Holiday cookies are everywhere this time of year, and no doubt you want to have a few — or an entire tin. The good news is that cookies don’t have to be all bad. Instead, you can add health-focused ingredients, like antioxidant powerhouses matcha green tea and cocoa powder, fiber-rich chestnut and almond flour, and inflammation tamers like ginger and cinnamon.
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Nothing says apple season like pie and other baked goodies. These lightened-up versions deliver the flavor you love for fewer calories.
These easy, guilt-free delights make for fabulous after-dinner sweets during the week.
Banana pudding is a classic dessert made by layering vanilla pudding with wafer cookies, loads of fluffy whipped cream and of course, bananas. After a few hours (or a night) in the refrigerator, the pudding and whipped cream soften the cookies and they become cake-like and infused with banana flavor. Banana pudding is creamy, cool, comforting and indulgent — maybe a little too indulgent. If you love the flavors of banana pudding but don’t want a calorie overload, you can still enjoy this dessert classic with this Food Network Kitchen’s lighter banana pudding. It’s made with homemade vanilla pudding made with low-fat milk, that has all the creaminess you expect thanks to a few tablespoons of sour cream stirred in at the end. Use reduced-fat vanilla wafer cookies, and be sure your bananas are very ripe so they’ll impart the strongest banana flavor possible.
Try it This Weekend: Lightened Up Banana Pudding
More Healthy Banana Desserts:
Is a loaded frozen yogurt sundae your idea of a healthy treat? Watch out! Here’s what to know before you hit up one of those super-popular frozen yogurt bars.
Think about the weight of your frozen treat or your waistline may pay the price. The flavor options can be overwhelming, but simple is best. A 3.5-ounce portion of original tart frozen yogurt has 100 calories. The same amount of a chocolate or peanut butter-based flavor 150 to 170 calories. How big is the cup you typically order? Do the math and use small cups to avoid a calorie overload.
Each of these desserts has 400 calories or less, 20 grams of total fat or less, 10 grams of saturated fat or less, and a max of 400 milligrams of sodium per serving. Dessert should be a special treat and most definitely can be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day. If you’re trying to watch your figure, cut calories even further by sharing dessert or cutting the portion in half.
Twinkies had a last hurrah recently when its manufacturer, Hostess, declared bankruptcy. Along with stories of store shelves being emptied, were articles exploring the laundry list of highly processed ingredients including trans fats, processed sweeteners, preservatives and artificial colors. You know what we say to that —- avoid all the junk and make your own!
The Coveted Baking Pan
“Canoe” baking pans have been selling for as much as 100 bucks online. Instead of paying those inflated prices, I hit up a local kitchen supply store. My trusty shopkeeper had quite a few left in stock. If you’re unable to find this type of a pan, the cupcake version of this recipe isn’t quite as nostalgic, but just as tasty.
Food Safety Note
These rum balls have been modified from the version my mom made when I was younger. The original version calls for a raw egg (the batter isn’t cooked). To make these rum balls kid-friendly and adhere to prevent salmonella, I use a pasteurized whole egg and swapped in rum extract for the real stuff. This means the egg was heat treated to kill pathogens, though it looks like any other raw egg. Many markets carry them—look for the word “pasteurized” on the label.
The classic: sweet, velvety, delish. Ice cream is typically made with a combo of cream and milk (and sometimes egg yolks). Premium varieties of vanilla ice cream average about 230 calories and 13 grams of fat per ½ cup.
Ice cream ala Italy. This frozen confection is basically ice cream, but less is more! Gelato is made with less air whipped into it. The result is a dense and creamy delight. The nutrition facts stack up similar to ice cream (see above) but we did find a few store-bought brands that scored lower in both the fat and calorie department. Trader Joe’s and Ciao Bella are 2 personal favorites.
Perfectly portioned and finger-licking good. Bring some fresh fruit along too – we suggest watermelon slices or a bushel of juicy peaches.
Scratch the chocolate itch with these decadent delights. Bake a bunch and freeze for up to 6 months.