Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Swap This

We all love our baked goods especially during the holidays, but many times they are high in calories, sugar, and fat. Here are some easy swaps you can make at home the next time you bake.

  • Whole Wheat Flour for Refined Flour:
    Flour is a key ingredient in many baked goods. Depending on the recipe, you can replace the refined flour partially or entirely. Recipes for bars and some cakes might be all right with replacing all the refined flour but things like bread you can only replace it partially. Look for the package to say whole wheat instead of refined. Whole wheat flour is a good choice because it has more fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and iron because the bran and germ are not removed in the process of making it.

  • Artificial Sweeteners for Sugar:
    Sugar is another common ingredient in baked goods. Sugar can be often be replaced with no calorie sweeteners like Splenda, Truvia, and Stevia. Check the sweetener’s website to see if you can bake with it and to get tips. Replacing the sugar in yeast breads will not work because the sugar is necessary for the yeast to grow. If you do not want to use artificial sweeteners you can reduce the amount of sugar in most recipes and you can try adding some spices to add flavor. Try experimenting with cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, extracts, or other spices you like.

  • Applesauce for Shortening, Oil, and Margarine:
    Another ingredient that packs some extra calories is the use of shortening, oils, and margarine. Many times you can replace part or all of the oil, shortenings and margarine with no sugar added or natural applesauce. Once again, this can work in some recipes like bars and muffins but not for things like cookies. It can give the product moisture with natural sugars, vitamin C, less fat and fewer calories.

  • Egg Substitute for Eggs:
    Many baking recipes like cake call for eggs, while they have great nutrients they come with a lot of cholesterol. A way to cut back on the cholesterol and fat is to use an egg substitute like Egg Beaters. Most of them will tell you how much will equal one egg.

If you modify your recipe with some of these ideas, you can eliminate some of the guilt without sacrificing great taste.

Here is an example of how to implement these swaps:

Double Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars

Original Recipe: Swapped Recipe:
Ingredients: Ingredients:
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups quick cooking oats 2 cups quick cooking oats
1/3 cup canola oil 1/3 cup applesauce
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed 2/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, packed
3/4 cup flour 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 very ripe banana 1 very ripe banana

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 inch pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add the applesauce and Splenda brown sugar. Mix well until there are no sugar lumps left. In another (smaller) bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. Mix into wet ingredients and chocolate chips. Pat batter down into the pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden. Let cool before cutting into squares.

You can swap even further with this recipe, here are some ideas:

  • Swap the cinnamon and chocolate chips with thawed frozen blueberries or blackberries
  • Add flax seeds or other nuts
  • Add dried fruit like cranberries in addition or instead of chocolate chips

You’re only one healthy bite away from a good mood

Your University Housing Nutrition Team,
University Residence Hall Dining

Michele Stoeppelman
Dietetics Graduate Assistant

Stephanie Nehrt
Undergraduate Nutrition Intern