Yes, You Can Bake! Baking Tips For A Healthy And Happy Holiday Season

By Dani Renouf, RD, MSc and
Mikaela Kroeker, Student and Jennifer Snyder, Student

The holiday season can often pose a challenge for many of us, given our health goals and needs. Many factors are at play, including difficulty controlling portions at a buffet dinner, lack of availability of healthy foods at parties, and a sense of feeling overwhelmed about how to make healthier substitutions to those beloved family recipes.

The happy news is: yes, you can bake. By following these practical tips, you can ensure that your holiday treats will be a success among family and friends, all the while feeling confident that the food choices you are making are also benefiting your health. It’s a whole new way of looking at holiday treats!

1. Start with the Essentials. Most recipes call for baking powder, which contains sodium and phosphorus. To help limit the use of these ingredients, prepare your own phosphorus-free baking powder by mixing the following ingredients together.

Phosphorus-Free Baking Powder:
4 Tablespoons cream of tartar
2 Tablespoons baking soda

Mix these ingredients together and use 1 Tablespoon of the mixture in place of 1 Tablespoon commercial baking powder. Store the remainder in an airtight jar for up to 1 month.

Although cream of tartar is a source of potassium, it is diluted greatly in a baking recipe, so baking with it will not significantly contribute to potassium intake if used in small quantities, such as a tablespoon.

2. Switch It Up. The best part about baking is that you have leeway to make creative substitutions. Try these easy switch ups for kidney-friendly, but delicious treats.

  • Instead of…Mashed bananas (high in potassium), Try…Unsweetened apple sauce
  • Instead of…White sugar (raises blood sugar), Try…Cinnamon or pureed pears
  • Instead of…Dried fruit (high in sugar and potassium), Try…Chopped pineapple
  • Instead of…Salt, Try…Holiday Flavours like rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and sage
  • Instead of…Butter or hydrogenated vegetable fat, Try…Plain non-fat yogurt and vegetable oil

3. Freeze! Even though baked goods can be made with nutritious ingredients, they are still a source of added calories. Try to bake in smaller batches, freezing leftovers for another special occasion to help manage portions through the festive season a little more effectively.

Try this great recipe for shortbread from Kidney Community Kitchen as part of your holiday baking.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

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