3 Easy Tricks to Make Your Favorite Baked Goods Healthier

cookies_resizedThe holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean you left your love for baked goods under the Christmas tree. If you’re looking for ways to be healthier this year, here are three easy tricks to make your favorite baked goods a little healthier:

1. Decrease fat
Switch to egg whites. If a recipe calls for one whole egg, you can substitute with two egg whites. This will save you more than five grams of fat.

Use a fat replacer. If a recipe calls for butter or margarine, try using apple sauce instead. A quarter cup of butter has more than 400 calories and 45 grams fat, while a quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce has only about 25 calories and no fat. You can also use pureed spinach as a fat replacer; this works great in chocolate brownies.

2. Decrease sugar
Both Splenda®* and stevia sweeteners are heat-stable sugar substitutes and can be used in baked goods. One cup of sugar has about 770 calories, while stevia and Splenda® are both calorie-free. Both are more expensive than sugar, so try substituting half the sugar with either Splenda® or stevia.  If a recipe calls for brown sugar, trying using Splenda® mixed with sugar-free maple syrup.

3. Add fiber
In place of all-purpose flour, try using whole wheat flour. This will add both fiber and protein to the recipe.  One cup of all-purpose flour has only three grams of fiber, while whole grain flour has 15 grams of fiber per cup. Whole wheat flour does alter the texture of baked goods a little, so try using half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour at first.

Here’s an example of how to apply these tips:

Sugar cookies recipe
2 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup butter – change this to ½ cup applesauce and ½ cup butter
1 ½ cup sugar – change this to ¾ cup sugar and ¾ cup Splenda or stevia
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

The original recipe yields cookies that are 85 calories per cookie. By simply substituting the butter and sugar, the cookies are now only 58 calories per cookie.

If you just can’t say no to those favorite treats, remember that with a few quick changes and a smaller portion size, those treats can be made to fit into a healthy diet from time to time.

*OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center is not affiliated with Splenda® and does not endorse Splenda® and its products. OSF Saint Anthony Medical center did not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the mention of Splenda® in this article.

Last Updated: January 20, 2014

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About Author: Nathan Hamman, MS, RD, LDN

Nathan Hamman, OSF Saint Anthony DieticianNathan Hamman is a registered/licensed dietitian at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Illinois. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition from Bradley University and holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania. He is currently coordinator of the weight management programs at OSF Saint Anthony, as well as a clinical and outpatient dietitian.

Nathan enjoys swimming several times a week with a masters group at a local sports club. He also weight trains four to five times a week and plays on a sand volleyball team.

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Categories: Diet & Exercise