Sweet treats don’t always have to be filled with refined sugar and flour; keep reading to discover my top three healthy baking substitutes. I’ll show you how to substitute refined flour for gluten free grains, swap refined sugar for a zero calorie healthy sweetener and bake delicious sweets without eggs.
You can find all of this information, and so much more, in my cookbook Healthy Dairy Free Desserts.
Healthy Baking Substitutes Number 1: Gluten
Gluten is a sticky grain protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It sticks to the cilia in your intestines making it difficult for your body to absorb essential vitamins and nutrients. Not everyone is sensitive to gluten; however, refined white flour offers absolutely no nutritional value so it’s not a bad idea to try baking with gluten free whole grains.
Gluten Free Meals
If you are looking for savory gluten free meals you can turn to natural whole grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat and brown rice. Below are some of my favorite gluten free meals.
Raw Pad Thai is full of fresh veggies and kelp noodles to give it a refreshing crunch and is topped with a creamy sauce. It is much tastier than the Pad Thai you would find in a restaurant and it is vegan and peanut free! The base is made up of kelp noodles which are a fun alternative to regular rice noodles and they have some amazing health benefits.
If you are looking for a filling meal that is vegan and dairy free look no further. Veggie Goodness Grain Bowl is so delicious that even meat lovers will be left without room for dessert. The raw veggies are refreshing, the nuts, seeds and crispy tofu provide a protein crunch and the creamy dressing just puts it over the top. Have some fun with the recipe by mixing up the veggies, grains, nuts and seeds with whatever you have on hand. This amazing vegan meal will leave you feeling satisfied and bursting with energy.
Curry Kale Quinoa Salad is a vibrant meal bursting with exciting flavors. The kale in this salad is massaged with Creamy Curry Dressing that gets its curry flavor from turmeric and cumin. The marinated onions and sundried tomatoes add a tangy element that is offset by sweet raisins and carrots. The celery, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds add a satisfying crunch and the optional goat’s cheese adds a luxurious creaminess.
Gluten Free Desserts
Gluten free flours like almond, brown rice and coconut flour are a great alternatives to wheat flour when you are baking. Gluten free flours are really easy to find in regular grocery stores, health food stores or on-line. Organic Brown Rice flour is perfect in the Delicious Gluten Free Cookies I made by following Mandy’s recipe. Alternatively, you can grind your own gluten free flour by grinding whole grains in a Vitamix grain mill container, a coffee grinder (in very small batches!) or a grain mill.
The Delicious Gluten Free Cookies by Mandy at Healthy Eating and Living are soft, moist and delicious. They are made with brown rice and quinoa flour and naturally sweetened with apple sauce and maple syrup. They get a yummy chocolaty flavor from chocolate chips and the blueberries add a burst of fruity flavor. Follow the link for the full recipe along with some fun add ins and flour options!
Healthy Baking Substitutes Number 2: Sugar
Sugar puts the body in an acidic state because it is void of minerals. This causes the body to pull minerals from the bones to neutralize the acidity caused by the sugar. Sugar also contributes to obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Stevia Sweetened Desserts
My favorite natural sweetener is stevia which is a sweet herb that has zero calories and zero Glycemic Index. Stevia doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels and actually decreases insulin resistance. Stevia is super sweet and is a little more difficult to use as a substitute because 1 teaspoon of stevia can be substituted for 1 cup sugar which means you have to play around with the dry proportions in the recipe. My favorite recipes that are sweetened with stevia are below.
Raw Lemon Cheesecake is creamy and luscious with hint of tart sourness from the lemons. The base is a gluten free mix of almonds and coconut and the silky dairy free filling is made with lemons, cashew butter and sweetened with stevia.
If you are looking for a decadent protein packed treat these Vanilla Almond Protein Truffles are for you. They are delicious in a coat your mouth with rich chocolate almond buttery goodness kind of way. They contain ZERO calories from sugar because the stevia in the vanilla protein powder provides all the sweetness you need.
Other Healthy Baking Substitutes for Sugar
Maple syrup and honey are also good choices for sweeteners because they contain minerals and therefore will not create an acidic state in your body. Coconut sugar is a better alternative to white sugar because it has a lower glycemic index value and can be substituted one for one in most recipes. Apple sauce and date paste are good sweeteners because they are both high in fiber which slows down the release of sugar into your blood stream so you don’t get a sugar spike. Mandy’s Delicious Gluten Free Cookies are sweetened with apple sauce and maple syrup making them an excellent choice. But remember, sugar is still sugar even though it is in a healthier form so you should enjoy it within moderation.
Healthy Baking Substitutes Number 3: Eggs
Eggs are a very common allergen which can be found in the majority of baked goods and other packaged products. Non-organic eggs contain hormones and antibiotics which adversely affect our health and wellbeing. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, so if you don’t have a problem digesting eggs I suggest you buy organic eggs to avoid the hormones and antibiotics.
Healthy Baking Substitutes for Eggs
For those sensitive to eggs or following a vegan diet you can use a flax or chia egg. All you have to do is mix 1 Tbsp of freshly ground flax or chia seeds with 3 Tbsp warm water and let it sit for a couple minutes to gel. This mixture can be substituted one for one for eggs in most recipes with no additional changes required. Flax and chia seeds also have the added bonus of being high in Omega 3s. I like to use flax or chia eggs in my cookie recipes because that way I can enjoy the cookie dough worry free. I like to bake half of the dough into cookies and roll the rest into balls and enjoy them as raw cookie dough balls. Who doesn’t love cookie dough!?
Butterscotch Scone Cookies are dense, chewy and not too sweet. Have you ever bought the little two bite triangle butterscotch chip scones from the grocery store? Well, these cookies are a healthier version of those yummy little scones – hence the name Scone Cookies.