Carrie Saba

The joy of baking seems to be on the rise during the holidays. Whether it is for a cookie exchange or a holiday gathering, baked goods are plentiful. There are so many sweet temptations that it is often hard to resist a handful of yummy baked goods that pop up during this time of year. I am not a huge baker, but when I do bake, I often find myself looking at the ingredients and wondering how I can make it healthier.

While changing the ingredients in a recipe to healthier alternatives doesn’t work out 100% of the time, it works out quite a bit and it is worth trying.

Here are a few tips on how to change a few ingredients to healthier alternatives when baking this holiday season.

1. Instead of using white sugar in your baking, why not try a natural sweetener as an alternative. Here are a few options with the conversion amounts.

Brown Rice Syrup: Consists of brown rice ground and cooked. It is moderately sweet. In recipes you will want to use a little more than sugar and reduce the amount of other liquid. ( 1 cup of sugar = 1 1/3 cup of brown rice syrup).

Honey: One of the oldest sweeteners, honey is sweeter than sugar so you will want to reduce the amount of honey compared to sugar (1 cup of sugar = 1/2 -1/3 cup of honey).

Maple Syrup: Contains many minerals and is great for baking. Be sure to buy 100% pure maple syrup and not maple-flavored corn syrup. (1 cup of sugar = 1/2 – 3/4 cup of maple syrup).

2. When a recipe calls for oil, an easy substitute that works really well is applesauce. I use this one almost every time oil is called for in a recipe. (1 cup of oil = 1 cup applesauce)

3. Sometimes people want or need to avoid dairy, but a favorite recipe calls for milk. When that happens you can use the same amount the recipe calls for but substitute it with one of the following:

Almond milk

Rice milk

Hemp milk

Soy milk

4. If a recipe calls for all purpose flour you can try one of the following listed below at a 1:1 ratio. However, this could cause a change in overall texture so switching this can sometimes be trial and error. I have personally tried all three options below and most of the time it has worked out pretty well.

Whole wheat pastry flour

Almond flour

Oat flour

Enjoy the festivities of baking this holiday season and try some healthy substitutes in your recipes. Pick one thing to change up if you don’t feel comfortable changing several things in your recipe, but give it a try because you just might like it better.

About the Author

Carrie Saba, Holistic Health Coach, helps others see their inner strength through a new light. She offers valuable insight & lifestyle tips in her free monthly ezine, Wellness Tips with Carrie, as well as on her blog. Carrie believes our spirit is fed on how we think, what we experience, and eat. She empowers her clients and believes everyone should know their brilliance and enjoy life! Learn more about Carrie by visiting her website.

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Donna Hamilton, MD, MS, FAAP

Chief Wellness Officer at Manifest Excellence
Bestselling author, dynamic holistic wellness speaker and wellness luminary Dr. Donna Hamilton, MD, has a mission to help everyone live the healthy, satisfying lives we’re all meant to lead. Dr. Hamilton passionately teaches what being healthy really means and how to do it in a way that fits your unique needs. Her easy, practical tips assist you with assessing the entire wellness landscape and appropriately planning your personal wellness journey.

A wellness thought leader, she champions a comprehensive approach to health by addressing mental, emotional, social, spiritual & physical well-being with a simple and potent message. Her book Wellness Your Way offers a practical strategy to assist readers in creating a happier, healthier life. For more information or to book Dr. Hamilton for speaking engagements visit or
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