The vast majority of us enjoy baked goods. But while they taste terrific, most store-bought options aren’t as good for our bodies as they are for our taste buds. Fortunately, with healthier ingredients readily available, it’s easier than ever to make treats that taste great but won’t induce stomach aches, sluggishness and weight gain. Try these healthy baking substitutions and watch as your mood and appearance improves over time.
1) Coconut oil in place of vegetable oils like canola oil and soybean oil
The majority of vegetable oils on the market today are highly processed, cause inflammation and contain bad-for-you trans fats that increase your risk of obesity, cancer and heart disease. Coconut oil is different. It contains good-for-you fatty acids, can help burn fat and increase energy levels, and contains lauric acid (which can kill off bad bacteria and fight infections).
2) Dates in place of processed white sugar
A 100% natural, unrefined sweetener, dates offer outstanding flavour. Medjool dates are ideal as they’re very moist and an excellent source of vitamin B6 and healthful minerals. Soak in hot water until they’re soft then puree to create an infinitely superior sweetener.
3) Unsweetened applesauce instead of butter
Applesauce creates sweeter, spongier baked goods. To get the conversion right, start by replacing a bit of butter for a bit of applesauce (eg. for a recipe that calls for a cup of butter, try ½ a cup of applesauce with ½ a cup of butter). If that works for you, feel free to increase the amount of applesauce and decrease the amount of butter in future.
4) Raw cacao instead of milk chocolate
Conventional milk chocolate contains high fructose corn syrup and artificial colours and flavours. Conversely, raw cacao doesn’t contain additives. It’s made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, which preserves the living enzymes in the cocoa while removing the fat found in the cacao butter. Raw cacao boasts a long list of health benefits including protecting the nervous system and reducing blood pressure and risk of stroke.