I originally posted this on Instagram but wanted to convert it to a blog post because I thought it would be especially helpful for you. :)
I was inspired to share after baking up a particularly delicious batch of Chocolate Muffins from the one and only Minimalist Baker! The recipe I used is called "1-Bowl Chocolate Chip Muffins (GF)"! My substitutions were:
- no chocolate chips (we're all out)
- all purpose flour instead of GF
- whole wheat flour instead of GF & almond
- no coconut sugar (I should've added a little extra maple syrup but didn't)
Her recipes are AMAZING! I've used them for years and (when I follow them properly), they are always delicious! If you're looking for healthier baking/cooking ideas or vegan/GF/DF recipes, go check her blog out!
But this isn't about my baking adventure, it's about helping you with yours! So, on to the post...
Did you know some grocery stores are selling out of flour? ⠀
Why? Because people are baking so much! If love baking AND you're trying to eat a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet, I have good news for you: you CAN do BOTH!
I‘ve been a “healthy baking” enthusiast for about 4 or 5 years (special thanks to IBS for that) and I’ve had my fair share of finding healthy alternatives that I love just as much (or more) than their less-healthy counterparts. I’ve also had my fair share of “well, did you expect something good coming out of putting THAT in cookies/muffins/brownies” (black bean brownies... I’m looking at you 👀😤)⠀
My sister looooves bringing up some of these fails every time I attempt baking something😂⠀
But other days are a success! These Chocolate Muffins are so good I would eat them for dessert and healthy enough that I would also consider them breakfast😊⠀
Anyways, along the way I have learned a tip or two about how to bake healthier while sacrificing as little as possible on taste/quality/texture. Here are ALL my tips:⠀
1. GLUTEN/DAIRY FREE =/= HEALTHY
Check the nutritional content (or calculate on myfitnesspal if it’s not listed). For example, “dairy free” means no eggs, but eggs are very healthy! They add Omegas & a little protein🙌🏼 I usually use eggs instead of other ~alternatives~ because they help bind your batter together ⠀
2. SUGAR will make or break the nutrition content.
Not only is extra sugar not good for our bodies, but since sugar is an addicting chemical, the sweeter something is, the harder it is to stop after one piece! (Aka cue the cookie binges). CUT sugar wherever you can, and try to use unrefined sugars to sweeten your recipes. My fav is maple syrup, but you can also use blended dates, honey, agave, etc. ⠀
3. SUBSTITUTES are not made equal.
If you’re trying to replace one ingredient for another, make sure you use the right proportion (I.e. 1 cup of white sugar may only need 1/3C of your replacement sweetener). If you’re not sure of the proper ratio, google it! ⠀
4. DIFFERENT FLOUR absorbs liquid differently!
If you are trying to avoid gluten, google which GF flours are best for baking! For example, oat flour and almond flour are two very common replacements but will not absorb liquids the same way a fancy store-bought blend would. If you aren’t allergic to gluten, go half-half with regular all purpose flour!⠀
5. USE A RECIPE
Most of my fails were a result of trying to use healthy substitutes in an unhealthy recipe. There are so many blogs & accounts that have healthier recipes with the right ingredient proportions already! I’ve tagged some of my favs above. ⠀
6. TEXTURE is EVERYTHING.
This is the most important point!! Cut sugar, use another type of flour, & use DF milk, to your hearts content... the only thing to check is your texture. If the texture of your batter is similar to a “normal” batter, your recipe will likely be a success. If it isn’t, keep adjusting your dry/liquid ratio until it seems normal. ⠀
7. CONSUME RESPONSIBLY.
Just because it has healthier ingredients doesn’t mean it’s a superfood. It still has sugar, fats, and calories. “Healthy treats” are still treats! Stick to one serving and save the rest for later. ⠀
LASTLY, enjoy it! You know I am ALL for having treats. There is nothing wrong with a good, ole’ fashioned, butter & sugar, mouth-watering, baked goodie. BUT, in MODERATION! ⠀
Okay that’s all from me! Now, I’m off to enjoy one of these chocolate muffins😍 ⠀
PS. Want to save these tips for later? Pin the image on a special Pinterest board, and it will save the link :)