Two things that I love in this world might seem contradictory to most people: baking and eating healthy. I have always been a healthy eater and my love of baking has recently grown stronger because I have been learning about healthy substitutes for baking recipes. I started experimenting with these ingredients by making muffins, dessert breads and cakes the healthier way and I learned this: I cannot tell the difference. The things I baked with healthy ingredients were delicious, moist and guilt-free! So with the start of 2015 and people around the world resolving to clean up their diets, here are some of the tricks I use to stay healthy while still having a little sweetness every now and then.
1. Substitute unsweetened applesauce for oil. This will reduce the fat and calories in the dish you are baking while not compromising moisture.
2. Substitute unsweetened vanilla almond milk for water. This trick doesn’t have much of an effect on the finished product but it does add nutrients including iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and vitamin E into the dish.
3. Substitute egg whites for eggs. Skipping the egg yolk will lower your dietary cholesterol and make your dish healthier overall. Note: for some recipes egg yolks are necessary, such as sponge cake, so it is important to ensure that you use yolks if they are needed for texture. I have baked cakes, cupcakes, cookies and breads all with egg whites and had no problem.
4. Reduce sugar. If your dish calls for sugar just reduce the amount by one half. You can add on some sweetness by adding a dash of vanilla or cinnamon.
5. Substitute buttermilk with 1 cup of nonfat or low-fat milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for each cup of buttermilk that the recipe calls for.
6. Substitute ½ whole wheat flour and ½ white flour instead of all white flour to increase the health benefits of your dish. Whole grains are packed with nutrients including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals. Note: This takes a bit of trial and error to determine how much wheat flour to exchange, trading wheat flour entirely for white might result in flat baked goods, and no one likes flat baked goods.
7. Substitute canola oil for up to half of the butter required in baking which will reduce the saturated fat in the recipe.
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