It is always so exciting to hear that you have tried one of my recipes, and more importantly, that you loved it! So recently, when I heard that a reader had a complete fail when attempting a Healthy A La Mode recipe, I felt terrible. What she thought was a simple substitution, unfortunately, completely changed the nature of the recipe. Baking gluten-free or vegan for example can definitely make for specific directions that aren’t always adjustable. But how would you know that if you aren’t used to how certain ingredients react, right? Some ingredients can be replaced 1:1, but others.. not so much.
So I thought now would be the perfect time to address some of the most common questions and issues regarding healthy substitutions in recipes! Today, we will start out with 10 of my favorite very simple substitutions that should provide success with most recipes! Obviously there is ALWAYS the exception to the rule (and I will try to point out when that is the case) but this is a great place to get started when it comes to making healthier substitutions:
1. Almond Milk for Cow’s Milk: Almond milk is a healthy alternative that can replace cow’s milk 1:1. It is free of lactose, saturated fat and cholesterol, which are all found in cow’s milk.
2. Coconut Oil for Alternate Oils or Butter: Coconut oil can replace oil and butter 1:1 in most recipes. It has a very unique combination of fatty acids that have been known to provide positive effects on health.
3. Coconut Oil for Shortening: One cup of shortening can be replaced with 3/4 cup coconut oil.
4. Greek Yogurt for Mayonnaise: Mayo can easily be replaced with plain greek yogurt, especially in recipes such as chicken and egg salad sandwiches, or even ranch dressing and spinach dip. Keep in mind, recipes with flavor coming from other sources work best (herbs, spices and seasonings)!
6. Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream: Traditionally, plain greek yogurt is the perfect replacement for sour cream. Put a dollop on your tacos, chili, or mixed into a soup or sauce, eliminating excess fat without sacrificing taste or texture.
7. Avocado for Mayonnaise: Avocado is another great way to substitute mayo. Simply mash it up and use in place of mayo for traditional chicken or egg salad; or use it to flavor your sandwiches, wraps, and burgers.
8. Flax or Chia “Eggs” for Eggs: For vegan baking, you can use what’s called a flax or chia egg. Simply measure out 1 tbsp flax or chia and add 3 tbsp of cold water. Stir and let sit or refrigerate to set. This can then be used 1:1 (for a traditional egg) in baking as your binder, though the results are not guaranteed, especially with recipes that usually call for more eggs.
9. Coconut Sugar for Brown Sugar: Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener and can replace brown sugar 1:1. Traditional sugars don’t contain any nutrients and therefore are empty calories, whereas coconut sugar does retain some nutrients from the coconut palm. It is also lower on the Glycemic index.
10. Almond Butter for Peanut Butter: Though it’s ok to enjoy both, I generally prefer to use almond butter for it’s nutritional boost of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. Almond butter is also slightly higher in both fiber and monounsaturated fats.
So which substitution are you going to try first? These are all pretty simple healthy changes that can be made without much thought! In the next couple weeks, we will also be talking flour substitutions as well as everyone’s favorite… sugar and sweeteners! So stay tuned ;)