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Make your holiday baking a little healthier this year by trying one of the substitutions.

Image of a family baking Christmas cookies.

Make your holiday baking a little healthier this year by trying one of the substitutions listed below:

Whole Wheat Flour for White Flour

This substitution increases the nutritional benefits in almost any baked good because whole wheat includes the outer shell of the grain to provide extra fiber. Substitute half of the white flour to start with as the texture of the baked goods will change slightly.

Unsweetened Applesauce for Oil or Butter

Applesauce moistens while keeping the calories from fat at a minimum. This substitution works well in any sweet bread, like banana or zucchini, even with pre-boxed mixes!

Avocado Puree for Butter

Both of these are fats and have nearly the same consistency at room temperature, avocado however is full of monounsaturated fats. The avocado flavor is very subtle and the creamy texture works well in fudge brownies and chocolate cakes.

Dark Chocolate for Milk Chocolate

Dark chocolate bits are slightly lower in sugar and high in free-radical-fighting flavonoids. Plus, the richer flavor allows you to use slightly less than its milk chocolate counterpart.

Evaporated Skim Milk for Cream

This switch will drop the fat content while keeping the consistency of cream.

Two Egg Whites for One Whole Egg

Replace the yolk for a second white, this will cut out the cholesterol while doubling the protein. If making a dish that requires more eggs, keep one to two yolks for their rich vitamins A, E, D, and K content, but consider swapping out the rest.

Cocoa for Baking Chocolate

Use cocoa in place of baking chocolate in your desserts to save on fat and total calories. Three tablespoons cocoa = one ounce unsweetened baking chocolate.

Fruit Sauce for Icing

Use a fruit sauce as a cake topping in place of icing. You won't miss the packaged icing when you taste the natural sweetness of the fruit!

Image of a child helping bake Christmas treats.
Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Caitlyn graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Dietetics. She has worked in nutrition at Mid Iowa Community Action and as a clinical dietitian for the Iowa Veterans Home and Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center. Her goal is to help you and your family develop and maintain healthy lifestyles by sharing creative and practical nutrition tips.

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