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Healthy Alternatives for Baking Ingredients

Updated on May 22, 2014

When searching for recipes you may often come across delicious-looking photographs that draw you in. However, when you take a look at the recipe you are bombarded with a list full of ingredients that are bad for you. Most cake recipes online have the same amount of sugar as plain white flour. Seeing these large amounts of sugar scares me!

Cake is delicious, but is it worth the extra pounds around your hips? As well as the damage it is doing to your body which you can not see?

What if I told you, you could have your cake and eat it, all the while ingesting nutritiously packed foods? And not just cake, you could take your favourite dinner recipe and replace the processed foods with raw or nutritious foods. Once you know what you can substitute, living a healthier lifestyle becomes easy.

Here is a list of day-to-day substitutions which I personally use.

My peanut butter, cacao smoothie topped with healthy brownie pieces.
My peanut butter, cacao smoothie topped with healthy brownie pieces.

Chocolate or Chocolate Flavouring Substitutions:

Chocolate is almost everyone’s weakness, but most chocolate on the market barely has any cocoa content in it and instead has lots of sugar and milk. Raw/dark chocolate is actually an antioxidant in its purest form. If you like a nibble of chocolate now and then, aim to buy dark chocolate with a cocoa percentage of 70% and higher; the higher the percentage the less sugar or other ingredients within the product.

When baking with chocolate, substitute melted chocolate or cocoa powder with raw cacao. Cacao is the raw form of chocolate and is packed with antioxidants as well as iron and magnesium. Unlike cocoa powder it does not have any sugar or fillers. A small amount of cacao powder used in cake, smoothies or other desserts will give a strong rich flavour. Cacao powder can also be used to make a healthy alternative of hot chocolate. I buy my raw cacao powder from Sevenhills Organics on Amazon.

White Sugar Substitutions:

If you are looking to lose weight, you should be reducing your intake of white sugar as much as possible. Ways to do this include using natural sources of sugar, such as raw honey, agave nectar and plant based sweeteners. When baking or making smoothies, dates can also be used as a natural sweetener. All sugars are not bad for you; do not fall for the common misconception that eating too much fruit makes you fat. The type of sugar in fruit is fructose, which accompanied by the fibre in fruit is digested easily. Fruit is the fasted food type to move through your body. Therefore it will only ferment into fat when you have eaten slower digesting foods prior to fruit, because it gets stuck behind these foods.

My yoghurt, blueberry, protein oat muffins.
My yoghurt, blueberry, protein oat muffins.

Plain White Flour Substitutions:

There are many alternatives for plain white flour in baking, depending on your dietary needs. Personally when baking bread, I use a wholewheat, brown flour as it is less processed with more fibre. Higher fibre content means it will pass through your system faster, therefore you don't feel as bloated and your body does not ferment foods stuck in your system and turn them into fat. However, for baking desserts or cakes other flours such as almond, coconut, or buckwheat are a much healthier option. Buckwheat is a gluten free option for those who live a gluten free lifestyle. Also whole or ground oats are great for baking cakes or breakfast muffins, to give you strength for the day. Oats also aid in lowering your cholesterol levels. If you like to make pizza at home you could try the cauliflower method for a wheat free, carb free base. This method is not one I have personally tried but it can be found online.

Butter Substitutions:

Coconut oil can be used as a healthy alternative to butter. There are many nutritious values to coconut oil. It helps to maintain body parts such as your liver, skin and hair and compared to many other oils, coconut oil is very low in calories so it is great to use if you are trying to lose weight. Coconut oil is more expensive than butter, but it can be used for so many things, including keeping your teeth healthy or moisturising. Here is a link to the product I use:


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    • mgeorge1050 profile image


      4 years ago from West Georgia

      Nice article. My wife and I are trying to start using honey as a sweetener in some of our foods. Not only are we eliminating some harmful white sugar from our diets, we are adding in more healthy, local honey.


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