Who DOESN’T love holiday baking? Or, even, baking in general? The nostalgic smell of something baking probably fills your soul with happiness.
That being said, those sweet treats can be filling your body with processed, damaging, and inflammatory ingredients. So, in the spirit of the holidays, there is a happy, sugar plum solution!
(And, the best part is, no one will know you’ve made the swap!)
Here are baking alternatives you may consider trying when recreating your favorite recipes. Of course, these are MY favorite alternatives. In order to know which is best for your wellness, reach out to me OR speak with your wellness practitioner.
Just remember, even though you are making better ingredient choices, it is still important to enjoy your baking in moderation after a well balanced meal!
Sugar, in all forms – cane sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, corn syrup, and organic varieties -can raise blood glucose levels and insulin levels. Insulin can increase hunger and store digested sugars in the liver or in fat cells. Excess amounts of added sugar from baked items, condiments, drinks, or packaged items can increase the risk for weight gain, obesity, inflammation, joint pain, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, increased signs of aging, and kidney disease, to name a few.
Here are some healthier alternatives. Instead of white sugar, try equal parts of …
Coconut Sugar. This is STILL sugar but has more minerals like potassium and magnesium.
Raw, organic sugar. This is STILL sugar but is not bleached like white sugar.
For a non-sugar option, try ….
Stevia. Conversions will vary depending on which stevia option you choose.
Monkfruit. Usually granulated monkfruit is the same measurement as sugar.
Applesauce. For each CUP of applesauce, reduce the OTHER liquid like oil or melted butter by ¼ cup (or eliminate altogether!)
Pureed dates. Usually, 1 pitted date is about 2 tsp of sugar. You may need to test the recipe out and adjust for future.
White flour, a refined wheat product, lacks the fiber, folate, and B vitamins, as compared to its whole grain version. Similar to sugar, white flour reeks havoc on the body. White flour causes inflammation, possible impaired gut health, weight gain, heart disease, can effect mood changes, and can effect those with IBS, gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease.
Here are some options to consider. For each 1 cup of white flour, sub in ⅞ cups of …
Chickpea flour. You may need to add more liquid because chickpea flour contains fiber, which soaks up liquid. I usually add 1.5x the amount of liquid called for in my recipe.
Almond flour. As this is heavier/denser than wheat flour, add it slowly and add 1/2 teaspoon MORE baking soda or powder (whatever your recipe calls for) per cup of almond flour you add.
Teff Flour. An ancient grain.
Amaranth Flour. A complete protein.
Organic Whole Wheat Flour .
Processed OATS or OAT flour. See the note about chickpea flour.
Coconut flour. THIS DOES TASTE LIKE COCONUT so it may NOT be the best to swap into savory dishes. Sweet dishes will be okay if you like the flavor of coconut.
And, to bind all those ingredients, usually baking recipes call for fats like vegetable oil, and non-organic butter. These may cause inflammation, weight gain, elevated blood lipid levels, and oxidative stress. FURTHERMORE, if these oils are not cold pressed, they were likely processed using hexane gas, a carcinogen. Always look for COLD PRESSED or EXPELLER pressed options.
Here are some alternatives to try. Equal parts of …
Melted organic, grass fed butter.
Melted organic, unrefined coconut oil.
Pureed black beans.
With the growing popularity of vegan lifestyles, eggs are also an ingredient you may consider swapping out. Of course, this is not something that I recommend without reason. BUT, if you are vegan, you may try these options. For one egg, substitute …
Chia seeds. Mix 1 tbsp chia seeds with 8-9 tbsp water. After it sits for about 15-20 minutes, it will become like a gel.
Ground Flax. Mix1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water and let sit 10-15 minutes.