Instead of Eggs, Try Flaxseed
If you are a vegan, or simply don’t have an egg on hand, you can use a mixture of flaxseed and water to get the same binding effect that will give your baked goods structure. Combine 1 Tbsp. of ground flaxseed meal with 3 Tbsp. of water and stir. Allow the mixture to thicken for a few minutes and add to the recipe in place of one egg.
Instead of Oil, Try Applesauce
Applesauce is a great stand in for oil in many recipes like cakes, muffins, and breads that are meant to be slightly dense. You get the benefit of moisture, yummy flavor, and all the nutrients applesauce has to offer! Generally, the rule is to use ¾ the amount of applesauce as you would oil in a recipe. This means that you can also reduce the oven temperature by 15-20 degrees and reduce the cooking time about 5 minutes.
Instead of Refined Sugar, Try Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut tree, and because it is naturally derived, it retains some of the nutrients and minerals found in the coconut palm itself. It also may have a lower glycemic index than traditional sugar, meaning it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much after you eat it. Coconut sugar has a sweet, caramel-y taste, and can be used in place of white or brown sugar in baking. Coconut sugar is a little coarser than other types of sugar, so it may be beneficial to let it soak for a few minutes in recipes using liquids.
Instead of Butter, Try Avocado
Avocados are a great substitute for butter when baking because of their natural, creamy texture and their significantly lower calorie count. In fact, you should only use about half the amount of avocado that you would butter because of the fruit’s natural richness. Avocados have a very mild flavor, so you don’t have to worry about your baked goods tasting funny, plus they bring with them a slew of nutrients and vitamins!
Instead of Potatoes, Try Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a surprisingly versatile food that can serve as a sub for anything from rice to pizza crust, but we think they work particularly well for mashed potatoes. If you are looking to cut down on carbs (and make room for all those yummy holiday pies), then this might just be your solution. Start by washing and chopping cauliflower florets into small pieces and cook in boiling water for 5-7 minutes. Pat dry, transfer into a food processer, and puree with a little olive oil and chicken or vegetable stock. You can also add garlic, chives, cream cheese, sour cream, or anything else you would put on mashed potatoes!