Healthy Baking Substitutions

I think it’s safe to say that the official holiday baking season is here.  It’s the time of the year when baked goods are out in full force!  Indulging here and there won’t hurt but it is possible to make some healthy substitutions that can cut down on fat and calories.  Don’t get me wrong here – these substitutions don’t make these healthy, but they make them healthier.  Not only that, these substitutions will never be detected by anyone that eats them!  So try out some of these baking substitutions this season and let me know what you think!

I’ll admit that some of these sound a little odd or um, not so tasty but after experimenting with these substitutions, these are now regular items in my baking.

Here’s what they’ll do for your baked goods:

Instead of butter, use avocado or banana: The purpose of butter is to add fat and soften the texture of foods.  And isn’t that what we really love about baked goods?  I’ll definitely raise my hand on that one.  Subbing avocado adds healthy fat as well as a creamy texture.  Even though I love avocado, I was hesitant to try it but discovered that the flavor of the avocado is masked and the texture is even creamier.  Now avocado is my go-to butter substitute.  Bananas offer similar results.  Once bananas are ripe, bordering on overripe, they are naturally sweet and add a creamy texture to baked goods.  Both avocado and banana add vitamins that you won’t find in butter.  And no one will be the wiser!

Instead of sugar, use applesauce:  I think it goes without saying that sugar is the key ingredient to baked goods.  After all, they are called sweets for a reason.  Applesauce is a naturally sweet substitute that is much better for you than white sugar.  The added benefit of applesauce is that it adds moisture while adding sweetness to your favorite sweets.

Instead of oil, use Greek yogurt:  Much like butter, oil is used to soften the texture of baked goods and make them rich and creamy.  Subbing Greek yogurt will help you slash the unhealthy fat and calories.  And the taste?  You’ll never know the difference!

Instead of using flour, use black beans:  Stick with me here, I know this is another one that sounds a bit (or a lot) questionable.  Black beans are a great way to cut calories and add fiber to baked goods.  Once you try black bean brownies, you’ll never go back to brownies made with flour!

Instead of eggs, use applesauce or chia seeds:  I regularly use eggs in everything I make; eggs are real food and good for you.  But sometimes you may want to make a treat for a vegan friend and want a healthy substitute.  Easy enough!  Just substitute applesauce or chia seeds.  To use chia seeds, you’ll want to add a tablespoon of seeds to one cup of water and soak for about 10 or 15 minutes.  Each cup of water and seeds is equal to one egg.  You’ll still maintain the nutrients offered by eggs while eliminating the use of animal products.

Instead of chocolate chips, use cacao nibs:  Perhaps the best part of sweets is chocolate.  Maybe I’m just speaking for myself but chocolate treats are my favorite!  Cacao nibs are basically chocolate in the raw.  They contain no sugar and very little fat.  Before you turn your nose up at the no sugar part, remember that you’ve already added natural sugar with the other ingredients so you don’t need it in your chocolate.  Trust me, you’ll never miss the artificial ingredients in traditional chocolate chips!

Instead of regular milk, use almond milk:  I use almond milk in place of dairy milk for everything these days.  Almond milk is much lower in calories and doesn’t contain the hormones that you find in dairy milk.  You’ll also significantly cut the fat!

What are your favorite baking substitutions?  Share them with us in the comments below?

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