Healthy Baking Swaps You’ve Got to Try

  • Posted: 12/22/21

How do you make a great recipe even better? By making it healthier. Being healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself of the foods you love. And eating the foods you love doesn’t mean giving up on your health goals. There are so many healthy food swaps you can easily make to create tasty, nutritious recipes.

Why not start by leveling up your baking game with these healthy alternatives? If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start, don’t worry. There are plenty of easy healthy baking swaps you can start experimenting with. So let’s bake!

Seriously Healthy Baking Swaps

The key to creating healthy eating habits — the kind you can actually stick to — is finding the right balance. Instead of depriving yourself of the foods you love, it’s much more sustainable to instead add more nourishing ingredients to your recipes. Some experimenting may be necessary since textures and sweetness levels can vary, but that’s part of the fun!

Healthier Flour Alternatives

White flour has little nutritional value. It’s high in carbs and calories, and low in what’s important like fiber and nutrients. Eating white flour can also cause insulin spikes. Instead of all-purpose flour, why not try...

  • Organic almond flour — Swap one of cup almond flour for one cup of all-purpose flour. Just make sure to add a rising agent, like one teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda per cup. It’s also best to add an extra egg to the recipe. 

  • Coconut flour — Swap 1/3 cup of coconut flour for one cup of all-purpose flour. Coconut flour is more dense and absorbs more moisture, so you’ll generally need to add an extra egg and a bit more water for every 1/3 cup of coconut flour. 

Healthier Sour Cream Option

Full-fat Greek yogurt has less than half the calories as sour cream, is higher in protein and lower in fat and cholesterol. It also contains probiotics that help balance gut flora. Whether it’s a tasty dip or baked good recipe, you can swap one cup of full fat organic Greek yogurt for one cup of sour cream. 

Keep in mind that the live probiotic cultures in yogurt are destroyed at around 115°F. So, while you can retain the probiotics in dips and cold dishes, they won’t survive the higher heat temps used for baking. But they’ll still add the richness and moisture you’re after. 

Healthier Sugar Alternatives

Yes, sugar tastes great in baked goods, but it’s not so great for the waistline — or overall health. Besides weight gain, sugar tops the list of foods that cause chronic low-grade inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases.  

So, does that mean you have to give up your favorite recipes? Nope! When it comes to swapping traditional refined sugar, you have lots of options. 

  • Apple sauce — If you’re looking to cut calories from your baked goods, swap out sugar for unsweetened applesauce. One cup of sugar has over 770 calories compared to unsweetened applesauce that has about 100. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust the moisture in the recipe to account for the applesauce. 

  • Coconut sugar — Calorie-wise, sugar and coconut sugar are about the same. But coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, meaning it doesn't spike your blood glucose and insulin like refined sugar does. And while refined sugar basically provides empty calories, coconut sugar contains a small amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium.

  • Monk fruit sugar — Pure monk fruit extract is about 100 to 250 times sweeter than white sugar. But it doesn’t bake well in its purest form. For this reason, use monk fruit sugar to sweeten fat bombs, jellies, or any raw desserts. It contains no calories and no carbs, and of course, is low-glycemic — so it won’t spike blood sugar. 

Healthier Milk Options

It's easier than you think to replace dairy milk with plant-based milks in your favorite recipes. If you're lactose intolerant or simply want to avoid dairy, almond, coconut, soy, and oat milk all make good substitutes for cow’s milk. While you can substitute 1:1, keep in mind that due to higher water content, baked goods made with non-dairy milks tend to bake faster.   

Non-dairy milks can also be turned into a “buttermilk” alternative, too. Just add one teaspoon of white vinegar to 1/3 cup of almond, coconut, soy, or oat milk. Let it sour at room temperature for about 45 minutes before using. 

Healthier Chocolate Option

The majority of cocoa powders you find in the store are treated with alkali. While natural cocoa is high in flavanols, when it’s processed with alkali, healthy compounds are greatly reduced — thus reducing the health benefits. 

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Vegan Egg Option

If you’re looking for a vegan egg alternative, or simply have run out of fresh eggs, you can swap traditional eggs with a flaxseed “egg”. They’re incredibly simple to make. Just mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal into three tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to set and thicken for about 10 to 15 minutes and you’re ready to go. 

You can swap in a flaxseed “egg” 1:1 for traditional eggs in recipes like your favorite banana bread, muffin, pancake or veggie burger recipe. Plus, you’ll get the added health benefits from flaxseed, like additional fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Upgrade Your Baked Goods

If you’re looking to up your recipe game one more level, consider swapping out highly processed and “unethical” ingredients with higher-quality substitutes. 

Swap regular eggs for organic, free-range eggs

Instead of regular eggs, opt for organic, free-range, USDA A or AA eggs, stamped with the Certified Humane or Animal Welfare Approved seal. You may have to pay a bit more, but the end result is worth it — for your health and the welfare of chickens everywhere.

Swap your regular butter for organic grass-fed butter

What dairy cows eat affects the nutritional value of the milk they produce, which also the butter made from it. Grass-fed generally means the cows were allowed to graze or fed a diet that included grass. While the flavor of grass-fed butter changes depending on the location and time of year, the taste is usually richer and more intensely flavored than regular butter. 

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.