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Anytime is the perfect time to enjoy a warm home baked dessert. Between birthdays, holidays and the days in between, there is little doubt you will find yourself indulging throughout the year. If you want to make more healthy choices without sacrificing your baked goods, try these helpful substitutions.

Applesauce for Oil or Butter:
This may come as a surprise, but many treats can easily be low fat if you opt to use applesauce in place of oil or butter. This works very well in sweet breads or muffins. Applesauce adds moisture and gives the right consistency without all the fat of oil or butter. This swap is ideal for zucchini bread, banana breads and the like, but can still work well with boxed cakes or brownies.

Pure Maple Syrup for Sugar:
Pure maple syrup may still be calorically dense like its traditional baking counterpart, but it comes with a host of benefits that refined sugar can’t match. Maple syrup is high in antioxidants and contains nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. It can be used as a 1:1 replacement for liquid sweeteners like honey, corn syrup and molasses. This is also true for sugar, but you will need to reduce your liquids throughout the rest of your recipe since you are replacing a dry ingredient.

Avocado for Butter:
If you would like to replace butter for a vegan option, avocado is an excellent choice. Full of healthy fats and a creamy flavor, avocado works perfectly in chocolate puddings or fudgy brownies. You may detect a mild avocado flavor that works well with a chocolate base. Avocado is an excellent way to elevate your dessert’s flavor profile while giving you some amazing health benefits.

Prunes for Sugar:
Sweet baked goods are a family favorite. But if you are hoping to lower your sugar intake this season, consider ditching the sugar and opting for prunes. A surprisingly tasty option, prunes’ sugar content is mitigated by naturally occurring fiber, making it a better choice for your overall health. Pureed prunes serve as an excellent sugar replacement in fruit pies, energy bars and muffins or breads. Just remember that their naturally sweet flavor can be overpowering if mixed with too many sweet items.

Keep your health a priority while still satisfying your affinity for baking this year. With these substitutions, your baking will be healthier than ever and your taste buds none-the-wiser.

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