Healthy Holiday Baking Tips!

December 15, 2015 at 8:56 am


Step up your baking game this holiday season with these simple and delicious substitutes. Holiday baking just got a whole lot healthier.


Sugar Swap

Sure, we all love our sweet treats over the holidays but many recipes call for an unnecessarily high amount of sugar. In many cases, you’ll find that you can cut up to half the amount of sugar in a recipe without compromising on taste with the following healthier substitutes.

Unsweetened Apple Sauce: You can substitute sugar for applesauce in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.

Mashed Banana: Combine 1 cup of mashed (ripened) bananas with a few tbsps. of water and then puree until smooth. Bananas can be substituted 1:1 for sugar, but for best results only replace up to half the amount of sugar in your recipe.

Fig or Date Puree: Simmer 1 cup of dried figs or dates in ½ cup of water until softened and then puree into a paste. This puree can be substituted 1:1 for sugar in most recipes, but similarly to mashed bananas it’s best to only replace up to half of the sugar in the entire recipe since figs and dates can impart a strong flavor.

Stevia: This natural sweetener has almost no calories and is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. As a result, swap with caution: 1 cup of sugar should be swapped for 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia, or about 2 tbsps. of stevia powder.

Vanilla Extract: Cut the sugar in half and add a tsp. of vanilla as a replacement. This will add flavor without all the added calories.

Cacao nibs: Cacao is essentially chocolate in the raw. Rich in antioxidants without the added sugar that chocolate contains, cacao nibs make an excellent substitution for chocolate chips in just about any recipe. Use cacao nibs in a 1:1 ratio in place of chocolate chips.

Fat Fix

To simply upgrade the health of your baked goods, start by swapping vegetable oils like canola, sunflower and safflower for virgin coconut oil, and margarine for butter. On the other hand, if you’re looking to reduce the total amount of fat in your baked goods, try the following substitutes to lighten up your recipe. As a general rule of thumb: only cut up to half the fat to avoid compromising on taste and texture.

Mashed Avocado: At room temperature avocados have the same consistency as butter, and can be used as a replacement to butter in many recipes. To make this switch, replace butter in a 1:1 ratio.

Unsweetened Apple Sauce: In addition to being a great sugar substitute, applesauce can also be used to replace butter and oil in many recipes. Try swapping out just half the fat – in other words you would use ½ cup of oil and ½ cup of applesauce in a recipe calling for 1 cup of oil.

Chia seeds: Looking to cut down on the number of eggs in a recipe? Look no further! As an egg replacement, combining 1 tbsp. of chia seeds with 3 tbsps. of water and then leaving to stand for 15 minutes yields a perfect 1-to-1 egg substitute for baking. You can also replicate this recipe with ground flax seeds rather than chia seeds!

Flour Flip

Increase nutrition by replacing some of the wheat or all-purpose flour in a recipe with the following substitutes.

Black Beans: Using black bean puree in place of flour is a great way to ramp up the protein and fibre content. Swap out 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of black bean puree, but be sure to rinse and drain the beans first.

Spelt Flour: If you’re new to flour substitutes and want a simple and healthy upgrade, then spelt flour is your best bet. This flour has a mild taste and can be substituted directly 1:1 in most recipes.

Coconut Flour or Almond Flour: Higher in protein and fibre and lower in carbs than regular wheat flour, these flours are both gluten-free. Start by substituting 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut or almond flour in place of 1 cup of wheat or all-purpose flour. Since they’re both denser than regular flour you’ll need to add a bit of extra liquid to your recipe.

Other substitutes to experiment with include oat, rice and quinoa flour; as well as rolled oats and quinoa flakes.

About the Author

Elaine is a Certified Nutritionist and Women’s Health Coach. She works with clients across the globe to help them improve their health and relationship with food. Elaine believes in a real food approach to health that is rooted in optimizing digestion and includes ongoing and intelligent cleansing. You can download her FREE Hip, Healthy & Holistic Makeover Guide to learn 5 simple things you can do every day to lose weight, increase energy, kick cravings, and feel beautiful inside & out.