Healthy Baking Substitutions to Lighten Up Your Holiday Treats
I seriously cannot believe it is November! Can you?! Next week is Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday, of course!) and before you know it Christmas will soon be here. Now is the time of year for holiday parties and celebrations with family and friends. This also means it is the time of year for delicious and tempting desserts.
Oh my! But, the good news about this year is I have some tips for making your traditional dessert recipes healthier. Check out my healthy baking substitutions and you can enjoy that cookie, cake, or brownie without so much guilt.
Substitutes for flour:
Black beans. Using black beans instead of flour can add protein with the same great taste. This is particularly tasty when baking brownies. When baking, swap out 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of black bean puree.
Whole wheat flour for white flour. Using whole wheat flour instead of white flour, adds fiber, which helps with digestion. Use 7/8 cup of whole-wheat flour for every cup of white flour.
Substitutes for sugar:
Unsweetened applesauce. Applesauce provides the same sweetness without the extra calories and sugar. You can substitute applesauce with sugar in a 1:1 ratio. However, you should reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.
Vanilla extract. Adding vanilla extract and cutting the amount of sugar down can give great flavor without extra calories. You can try cutting 2 tablespoons of sugar out of your recipe and adding an extra ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener that is lower in calories, but also much sweeter than sugar. Since stevia is sweeter, a recipe calling for 1 cup of sugar should only be swapped for 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia or 2 tablespoons of stevia powder.
Substitutes for oil or butter:
Unsweetened applesauce. Applesauce gives the same consistency without the fat. It works well in breads and muffins. Substitute half of the fat in your recipe with applesauce.
Avocado puree. Avocado provides creaminess with a healthy addition of unsaturated fats. This tends to be better in brownies and chocolate desserts. Using 1 cup of avocado puree per cup of butter works.
Mashed bananas. Bananas add a good consistency with added nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. One cup of mashed banana works perfectly in place of 1 cup or butter or oil.
Prunes. Prunes can make a great substitute for butter and cut the calories and fat down. Combine 3/4 cup prunes with 1/4 cup boiling water, and puree to combine. Sub in equal amounts in most dark baked good recipes.
Greek yogurt. Substitute for Greek yogurt for oil. This can help cut fat and calories without a difference in taste. Substitute 1 cup of oil for ¾ cup of Greek yogurt.
Substitute for cream:
Evaporated skim milk. It provides the same consistency with less fat. Use 1 cup of evaporated skim milk for 1 cup of cream.
Please make sure you try these healthy baking substitutions prior to serving a recipe to others. Healthy can make a great difference, but it takes practice to master them. Making recipes healthier is worth the extra effort!