Healthy Baking Substitutions

‘Tis the season for a multitude of tempting desserts around every corner and at every get-together. Desserts can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, the key is moderation and balancing those sweets out with lean protein and plenty of vegetables and fruits.

That being said, there are a few tried-and-true ways to make your favorite sweet treats healthier. Healthy baking does not mean cutting out all of the sugar or fat. Those are what make them taste good! The goal is to decrease their amounts while maintaining the delicious taste and normal texture. Small substitutions can really add up to save you big calories, fat and sugar. Without further adieu, here are my tips for healthier baking:

1.) Halve your flours

Substitute half of the white flour with whole-wheat pastry flour. It has an airier texture compared to regular whole-wheat flour, keeping your baked goods nice and tender. Additionally, it adds nutrients and fiber without a noticeable change in texture or taste.

These Banana Oatmeal Cookies use whole-grain oat flour

2.) Replace the oil

Replacing the butter or oil with low-fat/fat-free yogurt or applesauce, cuts out nearly all of the fat. This works great for breads, brownies, and cakes.

3.) Flaxseed eggs

In addition to reducing calories, this is a great substitution for vegans or when you run out of eggs. For one “egg” simply combine 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 Tablespoons water in a small bowl. Let stand for a couple minutes to allow it to gel then add to your recipe like you would a regular egg. Flaxseeds are an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote smooth skin and healthy hair. Evidence also indicates that they may protect you from a multitude of diseases including some cancers.

4.) Cut down the sugar

More often than not, recipes call for much more sugar than is actually needed to obtain that sweet taste. Start by reducing the sugar by ¼, the first time. If that tastes good, try reducing it even more the next time by 1/3 or ½.

I reduced the sugar nearly in half in these Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Muffins 

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