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Healthy Baking Subsitutions

Healthy Substitutions For Baking

Baking is a great way to beat the chilly weather that comes with the change of seasons. Weekends are a great time to make sweet things with my sweet things — my girls love baking too. When making treats, I do try to make substitutes with healthy ingredients when I think I will not be sacrificing the texture and flavor too much.

I found some substitutions at the American Heart Association, and I think they're great. Definitely worth giving a try if you are trying to reduce your intake of saturated fat, the kind which can increase your LDL cholesterol.

Feel like trying to bake a little healthier? Keep reading for substitution ideas.

Ingredient Healthy Substitution
Whole milk (one cup) One cup fat-free or nonfat milk plus one tablespoon of unsaturated oil like safflower or canola
Heavy cream (one cup) One cup evaporated skim milk, or one cup cup half and half
Sour cream Low-fat Greek yogurt
Cream cheese Four tablespoons margarine blended with one cup dry low-fat cottage cheese; add a small amount of fat-free milk if needed
Butter (one tablespoon) One tablespoon polyunsaturated margarine or 3/4 tablespoon polyunsaturated oil like safflower oil
Shortening (one cup) Two sticks polyunsaturated margarine like original Earth Balance or Smart Balance
One Egg One egg white plus two teaspoons of unsaturated oil (canola or safflower) or commercially made, cholesterol-free egg substitute
Unsweetened baking chocolate (one ounce) Three tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus one tablespoon polyunsaturated oil (like safflower or corn oil) or margarine. Carob is sweeter than cocoa, so reduce sugar in recipe by 1/4

If you have any tried and true substitutions that you regularly use, share them in the comments section below.

Flickr User izik

Join The Conversation
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 5 years
I love adding pumpkin and butternut squash to things! I live a grain free life so I mix egg whites with pea protein (it's DELICIOUS) and pureed pumpkin and make pancakes! It's delicious! You can always replace the pea protein with rice bran protein if you so choose! Makes for a bit more of a grainy flavor, equally as good though! Check out my new blog,
tamaradulva tamaradulva 5 years
Egg substitute: 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water. Good for baking cookies and gives them an extra nutty flavor. Full of good omega-3s. Not good for cakes because the cakes will not rise. So, I use half the amount of eggs and one instance of the flaxseed combo. Butter: Applesauce or yogurt can work. I also use bananas if the flavor and texture doesn't compromise the end result.
traciepwns traciepwns 8 years
Milk - Soy Milk Eggs - 1/2 banana for every egg Oil - Applesauce I also second the box of cake mix and can of soda trick. I found out about that a few months ago and now that's the only way I make cupcakes and cakes. It's so incredibly simple. Another trick I discovered is using only a can of black beans and a box of brownie mix to make brownies. It sounds gross, but you can't taste the beans at all and they come out moist and delicious. Just take a can of beans (water and all) and mash (or blend) them. Then add them to the brownie mix in a bowl and stir. Cook according to the directions on the box. I made these for some friends but didn't tell them how they were made and they said that they were some of the best brownies they've tasted.
VolleyJen14 VolleyJen14 8 years
plus_2_kid....plain yogurt can work really well for a mayo sub. i hate mayo so i use the yogurt for things like artichoke dip, can also mix in some fat free sour cream to richen up the yogurt and it's not as tangy. when i make tuna i use plain yogurt and all takes a little fiddling but it usually comes out great! hope this helps...
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
Wow, these are great! I hadn't heard of any of these (but haven't really made an effort I guess). Here's a question: What do I sub in for mayo? I have a recipe for a casserole that uses a ton of mayo (my mom says it "holds it together"). Any suggestions on a substitute? I usually just leave it out.
pmartine pmartine 8 years
Instead of oil, I use applesauce. I cup of oil or 1 cup of apple sauce. Its easier if you buy apple sauce that's already in a cup.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Wild I've used apple sauce too and it tastes just as great.
amandaaa amandaaa 8 years
i'm a nutrition/dietetics major, so i took a food prep class and for our final assignment, we had to take a recipe and make it healthier. i chose muffins, and i replaced the oil for applesauce, used low-fat milk. the recipe called for peanut butter, so i used better'n peanut butter, because the taste isn't distinguishable when cooking.
Wild-Magelet Wild-Magelet 8 years
I always sub applesauce for oil/butter and wholemeal flour for white flour. I make really yummy cookies and fruit breads using applesauce, cinnamon, dried fruit and frozen berries for sweetness, with occasionally a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup or agave nectar mixed in. You can also use mashed banana or diced pineapple to add sweetness. Honestly, if you've got a loaf made with applesauce, diced and baked apple, berries, and spices, it already tastes sweet enough that you shouldn't miss the sugar. Having said that, I think there's an adjustment period if you're trying to wean yourself off refined sugars and saturated fats! :) Five years ago, healthified biscuits and breads wouldn't have appealed to me that much, but it only takes a couple of months going cold turkey and I honestly think that your tastes change.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I use applesauce in place of oil sometimes, but I don't usually substitute other things for butter. Most of the time when you're baking, butter is necessary for the proper texture and flavor. I like the trick of using skim milk with a tablespoon of oil instead of whole milk...that's a great way to get the richness without the saturated fat.
pittsburghchick pittsburghchick 8 years
My very favorite is the diet soda trick... you buy a dry cake mix, and add one can of diet gingerale for yellow or diet coke/pepsi for chocolate... no eggs, water, or oil. I usually make cupcakes but you can use it as cake batter too. They come out so light and fluffy for no additional calories.
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 8 years
You can use plain nonfat yoghurt if you don't want to use applesauce as a substitute for the oil, also. It depends on the recipe. I don't use shortening much, but if I do, I use unrefined coconut oil instead. It makes wonderful oatmeal cookies!
Chicagomarie Chicagomarie 8 years
You can use apple sauce (plain unsweetened) as a substitute to oil or butter in nearly any cake or bread recipe, sometimes in cookie one's too if you're going for a fluffy cake texture
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Occasionally I used stewed reduced plums (aka pureed prunes) in place of sugar and sometimes oil. Also, I've used unsweetened applesauce in place of oil or butter. And reduced unsweetened apple or grape juice (reduce until it's a thick syrup) in place of refined sugar.
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