9 Sweet Baking Swaps to Make This Winter

For many of us, winter means cravings for comfort foods as we snuggle up on the couch.

The good news is you can reduce fat, sugar, and kilojoules without sacrificing flavour or giving up your favourite treat by making some simple ingredient swaps in pancakes, muffins, cookies and more. You’ll also boost nutrition, which is guaranteed to make your creations delicious and healthier hits.

Instead of this …           Try this
White flour Almond, whole wheat or spelt flour; beans
Sugar Unsweetened applesauce, banana
Butter, margarine, oils Coconut oil, banana, avocado
Cocoa powder Cacao

Almond Flour
Almond flour is one of my favourites. It’s high in protein as well as many vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t contain gluten so baked goods need to be tweaked a bit. A simple Google search will turn up plenty of recipes. I love using almond flour in my weekend pancakes!

Whole Wheat Flour
You can swap whole wheat for white flour in just about everything you make. Whole wheat flour adds a nuttier taste and texture along with more fibre. The less-stripped-down, less-processed product equals a more wholesome treat. For every 1 cup of white flour in the recipe, use 1 cup of whole wheat flour minus 2 tablespoons. I typically replace about 50 percent of the white flour to keep texture closer to the original, but you can swap all of the flour in the recipe. Boost your next pizza with this easy swap.

Spelt Flour
Spelt flour has a slightly nutty and sweet taste similar to whole wheat flour. While spelt is botanically related to wheat, it keeps nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, and vitamin B3 protected in its hull. Spelt contains gluten so it’s not appropriate for anyone with celiac disease. However, many people who are sensitive to gluten report much better tolerance to spelt. Because it contains gluten, it’s a great swap for all-purpose flour. It’s one of my favourite choices for breads.

It sounds crazy, but today you can find LOTS of recipes swapping beans for flour. It’s a great way to eliminate gluten and cut down on carbohydrates as well as get a boost of protein.

Unsweetened Applesauce
Using applesauce in place of sugar is an awesome way to cut down on extra kilojoules without sacrificing sweetness. One cup of applesauce is only 418 kilojoules and 23 grams of sugar compared to more than 2929 kilojoules and 200 grams in 1 cup of sugar. Try the swap in your next morning muffin.

Coconut Oil
Quick energy, fat metabolism, antioxidant booster and more. There are lots of reasons to include coconut oil in your diet. To really reap the benefits nutritionally, choose unrefined virgin coconut oil. In cooking, it’s a really simple swap. Replace coconut oil 1:1 for butter and oils. The taste change is minimal. Add it to your next prerun breakfast for a running boost.

Another healthy fat swap is using avocado instead of butter. It gives you a boost of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which you don’t get from butter and most oils. The beauty of avocado is that, when pureed, it has about the same consistency as butter, making it a perfect 1:1 swap.

I love replacing ripe banana for sweetness, fats – or both. You can skip all of the butter by mashing up banana and using it 1:1. Feel free to cut back on the sugar, too, if the bananas are extra ripe. An extra bonus is getting potassium, fibre, and vitamin B6. Try a batch of homemade energy bars for quick, healthy snacking.

Cacao is a less-processed (essentially “raw”) version of cocoa. Studies that support the health-boosting properties of chocolate are primarily talking about cocoa. Choosing raw cocoa allows you to retain enzymes, fibre, antioxidants, magnesium, and iron thanks to the cold-pressed processing technique. You can buy cacao as nibs (swap for chocolate chips or throw into a smoothie) or powder. Give your next batch of granola an antioxidant boost.

How are you boosting your baking?


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