Lightening Up Your Holiday Favorites

Text Size:

Sugar and fat are what make many holiday treats taste so good. They’re also what can lead to high blood glucose and weight gain. But there are ways to get a great taste while replacing or reducing sugar, fat or both.


Sugar is important in baked foods for browning, volume, tenderness and moistness. Replace only part of the sugar with low-calorie sweeteners in baked foods like cakes, cookies, muffins and quick breads.

Replace all of the sugar with low-calorie sweeteners when sugar is primarily used for the sweet taste. The following foods can usually be sweetened with only low-calorie sweeteners:

  • Fruit fillings for pies and cobblers
  • Custards
  • Puddings
  • Beverages
  • Frozen desserts
  • Sauces and marinades


Fat is important in baked goods for flavor, moisture, tenderness and structure. Use low-fat yogurt or sour cream in place of regular sour cream in cookies and muffins. Replace half of the margarine, oil or shortening in baked foods with fruit puree or applesauce in the following proportions:

  • 1/2 cup fruit puree (such as prune) to replace 1 cup fat
  • 1/2 cup applesauce to replace 1/2 cup fat

Replace 1 egg with 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute in baked or nonbaked foods.

Substitute low-fat or nonfat ingredients in nonbaked foods like banana cream pie, chocolate pudding and chicken salad.

Reduce the amount of nuts by half in any type of recipe.

Originally Published December 17, 2007

Get Diabetes-Friendly Recipes In Your Inbox

Sign up for Free

Stay Up To Date On News & Advice For Diabetes

Sign up for Free

Get On Track With Daily Lifestyle Tips

Sign up for Free

Save Your Favorites

Save This Article