It is the perfect time of year to enjoy a small amount of a special dessert or your favourite Christmas cookies. Plan to bake items that are most connected with the traditions of the season for you and your family. Make less, so that you won’t have leftovers lasting until the end of January. By using barley flour instead of all-purpose flour, you triple the fibre in your holiday baking!

The good news is a half cup of whole barley flour contains seven grams of fibre. In my post Fibre up with Barley Flour, I describe how you can swap whole barley flour at a one-to-one ratio for most muffin, quick breads and cookie recipes.

Now let’s explore baking with barley for the holidays. Every Christmas, I look forward to baking gingersnaps. I love the rich, earthy flavours of ginger, cinnamon and molasses together with a warm cup of tea on a cold blistery day. It is the only time of year I make these cookies and I bake enough to give away as ‘requested’ hostess gifts. Something I’m ready to try this season is this gingersnaps recipe that uses only whole barley flour. I’ll compare it to my recipe and let you know the outcome!

Are you ready for a change from the traditional holiday fruit cake? Try this Christmas favourite made with whole barley flour – old fashioned steam carrot pudding recipe. The cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon give it a delicious wintery spice flavour. Top it with warm rum or caramel sauce. Delicious! Whether you’re baking sweet or savoury pies over the holidays this easy barley pie crust is a must. It calls for ¾ cup (175 mL) whole barley flour and ½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour. It is perfect for both the traditional rustic apple and family favourite mincemeat pies.

The holidays are for celebrating. One indulgent party, an extra glass of wine or a high-fat dessert isn’t going to make or break your overall routine, as long as you’re regularly selecting sensible food choices and staying active throughout the season.

Here are my three holiday planning tips to help you to stay on track:

Go for quality not quantity! Skip the calorie wallop of uninteresting, processed appetizers and indulge in a few delicious homemade gingersnaps.
Continue to drink plenty of water over the season. It’ll help you feel fuller so you’re less tempted to fill up too much food and you’ll generally fell better for staying hydrated.
Activity or exercise will give you more energy, allow you to deal better with the inevitable holiday stress, and help you maintain a consistent weight.
Happy Holiday Baking and stay tuned in 2014 for more Barley Balance!