If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your overall health, you may be dreading the holidays.
After all, most people think dieting means giving up those favorite foods, including heavenly baked goods that seem to be around practically every corner from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, luring you in with their tempting aromas.
While deprivation is often associated with weight loss and better health, the good news is that concept is wrong. In fact, the term “clean eating,” has actually been challenging the old way of thinking when it comes to losing weight.
All you need to have to enjoy many of your favorite treats, in moderation, of course, is the right ingredients.
You can even take part in that annual holiday cookie exchange – and, enjoy some of them too – in properly portioned sizes with nutritious ingredients that help to keep blood sugar levels stable.
So, just what are those ingredients?
1. Coconut flour
Coconut flour is an amazing grain-free flour that has a light and fluffy texture which produces tender baked goods – and, it’s packed with protein too.
In fact, coconut flour contains 5 grams of protein in just 2 tablespoons. It’s also high in dietary fiber and gluten-free.
The problem with most gluten-free based flours is that the majority are devoid of fiber, which causes blood sugar levels to quickly rise. You don’t have to worry about that with coconut flour!
Depending on the recipe, the suggested flour can be swapped out with 30% coconut flour.
For example, in baked goods, the general rule is to substitute ¼ cup to 1/3 cup of coconut flour for one cup of grain- based flour. You’ll also have to increase the number of eggs. One cup of coconut flour typically requires 6 beaten eggs, in addition to about one cup of liquid, like coconut milk.
As coconut flour tends to be clumpy, for a more fine-textured result, be sure that it’s thoroughly beaten in with the other ingredients.
If you’re hesitant to use coconut flour because you don’t care for coconut, keep in mind that the flour doesn’t have a strong flavor. Most still enjoy baked goods made with it, imparting just a mild, slightly toasty taste.
For the highest quality results and nutrition, be sure to look for a certified organic coconut flour that hasn’t been treated with sulfites.
2. Coconut Sugar
Made from the sap of the coconut palm tree, coconut sugar is granulated sugar that has a caramel color that looks (and tastes) similar to brown sugar.
It doesn’t taste anything like coconut as it’s derived from the flower bud of the coconut palm rather than the coconut itself.
Coconut sugar also has a low glycemic index, which helps maintain blood sugar levels. And, it even contains B vitamins along with a number of minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
Even more great news – coconut sugar is a very simple substitute in most baking recipes.
You don’t have to do any complicated mathematical equations as it can be used on a 1:1 basis, for example, for one cup of white sugar, you’d just use one cup of coconut sugar instead.
Another wonderful thing about coconut sugar is that it helps to amplify other flavors, making it especially good in baking recipes that call for warm spices or chocolate. It’s also fantastic stirred into tea or coffee!
3. Coconut Oil
Who knew the coconut could be such a lifesaver during the holidays?!
And, all year-round, really. When it comes to nutritious oils, it’s hard to beat coconut oil.
Coconut oil should really be a staple in everyone’s pantry. It’s so incredibly versatile!
You can use it to sauté veggies, grease baking pans, blend it into your morning coffee as a substitute for creamer, and, in baked goods.
This oil is considered to be a healthy fat and is an important part of a well-rounded, clean eating diet as a medium chain fatty acid which supports metabolism and the thyroid gland.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and turns to liquid at 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s a great replacement for butter, margarine, shortening or any oil.
You can replace either oils or butter at a ratio of 1:1, or for shortening, replace 1 part shortening with ¾ part coconut oil. Use it a room temperature for flaky baked products, and when using it to replace other oils or butter, melt it first.
When buying coconut oil, look for the organic, unrefined type.
4. Raw Cacao
No holiday baking session is complete without some chocolatey goodness! Raw cacao is one of those ingredients that gives you your cake and lets you eat it too. Don't confuse it with cocoa though, they aren't the same.
In almost any recipe that calls for chocolate, you can use raw cacao and pull off that same rich chocolate flavor and replace all the added sugar that chocolate has with antioxidants that raw cacao offers.
It's perfect for baking so stock up because you'll want to put it in everything including your morning coffee! I love it so much I actually sourced the purest sun-kissed raw cacao you will find and created my own brand to share this Blissful deliciousness with the world!
Now, isn’t it good to know you don’t have to dread the holidays this year?
Yours in Health,
P.S. Please share this with your friends and I always love to read your comments below.