I can’t lie, I have a major sweet tooth and I love to bake. Most of the recipes I gravitate toward are loaded with butter and sugar, so when I did make them in the past it was always a rare treat. This just wasn’t cutting it. I wanted to eat sweets more often and NOT feel like I should have to go on an all lettuce diet for the next week. This is when I started exploring healthy recipe substitutes for baking. I found some really strange things, and I found some really great things. I tested the substitutes on some of my favorite recipes and came out with some winners (and some really weird things I just won’t share!). I’ve been using many of these substitutes for a while now on recipes like the Skinny Chocolaty Chippers and The Healthy Brownie with delicious results. Here they are, some of my favorite healthy baking substitutes…
PS. If you like these substitutions, then you’ll LOVE my 10 healthy eating choices!
Healthy Baking Substitutes
How it works? Using black bean puree in place of flour in recipes is a great way to reduce calories and add fiber to any yummy treat. If your recipe calls for a cup of flour, try swapping it with a cup of black bean puree!
Works best with: Brownies, cookies
Unsweetened Apple Sauce
How it works? For cakes and bakes, you can reduce the sugar content by up to half when you use apple sauce. All you need to do is cut the sugar in half, then add the same amount of apple sauce plus about 1/3 more. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 a cup of sugar and about 3/4 a cup of apple sauce (1/2 a cup, plus about 1/3 more). For this substitution, you will need to cut down a bit on the recipe’s liquids. Reduce the recipe’s main liquid by about 1/4 for every cup of apple sauce added.
Works best with: cakes, bakes and fruit dishes
How it works? Avocados are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and are a great source of healthy fats. Swapping avocado for butter will significantly reduce the calories and fat in any recipe. To make this switch, replace with a one to one ratio. For example, if your recipe calls for one cup of butter you can swap it with one cup of mashed avocado. Just remember, naturally this will tint your batter or dough green, so keep that in mind!
Works best with: Cakes and cookies. With cakes, reduce your oven temperature by 25% and increase your baking time. This will help to prevent your cake from rising up in the middle or, alternatively, caving in. It’ll also prevent the cake from browning too quickly.
How it works: Replacing heavy creams with evaporated milks is another great way to cut out fat and calories. Use a one for one substitution on most baked dishes.
Works best with: Whipped cream, dessert beverages
How it works? Replacing butter in a recipe with banana results in a nice rich, dense texture which can be great for all kinds of sweets. Substitute an equal amount of mashed banana for the butter in the recipe. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup softened butter, for example, pack a 1/2 cup with mashed banana.
Works best with: Cakes, muffins, cookies, breads. Using banana for butter may reduce cooking time by up to 25%, so keep an eye on your sweets!
How it works? For most baked goods, you can cut the sugar in half and add a teaspoon of vanilla as a replacement. This will add just as much flavor without all the added calories! Assuming a recipe originally calls for one cup of sugar, that’s a reduction of almost 400 calories!
Works best with: Cakes, muffins, cookies, breads
CHOCOLATE CHIPS SUBSTITUTE:
How it works? Cacao is essentially chocolate in the raw. It’s often referred to as a “super food” because of it’s wide array of benefits (unlike it’s processed counterpart). Cacao nibs contain no sugar, and very little fat so they make a fabulous substitution for chocolate chips in just about any recipe! Use cacao nibs one for one in place of chocolate chips.
Works best with: Any recipe where chocolate chips are used.
How it works? Stevia is an all-natural plant based sweetener with zero calories! Stevia is usually sold in packets under different brands (Truvia etc.) in a granulated form. This makes it the ultimate, natural sugar replacement. One tablespoon of sugar is equal to approx. 1 1/2 packets of Stevia. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, you should replace that with approx. 20-24 packets of Stevia, this will eliminate almost 800 calories! Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so sample recipes before adding too much!
Works best with: Cookies, cakes, muffins, dessert bars, breads
CANOLA OIL SUBSTITUTE:
How it works? Using Greek yogurt in a recipe in place of oil is one of the best ways to cut the fat right out! The Greek yogurt replacement is barely detectable and makes recipes super moist. To make the substitution, cut the recipe’s amount of oil by half. Add ¾ cup of yogurt for every cup of oil that you remove from the recipe.
Works best with: Cakes, breads, cookies
Now go forth and bake!