Simple, Healthy substitutions

*Don’t forget about the giveaways!

The holidays mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but the one thing they always include is junk food. Every holiday party is full of foods that we should most likely stay away from, but if you’re like me, you never do. A solution? Make small substitutions to the dishes that you make. It won’t make them “healthy” per se, but at least they won’t be as bad for you!

Instead of Oil – It seems as if every quick bread or cake calls for oil. A healthier oil would be extra virgin coconut oil, but if you’re on a budget like me….. well it’s just not cost effective. Instead of using cheap rancid oil (yes they flavor the cheap stuff cause it’s already gone bad) use melted unsalted butter at a 1:1 ratio. Or try applesauce! This works great for quick breads like zucchini or things like blueberry muffins. Not only is it lower in fat, but also ups the nutrients in whatever you’re baking. Last week I made zucchini bread and it called for 1 cup of oil. Instead I used 1/4 cup melted butter and 1 cup applesauce. (I always include about 1/4 the ‘fat’ content to keep the right consistency, although you can substitute 1:1) My husband actually raved at how good it was! And as an added bonus, I was also able to cut the sugar back quite a bit as the applesauce sweetens it up nicely.

Instead of sugar – Every dessert you eat at a party will include sugar, there is no way around it. :-) One of the best things to use is honey! And since it’s sweeter than sugar, you can use about 3/4 the amount. If a dessert I am making needs the consistency of sugar I’ll use rapadura or organic cane sugar. For cookies, I tend to use half cane sugar and half honey. You can also try cutting back on the amount you use! My husband wanted chocolate chip cookies last week and I used almost half of the sugar the recipe called for. Sure they weren’t as sweet as they could have been, but the loss of sugar went completely unnoticed by my husband. :-)
(there are also a lot of natural sugars out there like agave nectar, brown rice syrup, etc. but honestly I haven;t tried any of them yet. I stick to honey.)

Instead of bleached white flour – that has been chemically bleached and stripped of all nutrients, always buy unbleached flour. Sure it doesn’t have any nutrients either, but at least you’re not eating something that may or may not have chemical residues in it. And try using whole wheat flour as well, and you can also find whole wheat white flour (which is just a different wheat berry) that has a lighter taste than normal wheat. Most recipes I use now a days I can get a way with using half unbleached white flour and half whole wheat white flour. Start by replacing just a half cup of flour for wheat flour at a time while your family gets used to it.

Instead of regular baking powder – Use aluminum free baking powder. Oh, you didn’t know they put aluminum in the stuff? Yup, and aluminum is the same thing they took out of vaccines because of potential side effects. Aluminum effects the neurological system and my thought is, any amount is to much. (and people with Alzheimer’s and dementia actually show aluminum deposits in the brain) I’ve found that aluminum free baking powder costs no more (or in one case .20 more) than the regular stuff, and it actually works much better. I normally use half of what they recipe calls for when I make pancakes and just less than the full amount for everything else.

Instead of store bought eggs – Use farm fresh, free range eggs. I never would have thought the taste difference was that great, but after having to buy them at the store last week, I can tell a huge difference! I actually gagged on them and had to spit them out! The taste of farm fresh adds nicely to any dish and the texture is also much improved. And not only is the taste better, the extra nutrition they pack is well worth the extra cost!

Instead of skim milk – Use whole organic milk. Yes, this adds fat to your dish, but it also adds plenty of flavor and creaminess as well as beneficial fats that your body needs!

And of course there are many other healthy substitutions to make like; using organic dried fruits, using natural peanut butter (for those delish peanut butter balls!) etc. But any change you make will be a good one!

*and thanks to Tammy for hosting Kitchen Tip Tuesday, there are more great tips over there.

About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. We have our own chickens, and you’re so right – farm fresh eggs taste SO much better. I’ve made a lot of the changes you mention, but I’ll have to try some of the others.

  2. GiddyRobinMama says:

    I am cheap too but I want to eat healthy. I use melted butter in bread or olive oil, and aluminum free baking powder (Rumsford). The best price on that is as Walmart,while Kroger has their own unbleached organic flour pretty decent at 3.29 for 5lb and their whole wheat (not organic) is 2.89. We get our free range farm eggs from a farmer. I found her on craigslist, I live nowhere near her but her hubbie works near my house, just ask the far out farmer if they come into town near you at some point during the month, eggs last at least 45 days and I get them for only 2 bucks a dozen, so I buy about 4 dozen a month at a time. We use raw milk for cooking and I have pretty much eliminated powdered creamer in the house by buying organic half and half (using a coupon of course). Sweetner is the hardest thing to eliminate in my cooking because of the price. Raw honey costs about 9-11 dollars for a quart. So to use 1/3 cup every time I make bread, its goes fast and I don’t like the flavor of other sweeteners. If I could just get honey cheaper I would use it more often. I love maple syrup but the cost has gone up so much this year, its 8.99 for 25 oz at Trader Joes and now its 13.99! Maybe once gas prices stay low for a while things will get cheaper. Even rice has gone up, formerly it was 1.19 for 3 lb. at Aldis (yes, I know white rice is not as good for you), but now its 1.69. They don’t even carry the brown rice anymore there, which my kids won’t eat (I tried and tried).
    Anyways I am bookmarkin ya to read more later!

  3. I just wanted to say thanks for this post. I am just getting started making big changes in our diet, and this post was SO helpful.

  4. Great tips!

    For Robin Mama, we have a Cash-n-Carry that has honey cheap! and it is raw!