Healthy Alternatives When Baking or Cooking

by Molly Kunde, Mayo Clinic Dietetic Intern

apple_chips_with_goat_cheese_dipWith the holiday season growing near, many of you might be doing a little extra baking or cooking than normal. The recipes may not be the healthiest. But here are a few ways you can make your typical recipe a little bit healthier.

~Substitute applesauce or mashed banana for ½ the amount of oil, butter or margarine called for (ex: recipe calls for 1 cup butter: use ½ cup butter and ½ cup unsweetened applesauce).

~Use rolled oats or crushed bran cereal instead of dry bread crumbs (1:1).

~Use Neufchâtel or purée low-fat cottage cheese until it is a smooth texture in place of cream cheese (1:1).

~Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream (1:1; Greek yogurt is a better bang for your buck).

~Use ½ the amount of sugar called for and add a little vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon.

~Replace the sugar with applesauce (1:1; for every 1 cup applesauce used, reduce the liquid by ¼ cup).

~Using 1 cup of mini morsels instead of 2 cups of chocolate chips is an easy way to cut back the calories.

~Replace butter with puréed avocado (1:1).

~Substitute puréed pumpkin for oil (1:1).

sweet-potato-pumpkin-pie~Use whole-wheat flour in place of regular flour; whole-wheat flour is more nutritionally rich.

~If you choose to go with a cake mix, you can use a can of diet soda in place of the oil and egg.

~When making a pie crust, instead of mixing graham crackers with butter, pulse 10 honey graham cracker sheets in a food processor. Add 2 tbsp. of low-fat milk and process for another 30 seconds.

~It doesn’t hurt to cut back the sugar by 25%. The final product turns out just the same.

~To replace 1 egg in a recipe, soak 1 tbsp. chia seeds in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. (This would work best in a recipe such as meatloaf or meatballs.)

Enjoy your Holiday Season and Happy Baking!