Instead of striving for (impossible) perfection during one of the busiest times of the year, the Healthy Mama Life community is on a mission to make our holidays healthier by making healthier choices throughout the season. Yesterday I shared my top 5 tips for healthier holiday baking because there is no reason you can't make your treats just a little bit healthier! Today, I thought I'd share my must-haves for stocking up your pantry for healthier holiday baking.
But before we get into the items- I KNOW, I know- baking with healthier ingredients can get EXPENSIVE! That's why I get all my healthy holiday (and everyday) staples at Thrive Market! It's like Costco for natural foods-- super discount (even better than Amazon in most cases), but you can buy it in bulk... or not! Think a giant bag of baking soda for $2, or a bag of coconut flour for less than $4 (!!). You can try it out for 30 days free and get 15% off your first order with our special Healthy Mama Link: http://thrv.me/healthymamalife. And even better, for every one of you that becomes a member, Thrive Market will donate a membership to a low-income family through the Thrive Gives initiative. Join the movement to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone! http://thrv.me/healthymamalife Happy Baking!
My Healthier Holiday Baking Must-Haves: Flours
Coconut flour: One of my favorites, high in fiber, low in carbohydrates so it's easier on the blood sugar than white flour (and it's gluten-free). Not to mention the BEST price around! Use it for breads, cookies and muffins or in combination with almond flour.
Almond flour: My personal favorite, almond flour is high in healthy fats and makes for moist, fluffy cakes, cupcakes and crispy, chewy sugar cookies. Bob's Red Mill is my favorite and least expensive brand.
Sprouted white wheat flour: If you want the healthier version of the closest thing to white flour, this is the way to go! Sprouting makes grains more digestible, meaning your gut will be happy-- and the whole grain means you'll be getting some vitamin benefits, too. (You can swap it 1:1 or use 1/2 white wheat, half all-purpose). Tapioca and Arrowroot starch: Tapioca and arrowroot can be used interchangeably, and they're equally good for adding fluffiness to baked goods (try in cakes, cupcakes, muffins and pancakes), especially with coconut flour, and for use in thickening soups, stews and gravies.
Fats + Oils
Coconut Oil: high in Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCT's, coconut oil is used efficiently by the body and has antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It's a nutrient powerhouse, and it happens to taste great and work awesome in holiday recipes. (I recommend getting the BIG jar!)
Ghee: Used in place of softened butter, or melted in place of melted butter or oil ghee is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins and safe for those with lactose intolerance as the milk solids have been removed. Palm Oil Shortening: Throw AWAY that Crisco, mama! Refined oils wreak havoc and inflammation on our systems- especially man-made Trans Fats! Palm oil shortening is much like coconut oil in it's medium chain fats (though not quite as powderful as CO), and palm oil shortening is a great substitute in pies and cookies that require shortening.
Coconut Oil Spray: I don't generally recommend cooking sprays, but sometimes you need a little anti-stick when you're baking! My first choice is always parchment paper (these baking sheets are a lifesaver), but this coconut oil spray is second best!
Honey: My favorite nutrient-dense sweetener option. It's mild sweet taste and health benefits (allergies, immune system, packed with minerals) makes it my top choice. Use it i place of sugar to a 2/3-1 ratio to sugar. You can even go with less, if you're using a sweeter flour, or in a recipe that uses banana, pumpkin or applesauce. Maple Syrup: High in minerals and vegan if that's your thing, maple syrup makes an excellent substitute for sugar (or honey) in recipes. Remember to reduce liquid in recipes by 1/4 when using in place of sugar.
Coconut Sugar: Lower in glycemic index (that is, less likely to spike your blood sugar) than sugar, honey or maple syrup AND it can be used 1:1 with sugar, coconut sugar is becoming a fast favorite in my house! It has an awesome molasses-y taste, so I recommend it for spice cake or molasses cookies.
Baking Essentials Organic Vanilla Extract: My favorite brand and no weird ingredients (only vanilla, water and alcohol)
Baking Soda: We can all use baking soda! Not only is it great for baked goods, but the leftovers are awesome for natural cleaning, as well! Baking Powder: It's important to avoid toxic aluminum in baking powder- this one is just baking powder and a little corn starch.
Cacao Powder: Why not up the nutritional ante of your recipe by using raw cacao instead of cocoa powder? It's darker, so you'll use a bit less (about half the amount of cocoa powder), and the antioxidant benefits, mood boosting theobromine and calming magnesium make it a super health-promoting choice.
Organic Pumpkin Puree: I like the tetra packs. Easier to store and no BPA!
Enjoy Life chocolate chunks: If you're looking for a cleaner, allergen-free chocolate chunk (or chip) Enjoy Life is where it's at!
Organic Shredded Coconut: For any recipe that uses shredded coconut! (Macaroons, anyone?!) Simple Mills Organic Frosting: Made with coconut oil, this is the ONLY canned frosting I will recommend! It's easy to make your own, but when you're in a pinch-- this one can't be beat in ingredients and flavor.
Please consider joining this holiday season to grab your healthy holiday essentials and help a family in need eat healthier in 2017! http://thrv.me/healthymamalife