Healthy baking substitutes you should try this holiday season
By Mercedes Deutscher, Contributor
With Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas coming up in the next few months, one thing is inevitable: treats—lots of treats. Most of these tasty delectables include baked goods such as pumpkin pie, gingerbread cookies, and Nanaimo bars. However, the unfortunate fact about these holiday classics is that they pack on the pounds and fill your diet with unhealthy sugars, fats, and carbs.
Not to fear! You can still enjoy these seasonal snacks by making substitutions when you bake them. Even better, replacing traditional ingredients doesn’t mean giving up flavour. Here are some easy substitutes that you should try in your next baking recipe.
Sugar: Sugar can be replaced with several ingredients, such as unsweetened applesauce, vanilla, and a sugar substitute (such as Splenda). By cutting sugar, you cut a lot of calories. Fun fact: one cup of applesauce is only 100 calories, while one cup of sugar is over 700 calories.
Fats (butter/oil): Once again, applesauce is a great substitute. Other possible substitutes are mashed bananas and avocado or prune puree. These fruity alternatives can also give your holiday treat an extra boost of vitamins.
Flour: Switching white flour for whole wheat flour turns empty carbs into meaningful ones. Almond, nut, and coconut flour are competent substitutes, but rise differently than wheat flour. If you’re feeling adventurous or need extra protein, black bean puree also fills the requirements of flour. Using alternate flours can make a baked good friendly to people who are avoiding wheat or gluten.
Cream: Skim evaporated milk isn’t just for pumpkin pie! While you gain two grams of sugar by making the switch (a very small price), you lose much of the fat associated with cream.
Dairy: Almond milk is a good replacement for regular milk. It has a similar texture and a nutty flavour. Other milk-substitutes include rice milk or coconut milk (not the canned kind used in Thai cooking). Switching up the milk you use can also make a dish accessible to lactose-intolerant or vegan friends and family members.
By making a few swaps in your favourite holiday recipes, you can enjoy the flavours of fall and winter without the guilt.