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Baking Substitutes

By Abby Henry Singh November 21, 2019Pearls of Wisdom Blog

With the holiday season fast approaching, you may be planning to make delicious baked goods for friends, family and events. Do you find that your sweet tooth makes it hard to stick to your nutrition goals? This doesn’t have to be the case! By substituting different ingredients in your favorite recipes, you can cut back on added sugar or fat, add fiber, or add protein to baked goods. The following are a few ingredients you may want to add the next time you bake:

  • Applesauce. You can use 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of 1 cup of sugar in most baked desserts. You will need to reduce the amount of other liquids in the recipe if making this swap.
  • Mashed Bananas. You can use 1 cup of mashed, ripe bananas for 1 cup of oil or butter. By making this swap, you can also use less sugar in your recipe thanks to the natural sweetness of bananas.
  • Black Beans. Add extra protein to your brownies by using 1 cup of pureed black beans in place of 1 cup of flour.
  • Whole Wheat Flour. Swap one cup of whole wheat flour for 7/8 cup of white flour for added fiber and nutrients. Whole-wheat flour has a denser texture and less of a natural rise so only replace part of the white flour in a recipe.
  • Avocado. Swap 1 cup of butter for 1 cup of pureed avocado. This works best in chocolate flavored cakes, cookies, and brownies. The dark color of the chocolate hides the green shade of the avocado.
  • Greek Yogurt. Nonfat Greek yogurt can be used in a variety of ways. You can swap 1 cup of yogurt for 1 cup of butter or oil in most baked goods. You can also use nonfat Greek yogurt in any recipe that calls for sour cream.
  • Protein Powders. If you or a loved one needs extra protein during cancer treatment, you can also look for baked recipes that incorporate protein powders. (Ask your healthcare team or a dietitian for a recommendation for a protein powder.) Search online or visit the manufacturer’s website for ideas for baking. Protein powders can often be used in place of flour or other dry ingredients.

When making substitutions to your go-to recipes, you may need to experiment a bit to see what works best. A few things to keep in mind when making substitutions include

  • Keep things simple by only making one or two substitutes in a recipe. The more you change, the more likely you are to sacrifice taste and texture.
  • Consider the ratio of wet to dry ingredients. You may need to reduce liquid in a recipe if adding a new wet ingredient.
  • You may need to reduce or increase cooking time.

If the thought of changing a beloved recipe by adding a new ingredient makes you nervous, you can also try these tips.

  • As a general rule, sugar in most recipes can be cut by 25% without greatly affecting taste or texture.
  • Look for new recipes that already include healthy substitutions so you don’t have to worry about measurements.
  • Look for desserts and breads that use fruits and vegetables such as carrot, banana or pumpkin which add flavor, sweetness and moisture without requiring as much sugar, butter or oil as other baked goods.

Keep in mind that these are only suggestions. Make changes, as necessary, to accommodate food allergies or to follow nutrition guidelines provided by the healthcare team.

For more healthy baking substitutes, visit the following:

The Mayo Clinic

Abby Henry Singh

Author Abby Henry Singh

Manger Content, Outreach, and Outcomes Abby Henry Singh is a native of Sevierville, Tennessee, and a graduate of Belmont University with a bachelor’s degree in English and history. She has been a member of PearlPoint Cancer Support for over 5 years. Previously, Singh was the Program and Outreach Manger for the Lupus Foundation of America, Mid-South Chapter where she worked to raise disease awareness and support those diagnosed with the disease through educational programs. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Belmont English alumni book club.

More posts by Abby Henry Singh

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