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By Karen Alexander, Oncology Wellness Specialist


Healthy Baking Substitutes

When it comes to baking, calories and fats are your biggest concerns. Almost no sweet recipe tastes good without these two ingredients. However, we can substitute unhealthy fats, sugars and other sources of calories with better options and still have a tasty recipe that is healthier. Below are some common baking substitutions. These substitutions are not calorie free, but they reduce the calorie content in your recipes while adding fiber and nutrients:

Fat Substitutes

  • Unsweetened applesauce provides moisture, sweetness and density, so it is a great substitution for both butter and milk. Depending on the recipe and the sweetness of your applesauce, you can substitute in a 1:1 or 1:1 1/2 parts ratio. Since applesauce contains liquid and will add moisture to your recipe, you should reduce your wet ingredients (water or milk) by ¼ cup per cup of applesauce.
  • Prune puree can be substituted similar to applesauce. Puree 3/4 cup prunes with 1/4 cup boiling water until you reach a smooth consistency. Substitute in equal amounts in dark baked goods.
  • Greek yogurt may be used in place of sour cream and butter in soups, dressings, homemade icing and desserts. Depending of the recipe you may want to substitute completely or just halve the fats. 
  • You can substitute ½ cup sunflower oil and ½ cup unsweetened applesauce for each cup of butter.
  • Combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 9 tablespoons water and let sit for 15 minutes. You will get a gel that's the perfect consistency to stand in for fat in baking recipes. Do not substitute more than 50% of the fat from the recipe.

Sugar Substitutes

  • Mashed ripe bananas are a great substitute for sugars.
  • Unsweetened applesauce can be used instead of sugar in a 1:1 radio.
  • You can also cut the recipe’s listed amount of sugar in half and add a teaspoon of vanilla.

Egg Substitutes
If you have an egg allergy, choose to eat vegan, or want to avoid eggs for another reason, you can use:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for each egg the recipe calls for.
  • One tablespoon ground flax seeds with three tablespoons warm water for every egg you want to exchange. Whisk with a fork to combine and let it sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before use.
  • Mashed ripe bananas can be a substitute for eggs in chewy baked goods. Use one ripe mashed banana (1/4 cup) in place of one egg. However, since they do not provide lift they are best used in recipes that do not require rising, like cookies.


Recipe of the Week: Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

2 tablespoons flax meal + 6 tablespoons water; plus 2 teaspoons flax meal for sprinkling over the top of muffins, if desired
1 cup whole-wheat flour (can substitute all-purpose flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-cup standard-size muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable shortening.
In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons flax meal and 6 tablespoons water. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in the brown sugar, applesauce, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and flax/water combination.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just incorporated. Batter will be thick.
Divide batter between 12 muffin cups. If you prefer larger muffins with big, domed crowns, divide the batter between 9 muffin cups instead of all 12.
Sprinkle remaining 2 teaspoons flax meal over the tops.
Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place tin on a rack to cool for about five minutes. Transfer individual muffins to a wire rack to let cool completely.
These muffins keep for 3 – 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature, or you can freeze them in a Ziploc™ bag.

Nutrition information per standard-size muffin: Calories 194, total fat 8g, sodium 157mg, total, carbohydrates 28.6g, dietary fiber 2.5g, sugars 9.3g and protein 3.4g.

*Recipe via Kitchen Treaty


Enjoy your weekend!

Karen Ambrosio, OWS

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