Choosing healthy alternatives can help you cut down on sugar, saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol without missing out on taste. Consuming healthy options will help you sustain your body with healthy and nutritious food. There are simple ways to make small choices when you are baking that will make a significant impact and add up to a healthier lifestyle.
What are Healthy Alternatives
Healthy alternatives involve substituting less healthy ingredients for healthier ones. The food you consume has a direct impact on your overall health and well being. By choosing healthy alternatives when baking, you can avoid several health problems because you are consuming foods that are high in good nutrients. For example, fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, miners, and fibers, as well as low in fat and calories. When you eat more fruits and vegetables, you will have less problems with your weight as well as lowering your risk for infectious diseases. Fruits and vegetables are vitamin-rich foods that boost your immune system, which in turn makes you at lower risk for contracting a cold, flu, or other diseases.
Below are some healthy alternatives when baking:
Did you know that by replacing your white flour with whole wheat flours, it will add 10 grams of heart-healthy fiber to your baking? Some other alternatives to white flour include:
- Acts similar to white flour when baking
- Hold its shape
- Does have a strong nutty taste that will work in some recipes but not in others
- Packed with protein and also adds fiber, selenium and B vitamins to your baking
Brown Rice Flour
- Made by finely grinding brown rice
- Similar texture to white flour and can easily be used in baked goods
- Made by grinding almonds
- Great substitute in baking; nuts add a lot of healthy fats, protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E
- Best if used in cookies or brownies
- Made from dried and ground coconut pulp
- High in fiber, protein and easier to digest than white flour.
- Glycemic index makes it a good option for those with diabetes.
- Finely ground raw quinoa seeds
- High in protein
- Used when baking muffins, bread or making pancakes
- Good alternative for people who can’t have wheat
Sugar is the foundation of baked goods. However, consuming high levels of sugar can lead to weight gain, heart disease, or diabetes. When baking, you should look for a healthier alternative to white sugar by choosing natural substitutes that are “real” food.
Some examples of alternatives to white sugar:
- Similar to honey contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals along with lots of antioxidants that white sugar does not have.
- Substitute sugar ¾ cup of maple syrup using ¾ cup for every 1 cup of sugar in a recipe and also reduce the amount of liquid by three tablespoons.
Coconut Palm Sugar
- It is used to replace white sugar at a one to one ratio.
- Less processed and has a lower glycemic index than white sugar.
- Which means your body can process it more easily.
- As sweet as white sugar and has a nice tropical flavor that is perfect for your baked goods.
- By product of the sugar-cane refining process
- Rich in iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and potassium
- Thick and gooey but not too sweet
- Perfect for baking
Many people call oil one of the most calorically dense foods on earth. Oil also contains very little in the way of nutrients. Choose to cut out oil in your baking to eat a more whole and unprocessed diet.
Some healthy alternatives to oil to use in your baking:
- Fat-free, full of fiber and has significantly less calories than oil
- Substitute for oil at a one-to-one ratio
- Tastes good
- Replace oil or butter by using half the amount of apple sauce as the amount used in the recipe
- Perfect for cakes, cookies, muffins and quick breads
- Good source of Vitamin B6 and potassium
- Ideal consistency when using in place of butter or oil
- Best if used in recipes for cookies, brownies, pancakes, and muffins
- Mild taste that won’t interfere with baked goods
- High in fiber and Vitamins, K, B, B-5, B-6, and E
- Use same amount of mashed avocado to what the recipes call for butter or oil
Choose Natural Food Coloring
When baking cakes or cookies, it is essential to stay away from artificial food colouring. Food colouring contains compounds like 4-aminobinpenyl and benzidine. Research has shown a link between these compounds with cancer. Food colouring has also been linked to causing learning impairment, allergies, and hyperactivity in children.
Titanium is a food additive that is found in candies, chewing gum, and other sweets. It is also used in some chocolate to give it a smooth texture and doughnuts to provide color in texture.
However, it is most commonly found in your personal care products like toothpaste and sunscreen. In titanium dioxide, the nanoparticle size is toxic and carcinogenic to the body when inhaled. It also runs the risk of causing chronic inflammation and cellular instability. That’s why more research must be done to find alternatives for titanium dioxide. This is why it is important find alternatives for titanium dioxide.
Natural food colours from fruits such as beets, turmeric, carrots, strawberries are a healthy option for producing colour in your baked good. They are safer, healthier, and can add an enhance the flavor of your baked goods.
Natural food colouring options:
- The juice or pulp provides a rich yellow or orange
- High in beta-carotene and a good source of potassium and fiber
- Sweetish flavor makes it an ideal food colour for pastries and desserts
- The juice of a beet adds a pink hue to baked goods
- Beets are good sources of folate, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants
- Their sweet flavor won’t impact your baking
- When boiled in water, the juice adds a blue color to your baked goods
- Rich in antioxidants like anthocyanin’s and indoles are extremely valuable for human health
- Doesn’t have much flavor so it works in everything from cakes to frosting
- Add a greenish color when baking
- Spinach is rich in Vitamins A, B2, C and K. It also contains magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.
- Mild flavor makes them the perfect natural food colour
Berries and Cherries
- Berries contain high levels of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals roaming the body while also boosting the immune system and killing off bacteria
- Use blackberries of blueberries to get purple or violet shades
- Use strawberries, raspberries and cherries for red hues
A Final Note
There are many reasons to choose healthy alternatives when you’re baking. The main reason is the fact that the foods we choose to consume has a direct impact on your overall health and well-being.