This for That Natural Peanut Butter instead of Reduced Fat Peanut Butter Baking Hacks1

This for That – Healthy Baking Substitutions

Would you like to create healthier, lower-calorie desserts without sacrificing flavor? Try some of our favorite healthy baking substitutions!

1. Avocado pureed or mashed instead of butter

Avocados are full of essential nutrients and healthy fats that should be incorporated into any diet. They are particularly high in potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. It may take some experimenting when it comes to using avocados in your baking recipes, but when you get it right you will be sure to love it! To avoid your cakes from raising too high in the center (or even concaving), try reducing your oven temperature by about 25 percent. You may also need to increase your baking time. Best for: Cakes, cookies, muffins Conversion: Reduce your intake of unhealthy calories and fats by substituting half the amount of butter with mashed or pureed avocado. Try with: 

2. Natural peanut butter instead of reduced fat peanut butter

Just because food manufacturers may slap a “reduced fat” or “low calorie” label on their product doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a healthier choice. What it usually means is that additional, often harmful, amounts of sugar and/or sodium have been added to boost flavor. While natural peanut butter may still be relatively high in calories, it is also a great source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s also loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated or “good” fat. Best for: Any recipe that calls for peanut butter! Conversion: For healthier peanut butter treats, use equal parts of natural peanut butter rather than reduced-fat peanut butter. For added sweetness, you may also try adding a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract. Try with: 


3. Canned pumpkin instead of butter

Who says it has to be reserved for the holidays? It makes a great substitute for butter in many spiced baking recipes. Canned pumpkin is surprisingly loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and fiber. Best for: Spiced breads, cakes, cookies, muffins Conversion: Use equal amounts to replace some, if not all, of the amount of oil or butter called for in the recipe. Try with: 


4. Black beans instead of refined white flour

Refined (processed) white flour may be a staple in most of our diets, but it certainly isn’t good for our bodies. The great news is that there are many healthy alternatives to white flour. An idea to consider when baking is to swap out white flour for protein-rich black beans. Why is refined white flour a bad choice? Learn more about how to make better choices with Healthy Alternatives to White Flour on Best for: Brownies, cake, cookies Conversion: Use equal amounts, rinsed, cooked, drained, and pureed black beans instead of white flour. Try with: 


5. Chia seeds instead of eggs

Whole eggs are an excellent source of a variety of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and phosphorus. The potential problem is that they’re also notoriously high in cholesterol. Just one egg contains the recommended allotment of cholesterol for an entire day. If you are particularly concerned with your intake of cholesterol, a great baking alternative to whole eggs are chia seeds. Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, are healthy for the digestive tract, and are gluten and grain free. Best for: Cakes, cookies, muffins Conversion: Learn how to create chia seed egg substitute with’s method here. Try with: 


6. Purée soft or silken tofu instead of butter

Let’s face it—most of us would agree that butter is just plain delicious. The problem is that it is also high in many of the unhealthiest ingredients for our bodies. Whether you’re a vegan or would simply like to try a healthier sweet treat, pureed tofu is an excellent replacement for butter in many baking recipes. Best for: Brownies Conversion: Use your choice of either puree soft or silken tofu to replace half of the butter or oil in your brownie recipe. Try with: 


7. Cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips

You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of dark chocolate, but what about cacao nibs?Surprisingly, they are an even better choice! A few of the many vitamins and minerals found in cacao nibs include: fiber, iron, phenylethylamine (PEA), and oxalic acid. Like dark chocolate, they’re also high in antioxidants. For more information, check out the Huffington Post’s “Cacao Nibs: Even Better For You Than Dark Chocolate.” Best for: Breads, brownies, cookies, cakes, ice cream, muffins, pancakes (anything with chocolate chips!) Conversion: Use cacoa nibs in a one-to-one ratio to replace chocolate chips. Try with: 


8. Mashed banana instead of oil or butter

Bananas have a high enough fat content that they work very well as a substitute for oil or butter in many baked goods. Bananas are also naturally sweet, a great source of fiber and potassium, and are available at any time of the year. Mashed banana works best in recipes that are not meant to be fluffy or light, and does not pair well with citrus flavored desserts. Best for: Breads, cakes, cookies, muffins Conversion: Add creaminess and texture by using mashed banana as a substitute for part, if not all, of the fat in your baking recipes. Try with: 


9. Pure vanilla extract or honey instead of sugar

Reducing the amount of sugar in a recipe may be as simple as using liquid sugars such as vanilla extract or honey. The problem though, is that regular sugar does not only add sweetness to your desserts, but it also provides moisture. We recommend trying to cut your recipe’s amount of sugar by 25% and replacing it with a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or honey. Best for: Cakes, cookies, ice cream Conversion: Cut the recipe’s amount of sugar by up to half (try 25% first) and replace it with a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or honey. Try with: 


10. Prunes instead of butter

Prune puree is an excellent low-calorie and low-fat alternative to butter. Try using store bought baby food prune puree for added convenience. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can also puree the prunes yourself in a food processor by simply adding water. Prunes work well in more savory desserts containing cinnamon or chocolate. Best for: Brownies, chocolate cake Conversion: Try equal parts of pureed prunes to replace butter in your savory dessert recipes. Try with: 

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