Healthy Baking Substitutions

This super informative post comes from Veggie Lisa, but around here we just call her Lisa. 🙂 She is so knowledgable. If you want to upgrade the ingredients of your baked goods, check out these healthy baking swaps before you start on your holiday baking!  This post is full of great ideas for easy swaps that will bring a health boost to your baked goods.

The holiday season is upon us once again, and you know what that means, eating… eating… and more eating. I love to bake yummy goodies for my family, but don’t want to be the average American who gains between 5-7 pounds during the holidays! Eeeek! Thankfully, I have recreated many of my childhood favorites without all the sticks of butter, karo syrup, and cups of white sugar. Nervous about changing up your ingredients? Don’t be! Here are some easy healthy baking substitutes, and I promise, no one will know the difference! Plus your soon-to-be New Year’s Resolutions will thank you.


When baking treats, getting them just sweet enough, but not overly sweet can be challenging. You might need to experiment with the amounts you use. Just as a rule of thumb, use less of a natural sweetener than the amount of the processed sweetener. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of white sugar, I will usually use half (or less) of the amount when replacing it with a natural one.  Here are a list of sweeteners I love to use:


  • Sucanat
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Stevia


  • Raw Agave
  • Raw Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Blackstrap Molasses

Whole Food

  • Dates
  • Unsweetened Applesauce


An easy swap is using whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour since they are a 1:1 ratio. However it will change the taste and consistency of your baked good. Many people will do half of each to keep their treats from getting too dense. Here is a list of some other flours that have more nutrients and won’t spike your blood sugar like white flour will:

  • Almond Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Oat Flour
  • Soy Flour
  • Chia Seed Meal
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Quinoa Flour
  • Mashed Black Beans (Great for brownies! Check out Desi’s recipe here!)


Fats are important when baking, especially when it comes to moisture. However many oils are very processed, made from genetically modified corn, and have a very low nutritional density. Many of these items retain their moisture better in the baking process also. I love using all of these replacements:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil (mild tasting)
  • Mashed Avocado
  • Banana
  • Evaporated Milk (great substitute for heavy cream)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Fruit Puree

I know that at first, substituting can be pretty overwhelming. Don’t know where to start? I recommend to start replacing healthy fats first, (usually these are the most forgiving), then move onto flour, and lastly sweeteners.


Lisa’s blondie recipe is so delicious and is a great example of healthy baking substitutions in practice. Check it out here.



My name is Lisa but some people call me Veggie Lisa. I am a mom of four kids who loves to dance, cook, exercise, shop, decorate, and enjoy all the beautiful things the state of Utah has to offer. I have had a very long journey to get to the place that I am now, strong and confident but most of all happy. At one point in my life I weighed 200 pounds. It took 11 long years and 4 babies later to finally learn how to nourish my body properly and be comfortable in my own skin. Being a life long vegetarian, I have a passion for vegetables and love teaching my kids how delicious they can be. Most people find veggies very, very, very boring. And gross. But not me! I love all things green and the more colorful my plate is, the happier I am. Vegetables don’t have to be boring! My motto is eat good, feel good, look good. When we eat good food and treat our bodies with respect, the rest falls into place.

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