touched….