With the new year upon us, it’s time to start thinking about what healthy choices we can make in our baking. Here are a few helpful healthy baking substitutions that can make a big difference in the foods you make!
The holidays sure can run havoc on our goals. Those skinny jeans… yeah, they’re doing nothing to make me feel skinny these days with all the holiday baking. Most likely you are feeling like hiding in big comfy sweaters all winter to hide all those “one more pieces” of pie you’ve consumed. Believe me, you are not alone!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to stop baking those yummy treats for the new year. With these few simple substitutions, you can keep on baking to your heart’s content. I’ll show you just how easy it can be.
EGGS = FLAX “EGGS” – This one is totally new to me but totally brilliant all the same. I’ve used this substitution in cookies, cinnamon rolls, and my healthy banana bread. I try to limit the amount of eggs I eat because of the cholesterol. Sometimes when I’m making scrambled eggs, I’ll just include egg whites, but when it comes to baking, you really do need something to bind your dry ingredients together. And that’s where the flax “egg” comes in. For every egg you need, you’ll combine 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 2 Tablespoons of water. Mix well and let sit for about 10-15 minutes, or until you’re left with a gelatinous consistency that’s ready to pour into your baking mixture just like eggs.
FLOUR = WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY FLOUR – This one’s pretty simple and can be substituted equally. 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour for 1 cup all purpose flour. The whole grains will add more nutrients to your baked goods instead of the refined flour you may be used to. Using pastry flour is important because it keeps the dough light. If you were to just use a whole wheat flour, you will probably be left with a very heavy and dense treat.
VEGETABLE OIL = COCONUT OIL – This is another very cut and dry substitution. Melt down the coconut oil to a liquid form and you can substitute equal amounts. Coconut oil is a healthier option in your baking because vegetable oils are loaded with omega-6 fats or polyunsaturated fats. What’s more, when these oils are heated, their antioxidants become damaged and oxidized, adding more toxic burden to your body. Coconut oil can handle heat and does not produce those toxins. It is also more easily digestible by our bodies so they aren’t stored as fat quite as often as vegetable oils are.
ANY OIL = UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE – If you are still set on reducing all your oil consumption, using unsweetened applesauce in its place is such a wonderful substitution for quick breads, cookies, and cakes. The applesauce can add a sweetness as well as reduce the oils and fats from what you’re baking.
SOUR CREAM = GREEK YOGURT – I love using Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream. It’s great in cream-based soups as well as making dips. Just choose a nonfat plain version and you can substitute equal amounts as what the recipe calls for. This is a substitution that will reduce the amount of fat in your recipe.
SUGAR = STEVIA OR HONEY – Sugar. The thing is that sugar isn’t completely bad for us. The problem is that we tend to consume more of it than our bodies need, and in turn, our bodies store it as extra fat. And well, that’s what makes those skinny jeans not all that skinny. Using a natural substitution such as a Stevia-based product or natural raw honey will definitely increase the health-factor of your baked goods. Stevia comes directly from a zero-calorie plant, unlike sugar, and it is actually 150 times sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need to use nearly as much Stevia as sugar. I included honey as an alternative because I know so many people are still quite skeptical of sugar substitutes, even natural ones like Stevia. The only thing with using honey as your substitution is that you’ll have to pay attention to how much liquid you’re adding and what adjustments may have to be made because of the lack of dry sugar.
With these substitutions, this should give you a great head-start on your healthy resolutions in the upcoming new year. You should be able to enjoy your favorite baked goods with just a few healthy changes.
Here are a couple of my favorite recipes where I substituted in healthy ingredients.