Do you enjoy baked goods but you don’t love the fact that many of the recipes are full of highly processed and nutritionally-empty ingredients? Just a few simple swaps can transform your favorite indulgence into a healthier (and still delicious) treat!
Here are my top five easy baking swaps:
Flour. If you usually use all-purpose flour in your baked goods, try making a simple swap for 100 percent whole wheat flour. This nutritious swap will help meet your daily quota of whole grains and is less processed, meaning it has significantly more fiber (to help stabilize blood sugar levels) and nutrients.
If you’re looking to go gluten-free or to take your nutritious goods to the next level, almond flour is a staple in my pantry! Made from (you guessed it), almonds, this flour is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein. Use almond flour as an equal substitute for all-purpose flour in most baked goods for a delicious and moist treat.
Oil. This is probably one of the easier baking swaps to make since there are so many alternatives. If you’re swapping oil for a lower-fat alternative, keep in mind that foods tend to cook more quickly and can become dry if over-cooked, so be sure to use the toothpick test!
A few of my favorite low-fat substitutes for oil include: fruit/pumpkin puree or mashed sweet potato/avocado at a one-to-one ratio, mashed beans (these will create a fudgy texture) or yogurt. If using yogurt, you will want to use 75 percent of the amount of oil the recipe calls for. For example, 1 cup oil would be replaced with 3/4 cup yogurt.
Sugar. When it comes to sugar, I prioritize natural over highly processed. Excellent sources of natural sugar include: raw honey, maple syrup, date sugar and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is a great alternative to brown sugar since it still has a robust flavor, but is low-glycemic, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
Eggs. If you’re looking to reduce egg consumption, either due to a health concern or because you are trying to go more plant-based, I’ve got you covered!
In vegan baking, “flax eggs” are often used as a binding agent. To make a flax egg, combine 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed with 2.5 Tablespoons water in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes to create a gel-like consistency. You can do the same thing with chia seeds!
Other simple swaps for one egg include 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce or mashed banana.
Sour Cream. Some breads and cakes might require sour cream. A simple and healthier swap here would be Greek yogurt, which is packed with protein and lower in fat but doesn’t include the additives that traditionally comes with America’s favorite baked potato topping.