We are all completely committed to healthy eating, right?
However, there are some days where we simply cannot go without that cupcake or muffin or slice of carrot cake. This needs to be okay because there is no joy in constant depravation. There are a few tips and tricks of the trade to make those baked goods a little healthier. The above Baking Substitutions info graphic should help with this, but here is some explanation as to why I recommend these substitutions.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am rather firmly against vegetable oils. Yes they have good monounsaturated fats, but they are highly unsaturated which means that when heated they become unstable and quite frankly harmful for you. Swap out sunflower, safflower, canola (yes, I said canola), etc. for more “stable” oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. Always aim for cold-pressed, extra-virgin oils!
An alternative is to use Chia seeds to make a gel! Chia gel is packed full of healthy Omega 3 fats, protein, fibre and a variety of vitamins and minerals to really health-up your recipes. You can make it simply by putting 1/3 of a cup chia seeds in 1-1.5 cups water and leaving it for about 10 mins. This wonderful little gel can be used in place of eggs too as it acts as a binder! Chia doesn’t taste like anything so it will not spoil the flavour of your product.
I do love butter and I think it is a healthy fat to include in one’s diet for the most part. That being said, not all individuals do well on saturated animal fats. More research is still needed on this. If you are still fearing fat and are wanting to eliminate the butter, chia gel is a great substitute yet again! Also avocado puree or prune puree can provide you with this “creaminess” although the taste will be slightly altered if you use either of these.
I am sure there is no explanation needed here as to why you would want to replace sugar in your recipes! Erythritol is probably the best option here if you have blood sugar problems as it is on par with sugar in terms of sweetness, but will not affect your blood sugar levels. Xylitol is another great one, although it tends to add a bit of moisture to your baked good so bear this in mind when mixing the other ingredients in! Stevia is SUPER sweet, but another great natural alternative to sugar (just use a tiny bit). If you don’t have blood sugar problems, organic honey can also be used.
I am not a huge fan of refined flour, and if you have gluten-intolerance you will definitely need to replace this in the recipes! There are a huge variety of gluten-free flours and I have given you just a few in the info graphic. If you are watching your carb intake then using coconut flour, almond (or any other nut) flour is advised!
When it comes to milk, I do not feel that the majority of us need to avoid it. It is packed full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that we all need for disease prevention! Please note that I do not count low-fat or fat-free products as dairy. They have no place on your table or in your fridge. See my article –> Full Fat Dairy – For the Win! for more. Some of us do however have lactose-intolerance and need to avoid milk.
The nut milks are especially delicious, particularly from macadamias! Otherwise EasyGest is the best way to get all the same nutrients as you would in regular full cream milk. It is basically normal milk with added lactase enzyme (the enzyme needed to break down the lactose), so it tastes a little sweeter but is otherwise identical.
There are many different recipe substitution ideas and I am sure I could have gone on for ages, but as a quick reference guide I hope my info graphic will come in handy next time you are craving a cupcake.