Here we are again in the throes of the holiday season — that time of year when it’s hard to resist temptations, and it seems every gathering you attend is centered on food and drink that is less forgiving to the waistline. And while no one likes to sit on the sidelines of the merriment, it’s a challenge to be health conscious. This year, try cooking your dishes with these healthier substitutions to cut calories and fat, because in the end, every bit counts.

Eggs

Using egg whites instead of the full egg can help cut cholesterol. Here are a few other health alternatives:

  • Baking soda and vinegar — this works best for fluffier baked goods like cake. Use 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to replace 1 egg.
  • Chia or flax seeds — a tablespoon of finely ground flax or chia seeds combined with 3 tablespoons of water will equate to 1 egg. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 15 minutes and you will have an easy substitute. This is great in muffins.
  • Banana — this fruit will add moisture and sweetness to chewy baked goods such as brownies. 1 ripe banana equates to 1 egg.

White flour

There are many healthier flour options such as oat or even coconut flour, but one interesting twist is a black bean puree.

  • Black beans — 1 cup of black beans rinsed, cooked, drained and pureed can replace 1 cup of flour when baking, and it also adds protein.

Butter

  • Applesauce — when baking, reduce the amount of saturated fat by substituting butter for unsweetened applesauce.
  • Olive oil — ¾ cup of olive oil will equal 1 cup of butter.
  • Greek yogurt — use ½ cup of Greek yogurt for every cup of butter required to add protein and a smooth texture to baked goods.

Buttermilk

  • White vinegar or lemon — 1 tablespoon of either of these juices plus 1 cup of milk will equate to 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.

It’s not always easy to say no to tempting baked goods and desserts around the holiday season, but cutting calories and fat can help you feel a bit less guilty, and may help yield less of a gut in January.