Cookies, cakes, and pies…oh my! There is no shortage of delicious treats this time of year. Keeping up with a healthy, low to moderate fat diet can be a bit challenging. Success comes when you choose the right amount of the right kind of fat.
Fat is important for the body. We need it to absorb vitamins and minerals, for hormone health, and to cushion our organs. It serves as an energy source, helps maintain our body temperature, and improves the taste and smell of many foods. Fats become a problem when we consume too much of the wrong kinds. Our weight can be negatively effected, plus it increases our risk for cancer, heart disease, and other negative health conditions.
There are four types of dietary fats: saturated fat, mono unsaturated fat, poly unsaturated fat, and trans fat. You can read all about the difference by clicking here. The chart below shows you which fats fall into each category.
In a nutshell, we need to use unsaturated fats most of the time, limit saturated fat, and avoid trans fat. Many of the cookies, pies, and cakes available to us this time of year are made with saturated and trans fats. These are the two types of fats we want to eliminate or use sparingly, so it is a good idea to find an alternative. A simple switch when baking can eliminate or reduce the bad fats. Substitutions can be made straight across for some recipes. Other recipes may need a bit of fat or oil for consistency or texture. If you’re unsure, start by using 1/2 fat and 1/2 fat replacer. The chart below highlights some items that work well.
Did you see beans on the chart? Applesauce, yogurt, and bananas are probably the more widely known fat substitutions in baked goods, but beans work just as well! An added bonus is the protein they bring to the recipe. When using beans as a fat replacer in baked goods, you want to start out by making a bean puree. Follow the recipe below.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to soften and cook dried beans, canned beans work just as well. Drain and rinse the beans to get rid of any added salt. Then put them in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You can find recipes using bean puree by clicking here.
Pumpkin Pancakes is a great recipe, perfect for the season.
The recipe uses pumpkin puree and bananas, and doesn’t call for any added fat. Top the pancakes with fruit or try our Apple Syrup.