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Healthy Baking Substitutes

Check out these healthy baking substitutes to help make those shorts fit a little easier by the time summer rolls around.

Use Carob instead of Chocolate Chips

Carob is an all-natural, gluten and caffeine free substitute to using chocolate in all your favorite recipes. Carob is native to the Mediterranean, it was originally used in ancient Greece as a sweetener made from the pulp of the Carob tree. Carob is packed with nutrients, it contains about three times as much calcium as cocoa. Carob does not contain caffeine or theobromine, making your sweets stimulant-crash free. It’s available in powder, chips, and syrup and easily substitutes as a 1:1 for chocolate, making it a simple switch for a healthy impact. Plus, Carob is pet safe, so if Fido sneaks a taste there’s no need to rush to the vet.

Carob Chip Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup Chatfield’s Date Sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Chatfield’s Carob Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or spray cookie sheets. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. With a mixer beat butter, date sugar, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup carob chips. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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Use avocado instead of butter

Butter is a staple of baking. But at 102 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 82mg of sodium per Tablespoon, recipes that call for 2+ sticks of butter easily begin to add up. Avocado is an excellent healthy alternative and makes a great addition to brownies or cookies. Compared to butter, fresh avocado is only 25 calories and 2 grams of fat per Tablespoon. It is also sodium and cholesterol free. Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats – this helps to lower bad cholesterol and decrease belly fat while reducing your calorie intake. Plus, it adds a great taste and texture to brownies or cookies and packs in nutrients that help clear your skin and keep your skin and nails healthy and strong.

Avocado Brownies


  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a blender or food processor combine avocado, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add these ingredients to a large bowl and whisk in eggs. Add in coconut flour, cocoa powder, sea salt and baking soda and stir until well-combined. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with coconut oil and add batter. Place in oven to bake for 25 minutes (slightly less for fudgier brownies or slightly longer for more cake-like brownies). Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into 16 brownies. Keep them on the counter in an airtight container at room-temperature for up to 2 days or for a longer shelf-life store in the fridge or freezer.

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Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream

Choose Greek Yogurt in your next recipe instead of sour cream and you will be rewarded with higher protein and less sugar while the texture and creaminess remains the same. Greek Yogurt can also be substituted for sour cream in dips and salad dressings, and can be used on baked potatoes for a healthier dish. Greek Yogurt offers calcium, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B6 and B12. It also contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose, which makes greek yogurt easier to digest. Great for those who may be lactose sensitive or who suffer from IBS. An average serving of greek yogurt even contains 12-17 grams of protein. 

Note: Whole-milk greek yogurt is better for baking substitutions because the texture will be closest to sour cream. However, when using it in dips consider using low-fat greek yogurt for an even healthier option.

Berry Cobbler Pie Bars

For the crust and topping:

  • Zest of two lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled butter (3 sticks), cut into cubes

For the berry filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 6 cups fresh berries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Zest the two lemons. Combine the lemon zest, sugar, flour, salt, and butter in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Beat the ingredients on medium speed until the mixture looks dry and crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crust mixture to use as the topping. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan (you will really have to work at it, but it will evenly cover the bottom of the pan). Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, until it is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes while you make the filling. To make the filling, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar, yogurt, flour, and salt. Gently fold in the berries. Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust. You may have to distribute the berries evenly around. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly over the filling. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Cool for 1 hour before slicing. Store the bars in the refrigerator.

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Use Cashew Butter Instead of Peanut Butter

Tired of the hidden added sugars and taste of regular peanut butter? Cashew Butter is packed with protein, contains less fat than other nut butters, and includes high levels of important nutrients like phosphorus, iron and folate – excellent for your heart and immune health. It also supplies a small amount of every essential amino acid. One Tablespoon of cashew butter also contains 10 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium—this helps neurological, metabolic, and immune system function. Cashew butter contains no cholesterol and is essentially sodium free. Cashew butter adds a great taste to vegetables, curry dishes, sauces, and baked goods.

Paleo Vegan Cashew Butter Cookies


  • 1 (16 oz.) jar creamy cashew butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 chia eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (You can generously grease the pan with coconut oil, if you prefer.) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and stir well until a sticky dough is formed. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using, and then drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your fingers (getting them wet helps prevent sticking) to gently press the dough down into a cookie-shape, as these cookies only spread slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Use Agave Nectar Instead of Table Sugar

Agave nectar is a natural, vegan alternative to honey or table sugar. It is extracted from the plant Agave rebaudiana. It has been traditionally used in Brazil and Paraguay for hundreds of years to sweeten teas. Agave nectar touts a low glycemic index (GI), about five times lower than table sugar. Foods with a higher GI spike blood sugar and insulin after consumption and are digested quickly, causing hunger sooner. This can be problematic for those who have diabetes. Agave is a lot more calorie dense than table sugar, but it is much sweeter so less is needed to achieve the same effect. A general rule is to use 30% less, or 2/3 the amount and when baking reduce other liquids by 25% or 1/4.

Banana-Coconut Dairy Free Ice Cream


  • 8 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup melted coconut meat, such as coconut butter or coconut manna
  • ½ cup “lite” coconut milk
  • ¼ cup agave syrup or honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted, plus more for garnish

Peel bananas and cut into quarters. Freeze in an airtight container until completely frozen, at least overnight. Place frozen banana pieces, coconut meat, coconut milk agave (or honey), and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add shredded coconut and pulse once or twice just to combine. Serve immediately as soft ice cream, garnished with coconut (if desired). Or transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before scooping.

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Use Whole Wheat Flour Instead of White Flour

White Flour is heavily refined and bleached, it is so empty a synthetically created vitamin and mineral pack needs to be added to enrich it for human consumption. Whole wheat flour is a much healthier, nutrient dense option for baking. Whole wheat flour adds in extra fiber to aid in digestion and has been shown to have beneficial effects for combating diabetes and colon cancer, and helps to lower the risk of heart disease. Dietary fiber is an important difference between white flour and whole wheat. Not only does it prevent serious diseases, it also prevents constipation and can assist in weight loss.

Whole Wheat Pancakes


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots; don’t over-mix. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Lightly spray oil to coat and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter. When the pancake starts to bubble, you may add your fruit if you wish. When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. Makes 14 pancakes.

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