What are good substitutes for sugar? Especially in baking?

Baking can be a great way to provide delicious sweet treats to your family. Unfortunately, many times these foods are filled with sugar and added calories. Do not fear! You can make several substitutions for sugar in order to still have the product taste sweet. I recommend using half of the sugar that is called for in recipes and then add yummy vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon to intensify sweetness. You could also add pureed fruit (applesauce) or another sweet substitute as well. Products like agave nectar (syrup from the agave plant), stevia (natural no calorie sweetener), honey, or black-strap molasses are generally much sweeter to the taste than regular sugar, so bakers can use much less of these products. Although it is recommended that you lower the temperature of the oven by ~25 degrees if you use these products, as the dessert tends to get brown faster.

Artificial sweeteners may also be used to replace sugar. However, the result is not always a good one. Several research scientists experimented with various artificial sugars in a cake recipe. They found that the taste, texture, denseness and appearance of the dessert made with the artificial substitute was not acceptable. If one really wants to use a no calorie sweetener, they did recommend using a Splenda-sugar blend. They reported that the taste and texture of the product were pleasing and the calories/sugar reduced.

I am a big fan of finding healthy substitutions in both sweet AND savory dishes. You can use rolled oats in place of breadcrumbs and utilize bananas in place of fats in recipes! (One cup of mashed banana in place of 1 cup or butter or oil). I just made a shredded chicken wrap last night but I used Bibb lettuce in place of tortillas, saving myself a lot of carbohydrates. One of the best substitutions when baking is to swap out 1 cup flour for 1 cup black bean puree (about a 15oz can). The end result is dense and moist and you are getting so much more fiber and protein when using the black beans. Zucchini ribbons and spaghetti squash has frequently been used in place of pasta. There are definite calorie/carbohydrate savings but, at least for me, the texture wasn’t close to that of which I am used to with pasta. It depends on what you are looking for in that meal!

Login to Favorite