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Top 10 | Healthy baking swaps

Top 10 | Healthy baking swaps

Top 10 | Healthy baking swaps

When trying to eat healthily we tend to deny ourselves our favourite baked goodies, but you don’t have to anymore! Crush your sugar cravings and opt for a healthier version of your favourite treat. Slim down your sweets by adding these substitutes that won’t sacrifice on texture or flavour. We’ve put together a list of the most popular baking ingredients and their substitutes. With only a few tweaks, these healthy swaps can save you calories!

Swap flour for black beans

When baking brownies

Quantity 1 cup flour = 1 cup pureed black beans

Substituting black beans into your baking can cut out the gluten while adding extra protein, iron and fibre; extra fibre can help digestion and help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. The best thing about adding black beans is that they don’t compromise the texture or flavour of baked goods. By incorporating black beans in lieu of flour adds a major nutritional boost to your favourite indulgences.

Try – Black bean brownies


Swap white flour for whole-wheat flour

When baking anything

Quantity 7/8 cup flour = 1 cup whole-wheat flour

Whole wheat flour is not processed, unlike white flour and therefore still contains vitamins, minerals and protein. As a good source of calcium, iron and fibre, whole-wheat flour aids in digestion and lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease. In baking, whole-wheat flour can be used in almost any recipe but tends to work best in baking breads. When making this substitution there may be a need to increase liquid quantities in some recipes.

Swap sugar for unsweetened applesauce

When baking sweet breads, muffins and cakes

Quantity 1 cup sugar = ½ cup unsweetened applesauce + ½ cup butter

1 cup of sugar can contain more than 770 calories! By substituting sugar for unsweetened applesauce, which has only 100 calories per cup, you can drastically reduce the calories in recipes. Replace half the amount of butter in your recipe with applesauce; if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce. To cut even more calories substitute all of the butter with applesauce – note this will give you a more dense and moist bread. Sometimes you may have to decrease the liquid in the recipe when making this substitution.

Try – Oatmeal muffins with blueberry and applesauce


Swap sugar for stevia

When baking anything

Quantity 1 cup sugar = 1 teaspoon liquid stevia (or 2 tablespoons stevia powder)

The perfect way to create a low carbohydrate version of a sweet treat! Natural sweeteners like stevia are refined sugar free, gluten free and fructose free but this doesn’t mean they don’t still give you the same sugary taste – natural sweetener is 300 times sweeter than sugar! Watch your grocery bill because sweeteners can cost up to 5 times more.

Swap canola oil for Greek yoghurt

When baking anything

Quantity 1 cup oil = ½ cup oil + ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt is full of probiotics, high in protein and low in fat, carbohydrates and sodium. Baking with Greek yoghurt reduces the calories and saturated fats in your recipe giving you a lighter alternative. Due to the dense and creamy texture of Greek yoghurt, baked goods can achieve a better consistency and finer crumb. The tangy flavour of Greek yoghurt contrasts well in baking with the sweetness of dessert recipes, leading to a more balanced finished product.


Swap chocolate chips for cacao nibs 

When baking cookies, cakes, breads and granola bars

Quantity 1 cup chocolate chips = 1 cup cacao nibs

Cocoa nibs are less processed and therefore cut the additives and added sugar while also giving out healthy doses of antioxidants. Cocoa nibs make for a healthier treat without having to give up the flavour.

Swap butter for mashed banana / avocado

When baking fudge chocolate brownies, breads, cookies, cakes and making chocolate mousse

Quantity 1 cup butter = 1 cup banana / pureed avocado

Two of the most versatile fruits, banana and avocado are both interchangeable as a butter substitution. Filled with nutrients like potassium, fibre and vitamin B6, these healthy fats eliminate saturated fats and therefore reduce the calorie content of recipes. Both banana and avocado have nearly the same consistency as butter at room temperature (when blended well) and give a creamy and subtle flavour, making it a great substitution for heavy butter. Use banana / avocado for a softer and chewier baked good!

Try – Avocado chocolate mousse


Swap whole eggs for egg whites

When baking anything

Quantity 1 whole egg = 2 egg whites

Egg whites are a great swap for people with high cholesterol since they have absolutely no fat and no cholesterol in them. Also a source of vitamins, minerals and protein, egg whites are an easy substitute when baking. Note – a combination of whole eggs and egg whites works best in baked goods.

Swap butter for prunes

When baking brownies + other dark baked goods

Quantity 1 cup butter = ¾ cup prunes + ¼ cup boiling water = 1 cup puree

Prunes have a high fibre, carbohydrates and antioxidant content. By substituting butter for prunes you can cut more than half the calories and fat in recipes. Chocolate based baking recipes are best for substituting in prunes because of their colouring and flavour. But don’t eat too much! Prunes are known to be a mild laxative.

Try – Chocolate brownie muffins


Swap reduced-fat peanut butter for natural peanut butter

When baking anything

Quantity 1 cup reduced-fat = 1 cup natural

We at Nimble HQ love the addition of peanut butter when baking and have found that reduced-fat versions can have more sugar and artificial additives than natural peanut butter. Containing only roasted peanuts, salt and oil, natural peanut butter (preferably unsalted) provides the same sweetness without the artificial extras.

Try – Peanut butter crispy rice treats