Your guide to guilt-free baking
Barbara Melendi, a registered dietician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, opts for these healthy swaps to keep the flavor without derailing her healthy lifestyle.
- Black beans or chickpeas for flour. Many baked goods call for flour. However, flour is a no-no for those who are gluten- free and offers little nutritional value. Try black beans for chocolate recipes and cooked chickpeas for lighter colored recipes. The two legumes add protein and do not take away from the recipes’ original flavor.
- Unsweetened applesauce for oil. Incorporate some fruit or vegetables into your next baked dessert. Try swapping out up to half the amount of oil called for in the recipe with unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin puree. This will help lower the fat and calorie content while raising the nutritional content of your dessert without sacrificing flavor.
- Marshmallow fluff for frosting. You heard that right, add marshmallows. Unlike conventional frosting, marshmallow fluff is much lighter. It is fat-free and contains fewer calories than frosting.
- Cacao nibs for chocolate chips. Cacao nibs are nature’s chocolate. They provide an intense chocolate flavor without the added sugar, milk and preservatives in chocolate chips.
- Greek yogurt for butter. Substitute half of the butter for plain Greek yogurt and knock out lots of fat and calories.
“I try to get the most nutritional bang for my buck by swapping healthier ingredients whenever possible when baking,” Melendi says.
About the Author
Meghan Robinett, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. She is studying Communication Arts and Digital Media at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. In her free time, she enjoys baking, playing soccer and traveling.