Healthier baking substitutes

Who doesn’t love a piece of cake or a fresh baked cookie once in a while? I am never going to be th person to tell anyone they can’t enjoy dessert or any other food group because I simply don’t believe that deprivation works. Think about it, if I tell you not to look at the big blue elephant in the room where is your focus going to go immediately? To the big blue elephant right? In the same way, if I tell you you can’t eat something, you are going to want that very thing with everything in you and it will trip you up. So I have never believed in deprivation, but what I do believe in is moderation! Anything in moderation, right?!

Amen to that!

But what you do need to have is knowledge. Being fit is all about science, there is no magic involved. What comes into our body for calories must be burned off during all of our collective activities throughout the course of the day or it will be stored somewhere on our bodies usually as fat. So if dessert is your thing and it will make you feel rewarded in some way, eat a dessert that will be healthier, a reasonable sized piece, and alter the other things you eat throughout the day. For example, I like something sweet after I eat my lunch, so I limit my carbs a lot and eat a salad with a lite balsamic dressing (dressing is

important - there’s a lot of hidden calories and fat here) and a protein like chicken or hard-boiled egg on top and save some calories for my dessert. Baking your own desserts is the best way to know what is in them and to limit the calories, sugars and fat. Remember, having both self control and commitment are important when trying to reach your fitness goals.

When I bake, I tend to substitute any recipe for healthier ingredients. I don’t alter the entire recipe, but I alter the ingredients that are not so healthy for healthier alternatives such as sugars and fats. Below are the ways I alter many of my baking recipes. My family doesn’t even know when I alter the recipe because usually the result is similar with only minor differences.

Healthier sugar substitutes (that taste good):

1 cup sugar: 3⁄4 cup honey; 1 cup coconut sugar; 3⁄4 cup pure maple syrup; 1 1⁄3 cup molasses; 2⁄3 date syrup

**Stevia is also a good option for anyone drastically looking to cut sugar (it has no calories) and if you’re a diabetic or have any other health condition you should use a different kind of sugar substitute that does not cause a glycemic elevation inside the body.

Healthier flour substitute:

Almond flour - use it in a 1 to 1 ration (1 cup = 1 cup) or Oat flour (also 1 to 1 ratio) - you can make oat flour by putting oats in the food processor. Personally I do not like coconut flour or some of the other flour substitutes although some people do.

Healthier fat options:

Replace oil or butter with unsweetened applesauce (1 to 1 ratio) - this is my favorite replacement in cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and breakfast baked goods.

You can also use pumpkin, pureed beans (great in brownies), shredded zucchini (squeezed - great in chocolate dishes), neufatchel cheese (if butters or lards need to be cut in use neufatchel or a vegan cream cheese) or mashed banana. You would be surprised how delicious these replacements can be!

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