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Healthy Baking Hacks

If holidays and baking go hand in hand in your home, all that buttery and sugary goodness can really pack on the holiday pounds. You can easily swap ingredients to make your favorite dishes healthier and lower in calories, so try these tips.

  • Applesauce: Often used to replace oil in recipes, applesauce can also be used as butter alternative, and it works best in cake-like recipes (like this vegan banana apple chunk bread). Replace half the amount of butter in your recipe with applesauce; if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce. If you don't mind a denser, more moist bread, replace all the butter with applesauce to cut even more calories and fat.
  • Banana: To replace an egg in quick sweet bread recipes, use one mashed banana.
  • Pureed grapes: To reduce the white sugar in recipes, try replacing with pureed grapes as in this muffin recipe or this overnight breakfast bake. You'll need to adjust the dry ingredients a bit to ensure your baked goods aren't too moist.
  • Avocado: Substitute half the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado (it works well with cookies); use the same method as you would when using applesauce. Using avocado not only lowers the calorie content but also creates a softer, chewier baked good and is perfect if you want to omit the dairy.
  • Greek yogurt: Replace half the amount of butter in your cookie recipes with full-fat plain Greek yogurt. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and one quarter cup of yogurt. You'll reduce the calories and the saturated fat. Play around with using more yogurt and less butter to see if you still like the taste and consistency. Here are more ways to use Greek yogurt in recipes.
  • Prune puree: Often used to help little ones stay regular, prune puree also makes a low-calorie and low-fat alternative to butter. Whatever amount of butter the recipe calls for, replace it completely with store-bought baby food prune puree (unless you have time to make your own; just puree prunes in the food processor). This option works well in recipes that involve chocolate and cinnamon.
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