Ever wonder how to make a not-so-healthy recipe, healthy? With some simple substitutions you can make almost any recipe more nutritious and better for you.
1. WHITE SUGAR
Sugar is pretty easy to substitute if you have a kitchen scale. Simply weigh the amount of sugar called for in a recipe, and then use that same weight in any non refined liquid sweetener (such as raw honey or organic maple syrup). Do not try to substitute by volume though. 1 cup of sugar does NOT equal 1 cup of raw honey. Think brown sugar is a healthy substitute for white sugar? Nope! Brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses added. Need to find a substitute? Try raw organic coconut sugar or Rapadura sugar instead. If you don’t have a weighing scale use our conversions below (note: some weight variance may occur but this is a good guideline!)
¼ white sugar = 50 g = 2 tablespoon liquid sweetener
½ cup white sugar = 100g = ¼ cup liquid sweetener
1 cup white sugar = 200g = ½ cup liquid sweetener
2. FATS AND OILS
When cooking or “frying” if your recipe calls for oil, start with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and replace the rest with some chicken broth or stock and a non-stick pot or pan. Alternatively use coconut oil when cooking at high temperatures. In sweet baking, use apple sauce (no sugar added) or a fruit purée (like pumpkin or banana) for each cup of fat/oil (this can be substituted one cup for one cup). We often use coconut oil as a substitute as well (just be wary though as it does give a slight coconut taste). Even using organic butter as opposed to conventional butter will be better for your health.
3. HIGHLY REFINED FLOURS
White flour is not only used for baking, but also for thickening sauces and other culinary uses. If trying to thicken a sauce try using 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, psyllium husk or coconut flour instead. When baking, there is a huge variety of gluten free flours to choose from. Instead of white flour try buckwheat flour, teff flour, spelt flour or brown rice flour. Almond meal and coconut flour are also a good combination to use together.
Instead of using milk chocolate, chocolate chips or refined cocoa powder (which has milk powder and sugar added) swap to the raw stuff instead. We use raw vegan chocolate when a recipe calls for melted milk chocolate. You can also use cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips. Raw cacao powder makes a great replacement for refined cocoa powder. It’s slightly more bitter but packed full of antioxidants and health enhancing nutrients.
Organic eggs are a super nutritious food, although we know a lot of folks can’t eat them due to dietary restrictions or allergies. For a great egg replacement try making a ‘chia egg’ or a ‘flax egg’. To substitute one egg simply mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and voila you’ll have a gloopy egg replacement.