Healthier Alternatives to Common Cooking and Baking Ingredients

Did you know that you can substitute these 6 common cooking and baking ingredients with these healthier alternatives?

Butter

Butter is delicious in meals, but these equally tasty and versatile substitutes are sure to be featuring in your dishes in no time.

  • Fruit puree using peaches, apples, pears or even pumpkin are useful to add sweetness and fibre while reducing calories and helps maintain a moist texture.
  • Cooking oil with heart-healthy fats such as olive, coconut or canola oil reduces usage of saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium when cooking, but take care to avoid a greasy texture in some baked goods and consider the variety of flavours the oils might add to your food.
  • Infused oils such as truffle oil, lemon oil or garlic infused oil can add a great element to dishes with that extra flavour.
  • Avocados have fiber, potassium and vitamin K properties and can be used as replacements in breakfast spreads as well as in baking.

 

Sugar

Maple syrup and honey are the first alternatives that may spring to mind, however, there are a few other great alternatives with a variety of other benefits that could be useful to your dish.

  • Molasses, extracted from sugar cane during the refining process is a great alternative to sugar as it is rich in zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium, potassium and a vegan source of iron. Despite these great properties, be aware of the high fructose levels.
  • Stevia has no carbs or calories, doesn’t raise blood sugar and is a low glycemic alternative.
  • Xylitol has few calories, does not rot your teeth, and like Stevia, does not raise glucose levels which means it’s good for diabetics.
  • Brown Rice syrup is a useful alternative if you are following a FODMAP diet as it contains no fructose.
  • Date sugar has a high potassium and antioxidant content and is a suitable alternative to brown sugar with its clumpier texture.
  • Lo Han (Monkfruit) has been used in China for centuries and is high in antioxidants while possessing no calories.

 

Eggs

The following are some handy vegan alternatives to eggs:

  • ORGRAN No Egg™ Egg Replacer lets you create quality cakes and baked goods with similar texture to those with eggs.
  • Applesauce or banana is useful for baked goods, simply substitute ¼ cup for 1 egg.
  • Pumpkin, when 1/3 cup is cooked and mashed it can be used to replace 1 egg. It is helpful to bind and moisten the dish.
  • A tablespoon of Flax Seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water are a healthy omega fatty acids alternative to 1 egg.
  • Chia seeds are also a healthy omega fatty acid alternative and great source of protein, with 1 tablespoon mixed in 3 tablespoons of water equivalent to replacing 1 egg.

 

Oil

Just like egg and butter alternatives, applesauce and banana puree are great replacements for oil particularly when baking. Use ¾ to 1 cup for every 1 cup of oil.

Other alternatives to olive oil:

  • Flax seed oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids, often found in fish.
  • Grapeseed oil possess properties known to be able to lower cholesterol.
  • With sesame oil a little bit goes a long way for flavour. This helpful substitute has a lowering effect on blood pressure.
  • The increasingly popular coconut oil with its many uses other than cooking has a variety of vitamin E, K and iron which is retained at high temperatures.

 

Salt

These are some great ways to enhance your dish without salt:

  • Onions and garlic are useful for a deeper flavour and works great in vegan and vegetarian dishes.
  • Herbs and spices are great to enhance any dish, particularly with rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika or no-salt chilli seasoning, to name a few.
  • Lemon, lime, orange or other citrus juices or zests can liven up the taste of many dishes. Often food requires acid, not salt, so citrus is perfect to adjust this.
  • Vinegar is versatile for many dishes, try out these varieties for your next meals; white vinegar, balsamic, apple cider, red or white wine vinegars.
  • Chillies or peppers are great to wake up your dish and helps to replicate a high seasoned dish.

 

Cream

These following alternatives are all vegan and great to include in many recipes.

  • Coconut cream is a suitable substitute for heavy cream while avocado can assist in providing an alternative creaminess to dishes.
  • Cashew cream possesses a natural sweetness which can be helpful with dessert recipes or to liven up a savoury dish.
  • Silken tofu is versatile to blend into savoury and sweet recipes.
  • Pureed cannellini beans are very similar consistency to dairy with little flavour, so most people will not know substitute was used.