Healthy Baking Tips

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself from your favorite things. An important part of making lifelong healthy eating habits is finding the right balance. One way to add balance to your diet is to make some healthy swaps when you want a sweet treat. With the tips below, you can reduce the calories, added sugar and saturated fat content of baked goods, so you to feel great about incorporating the occasional dessert into your healthy lifestyle.

  • Decrease calories and saturated fat of your baked goods with these butter and oil alternatives:
    • Applesauce instead of oil/butter. Can be swapped in 1:1 ratio. Reduces calorie and fat content significantly.
    • Avocado instead of butter, for 1c butter, swap 1c avocado puree. Reduces saturated fat content, adds vitamins, minerals, fiber. 
    • Plain Greek yogurt instead of cooking oil (i.e., canola/vegetable oil). Per 1c oil, swap ¾ c yogurt. Reduces fat content and increases protein content. 
  • Increase nutrient density when baking.
    • Try recipes that include fruits and veggies: zucchini bread, banana bread, pumpkin muffins, blueberry muffins.
    • Try swapping whole wheat flour in place of AP flour (you can often swap at least half AP for whole wheat without compromising the baked good outcome).
    • Try recipes that use legumes: for example, black bean brownies, chickpea cookies (this will increase the fiber and protein content compared to regular flour & will moisten the baked goods without adding fat).
  • Get the same volume of dessert, without all the calories!
    • Try cutting the sugar content by 1/3: for example, if a recipe calls for 1c sugar, only add 2/3c sugar. You won’t even notice the difference
    • Add berries anywhere and everywhere – bake with blueberries, top your dessert with strawberries, portion your dessert in a bowl with 1/2c berries.
    • Try using whipped cream or Greek yogurt in place of frosting.
    • Try making angel food cake in place of shortcake or pound cake.
  • Monitor your portions.

All in all, dessert is still dessert, and is best implemented as a part of a healthy lifestyle in moderate portions. Whether you’ve made some healthy modifications, or you are sticking with your original favorites, we recommend measuring the appropriate portion size and taking the time to enjoy and mindfully eat your special treat.  

20/20 LifeStyles also has created hundreds of dietitian approved recipes. View them here.


Written by: Christy Snook RD, CD, PRO Medical Registered Dietitian

Christy provides nutritional counseling for the 20/20 LifeStyles program and general members. She educates clients on balanced, whole food nutrition and developing healthy and mindful eating behaviors. She has prior experience working in clinical nutrition. She feels she has the most impact working with clients in an outpatient setting where she is able to focus on promoting health and preventing disease.

Specialties: Adult Weight Management, Diabetes Management

Credential: Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian

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