Like to Bake? Try These 10 Healthier Ingredient Swaps

Fudge brownies, decadent cookies and towering cakes are all a dessert fanatic’s delight…unfortunately it’s not usually in a healthy way. What many bakers don’t know is that there are tons of great ingredient swaps that are just as tasty, if not better, than the real deal.

Traditional staples like eggs, butter and milk can all get a health boost when you swap them for healthy alternatives. Try any of the following to make your baking a little healthier:

  1. Marshmallow fluff or meringue instead of frosting: both meringue and fluff contain significantly less sugar, calories and fat than traditional frosting. Meringue is also much more simply made. It only contains egg whites and sugar.
  2. Cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips: cocoa nibs are far less processed than regular chocolate chips and are a bit less sweet, making them more versatile. They’re also great sources of magnesium, fiber, iron and other nutrients.
  3. Almond, nut, coconut or whole wheat flour instead of regular flour:  regular flour pales in comparison in terms of what nutrients it can provide to a dish. Wheat, coconut and almond flour all contain many nutrients that vary between flours. Just a few include protein, fiber and omega-3 acids. Be warned though: different flours typically have different weights. Reference charts and conversions when you substitute different flours.
  4. Chia seeds or flax meal instead of eggs: These seed blends replace eggs perfectly. Just be sure to prepare them properly first.
  5. Pita bread instead of traditional bread: one four inch pita or whole wheat pita usually contains about half the calories of two pieces of whole wheat bread and less than 5 grams of fat. Enough said?
  6. Skim milk instead of whole or 2% milk: skim milk has a lower fat and calorie content with the same protein serving as other varieties of milk.
  7. Vanilla extract or Stevia instead of sugar: these natural substitutes bring just as much flavor with way less calories. Neither can be replaced in equal ratios, but in the right proportion they are much better health alternatives than sugar.
  8. Unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana instead of butter: both of these fruity solutions provide a similar texture to butter with even more nutrients. Potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6 are prevalent in these substitutions and one cup of applesauce or banana is equivalent to one cup of butter.
  9. Greek yogurt or unsweetened applesauce instead of oil: both Greek yogurt and applesauce mimic the flavors and consistencies of oil without the processed fat.
  10. Evaporated skim milk instead of cream: the sugar content of both of these liquids aren’t great, but evaporated skim milk has a fraction of normal cream’s fat content. At an even swap rate, one cup of evaporated skim can even be used in place of one cup of cream.

If you opt for these healthy swaps, anticipate a difference in the baked good’s density, moisture and time required to cook. These are not necessarily bad changes, but they are probably ones you’re not used to right off the bat. Be patient cooking with new ingredients and give the flavors time before deciding whether you like them or not.

What healthy ingredients do you bake with?

Photo credit: Amy

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