YUM to the holidays filled with pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, peppermint candy cheesecake, sweet potato cake, old fashioned chocolate chip cookies and,

NO to the exorbitant amount of sugar sugar and more sugar! Yes those lovely sparkly sweet powders that only put on pounds, fat and holiday lethargy. Forget the Freshman 15, the holidays got you beat!

So is there a way to indulge in holiday treats but in a healthier way? Absolutely! But you won't be doing it buying baked goods from stores. The best ways to control healthy holiday goodies is to bake it yourself. Here are the top ten tips to holiday baking to cut sugars and enjoy a healthier holiday:

1. Cut the sugar required in recipes in half. It will still taste good. You don't need so much sugar. Also stay away from bleached sugar (which most sugars sold in stores are). Use Turbinado sugar. No artificial sweeteners!

2. Use freshly squeezed fruit juices in place of sugar. If a recipe asks for 1 cup sugar - use 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange or apple juice instead.

3. Use no sugar added applesauce in place of sugar.

4. Instead of powdered sugar for toppings to baked goods, use real berries such as blueberries or strawberries or orange slices.

5. Instead of using milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, use dark chocolate chips.

6. In some recipes, you could even use silken tofu and raw honey mix, instead of sweet condensed milk.

7. In some recipes, you can also replace sweet condensed milk with Organic fruit Yogurt (whether it's dairy, almond or soy yogurt).

8. Use flavorful holiday seasonings to "flavor" the baked goods versus sugar such as cinnamon, vanilla powders, chocolate powders, pumpkin pie spice mix, nutmeg, cloves, and orange.

9. Use nuts to flavor baked goods either as toppings or in the baked cakes and cookies: pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or walnuts.

10. Use other flavorful fillings for the cakes and cookies: Organic, raw, pumpkin filling. Smashed organic sweet potatoes/yams. Soaked in boiling water bran flakes. Mix of organic oats and peanut butter.

Happy Baking!!!