Baking can be a fun and delicious way to spend some time in the kitchen with your family. However, those tasty cookies and muffins often come at a price - many of the ingredients used in baking recipes aren't exactly known for being healthy. For example, sugar, butter, and white flour are staples in most baking recipes, but they certainly aren't good for your body.
Fortunately, there are some more nutritious substitutions you can make in your recipes without totally compromising on flavour. In this blog post, we will explore three healthy substitutes for baking that will help you pack a few more nutrients into your favourite baked goods. Let's get started!
Almond flour is made from almonds that have been boiled, ground, and sifted into a fine flour, and it is a much healthier substitute for the wheat varieties commonly called for in baking recipes. This is because almond flour is more nutrient-dense than the different varieties of wheat flour in general, as it contains more protein, healthy fats, and fibre. It also is rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help your body fight harmful free radicals. Free radicals can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, so you certainly want to ward off those as much as possible!
When substituting almond flour for white flour, use a one-to-one ratio. So, if a recipe calls for one cup of white flour, use one cup of almond flour instead. This substitution works best in recipes for cakes, muffins, and quick breads.
Coconut oil is known to have a wide variety of uses and benefits, but in baking it can be used as a healthier alternative to butter. This is due to the fact that it's a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are a type of saturated fat that is metabolized differently than the other types of saturated fat normally found in butter. See, MCTs go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used for energy or turned into ketones, which can have therapeutic effects on the brain. For example, research shows that ketones may help offset early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, which is a common cause of dementia.
If you want to swap out butter for coconut oil in a recipe, use three-quarters of a cup of coconut oil for every one cup of butter. You may find it works especially well in recipes for cookies, bars, and granola.
Last but not least, you may consider replacing refined sugar with honey if you're looking for a more nutritious option. This is because it contains a unique mix of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you just won't find in your average refined sugar. For example, honey contains small amounts of important nutrients such as iron and zinc. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. What can't honey do!
When substituting honey for sugar in a recipe, use about ¾ cup of honey for every one cup of sugar. You'll also want to reduce the amount of liquid called for in the recipe by ¼ cup, as honey is more moist than sugar. Try it in recipes for cakes, cookies, and quick breads for best results.
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