Eating for life — Low-fat baking is as tasty as it is healthy

12/10/2013 12:00 AM

12/09/2013 6:03 PM

Food gifts are usually a safe bet for everyone, from the mailman to Aunt Mabel.

Even the Scrooge-iest among us can’t resist getting a wee bit jolly when presented with such gourmet delectables as Roasted White Chocolate-Dipped Apples on a stick or a pint jar of dusky Mexican Drinking Chocolate.

But as I was flipping through recipes like these in a mouth-watering food-gift cookbook that came across my desk recently, I couldn’t help but get my bah-humbug on after noticing that not one of the recipes included nutrition information.

When choosing to indulge, it’s still nice to know how things are stacking up. Is it any wonder Americans spend January making resolutions to eat better and lose weight?

The Star’s Holiday Pumpkin Bread is an easy-bake, rustic quick bread perfect for the season. It’s also an ideal gift for just about anyone — young or old, health-conscious or not — on your good-for-you gift list.

Pumpkin is, of course, high in vitamin A, beta-carotene and potassium. Walnuts have plenty of omega-3. But the recipe also is an example of how low-fat baking is just as tasty as it is healthy. Start by replacing half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. Cut down on fat and cholesterol using egg whites rather than whole egg.

You should also have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand, unlike some of the fancier offerings that initially caught my eye. Wrap up a couple of loaves for your family, friends and neighbors. No one will ever suspect it’s just 210 calories a slice, unless you include a recipe card with your loaf.

Cooking tips: To toast walnuts, spread in a single layer in a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted.

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