For some people, the holiday season means churning out an endless supply of cookies, muffins, cakes and more. If you love to bake during the holidays, consider altering your usual recipes this year to include healthier ingredients and body-benefiting nutrients. These healthy substitutes for common baking ingredients can help you cut back on excess fat and calories, without cutting back on flavor:
- Coconut oil or unsweetened applesauce instead of vegetable oil. Coconut oil is rich in beneficial medium chain fatty acids and is good for high-temperature cooking. Unsweetened applesauce (or any fruit puree) can provide the same moist texture as oil, with the added benefit of vitamins and other nutrients.
- Stevia or raw honey in place of white sugar. Stevia is a natural substitute that does not affect your blood sugar ““ but it can be bitter, so it might take some experimenting to achieve the right flavor. Raw honey is another natural way to sweeten your baked treats and offers an array of vitamins and minerals.
- Whole wheat flour as a substitute for white flour. Try using half white and half whole wheat at first, to get used to the taste and texture. Using whole wheat flour adds fiber, B-vitamins and other beneficial nutrients to your recipe.
- Flaxseed as a heart-healthy alternative for eggs. For each egg, simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and 3 tablespoons of water (use 4 tablespoons if your flaxseeds are still whole) in a blender until they form a gelatinous substance. Adding flax brings healthy fiber and omega-3s to your baked goods. Because of its subtle nutty flavor, flaxseed is best in grittier foods, such as muffins and oatmeal cookies.
- Dried fruit as a replacement for chocolate chips. Add a little flair to your cookies, cakes and muffins by adding a bit of dried fruit instead of chocolate. Also, consider including a very small amount of healthy nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, which contain beneficial fats and nutrients.
Have you successfully swapped a traditional ingredient for a healthy one? Share your story here.