Healthy Baking Swaps: How to Slim Down Recipes


For me, baking is pure bliss. I really like whipping up brownies, cupcakes, cookies, pies, and cornbread. But as a nutritionist, I additionally need to be ok with my goodies, whether or not I am consuming them myself or sharing them with family and friends. To that finish I am at all times taking part in round with better-for-you ingredient substitutions.

Here are 5 swaps that can shore up your baked items’ dietary profile, whereas additionally enhancing the flavour and texture (I promise!).

Trade butter for avocado

I’ve heard avocado known as nature’s butter, and the identify really matches. I get pleasure from avocado’s creamy goodness whipped into smoothies, unfold on complete grain toast, or as the bottom for a dip, however it’s additionally improbable in baked good recipes. Just commerce every tablespoon of butter in a recipe for half of a tablespoon of avocado. This swap slashes energy, and nonetheless offers the satisfying texture you crave in a dessert, whereas additionally delivering heart-healthier, waistline-trimming monounsaturated fats (MUFAs for brief), and considerably boosting the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant make-up of your deal with. Just 1 be aware: you would possibly need to use this trick in recipes with cocoa, which masks the colour. I’ve used avocado in blondies and cookies, and whereas the feel and taste have been improbable, there was a definite inexperienced tint!

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Replace wheat flour with bean flour

While I examined adverse for Celiac disease I do really feel higher once I keep away from gluten. Fortunately there are a variety of gluten-free flours ultimate for baking that additionally add bonus fiber, protein, and vitamins. One of my favorites is garbanzo bean flour. 1 / 4 cup packs 5g of fiber (versus simply 1g in the identical quantity of all-purpose flour) and I really like the nutty taste and heartiness however not heaviness it provides to brownies and muffins. Substitute it in a one-to-one swap for all-purpose or wheat flour. It ought to work nicely in any baking recipe.

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Use coconut oil rather than shortening

Shortening and coconut oil look comparable in that each are usually white and strong at room temperature. The distinction is shortening is strong as a result of a liquid oil was hydrogenated to make it strong—a man-made course of that is removed from pure. Partial hydrogenation creates trans fat, the dietary villain that is been linked to a number of well being issues, from coronary heart illness and kind 2 diabetes to fertility challenges. Fully hydrogenated oil (aka interesterified oil), whereas technically trans fats free, could also be even worse on your well being. A Brandeis University research discovered that topics who consumed merchandise made with interesterified oil skilled a decrease in their “good” HDL cholesterol and a big rise in blood sugar a few 20% spike in simply 4 weeks.

Enter coconut oil, a pure plant-based fats, which additionally provides antioxidants just like these present in berries, grapes, and darkish chocolate. While excessive in saturated fats, newer analysis confirms that not all saturated fats are bad for you. Coconut oil incorporates a kind referred to as medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, that are metabolized in a singular method. This good fats has truly been proven to up “good” HDL, scale back waist circumference, and improve calorie burning. For baking, substitute it one-for-one for shortening. It’s superb in pie crust and chocolate chip cookies!

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Swap some sugar for pureed fruit

While fats was public enemy #1, at the moment’s dietary knowledge dictates together with good fat (reminiscent of avocado and coconut oil) and shunning refined sugar. While eradicating it completely in baking is not at all times attainable, I’ve discovered that I can change as much as 50% of it with pureed fruit, reminiscent of bananas, pears, apples, mangoes, papayas, and dried dates or figs pureed with water. In addition to being bundled with fiber, nutritional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the naturally occurring sugar in fruit is far much less concentrated. For instance, 1 / 4 cup (4 tablespoons) of mashed banana incorporates lower than 7 grams of sugar, in comparison with 12 grams in only one tablespoon of table sugar. The substitute ratio generally is a little tough, as a result of some fruits are sweeter than others, however I usually discover quarter cup of pureed fruit can change a half of cup of sugar. (Note: I do not like my baked items overly candy, so some bakers might choose a one-to-one substitute.) And as a result of fruit has the next water content material, you will additionally want to scale back the liquid within the recipe a bit, sometimes by 1 / 4 cup.

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Upgrade chocolate chips to darkish chocolate chunks

I am at all times singing the praises of dark chocolate, and the analysis simply retains coming. A research out this month discovered that gut bacteria ferment dark chocolate to provide substances that combat irritation, a identified set off of getting older and ailments, together with weight problems. Most of the analysis about chocolate’s advantages has been completed with 70%t darkish, and the chocolate chips you will discover within the baking aisle are probably 34% or much less (I’ve seen 1 model of 70% however it may be onerous to search out and fairly costly), so I like to recommend utilizing a chopped darkish chocolate bar as a substitute. It’s simple peasy, and a few analysis exhibits that chocolate’s aroma, which is launched when it is chopped, pre-sates the palate, which can naturally aid you gobble much less of the goodies. P.S. If you’re keen on chocolate, take a look at my vegan chocolate brownie recipe with a secret celebrity ingredient (trace: it is a veggie). To make them gluten-free use garbanzo bean flour rather than the entire wheat pastry flour.

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What are your ideas on this subject? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with grasp’s levels in each vitamin science and public well being. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing vitamin editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and lengthy distance. Cynthia is at the moment the sports activities vitamin advisor to the New York Rangers NHL crew and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB crew, and is board licensed as a specialist in sports activities dietetics. Her newest New York Times finest vendor is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


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