Why Go with Organic Baking? Healthy Baking Substitutes & Alternatives
by Vickie Chin on Jun 15, 2023
It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy diet can be tricky, especially when it comes to dietary restrictions and sugar content. However, organic baking may be the new revelation that balances the scales, satisfying the sweet tooth, aiding in meal preparation, and supporting environmental causes. This article will address the concept of organic baking and its nutritional value and introduce healthy baking substitutes.
Health Benefits of Organic Baking
Although the idea may initially seem odd, substituting organic baking ingredients holds tremendous benefits. Organic baking ingredients are produced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs. They are free from artificial additives, retain their natural nutrients, and provide additional value in the form of fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. They help boost health by preventing chronic diseases and regulating blood sugar levels. Opting for organic ingredients may also result in weight loss, leading to improved gut health.
Environmental Benefits of Organic Baking
Besides the health benefits, using organic products have a positive environmental impact; these products are harvested using organic farming practices, avoiding synthetic and chemical substances and reducing carbon footprint.
The employment of natural pest control and natural habitats aids in promoting biodiversity, which helps sustain wildlife. Organic farms enhance the soil by using crop rotation and other green methods to reduce erosion and increase soil fertility.
Healthy Substitutes for Conventional Baking Ingredients
Baking recipes often require flour, eggs, milk, and sugar; however, they can be high in calories and may cause allergies. Below is a list of healthy substitutes for baking that are equally delicious and extra nutritious.
Natural Sweeteners to Replace Refined Sugars
- Stevia is a natural plant-based healthy substitute for sugar in baking that contains zero calories and is 450 times sweeter than sugar; this component may be tricky to use and is an acquired taste; research has shown that it helps reduce blood sugar levels and aids in weight management.
- Monk fruit sweetener is a plant extract-based sugar alternative for baking, about 300 times sweeter than sugar, contains zero calories, and has the same benefits as stevia.
- Dates are natural sugar alternatives for baking; they promote healthy gut function due to their high fiber content and contain potassium and vitamin B6; its paste can be used as a substitute for refined sugar.
- Honey is a healthy sugar substitute in baking and a great source of vitamins and minerals; sugar alternative contains flavonoids and polyphenols that act as anti-inflammatories.
- Yacon syrup is a plant extract healthy sugar substitute, dark in color, with a thick consistency; it contains sugar indigestible by the gut and acts as a prebiotic promoting healthy bacteria.
Whole Grain and Organic Flours for Increased Nutritional Value
- Whole wheat contains the entire grain and is made from albino wheat. Unprocessed whole wheat is a substitute for cake flour that retains most nutrients and can assist with weight management. Additionally, some studies have indicated that consuming whole wheat flour substitutes for baking may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Oat flour is an all-purpose flour substitute for baking made by grounding whole-grain oats; studies have shown that Beta-Glucans in oats lower cholesterol. Due to its fiber content, oat flour helps manage weight and control blood sugar levels.
- Almond flour is a gluten-free flour substitute for baking made from ground almonds; it has lower carbs than traditional flour, is sweeter in taste, and is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. Studies show that this substitute for cake flour helps reduce LDL and insulin resistance.
- Coconut flour is another low-carb, gluten-free cake flour substitute; high in fiber and contains important minerals such as iron and potassium; this nutritious flour helps regulate sugar levels and bowel movement.
- Banana flour is a gluten-free cake flour substitute with a high-fiber content and low sugar levels and contains resistant starch. Research shows that this all-purpose flour substitute helps in weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving gut health; its antioxidant content helps reduce damage from free radicals.
Dairy-Free and Egg-Free Alternatives
Milk can be derived from multiple sources; some are plant-based others are nut-based; below is a list of dairy-free milk alternatives:
- Almond milk contains calcium, vitamins D, E, and A, potassium, and phosphorus. It’s low on carbs and calories, aids in weight management, and is lactose-free.
- Soy milk is plant-based; most soy-milk products are fortified with riboflavin, Vitamin B6, A, D, and calcium. Moreover, Isoflavones found in soy milk positively impact cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
- Oat milk is a great substitute for people with nut and dairy allergies; it contains a high nutritional value and can be made from gluten-free oats. It has a 50% recommended daily value of vitamin B12 and 25% DV of calcium, and it’s high in Beta Glucan, which helps lowers LDL levels.
Eggs are a main component in baking; however, due to allergies and egg production-related issues, healthy baking substitutes found in the list below can be used:
- A quarter cup of unsweetened apple sauce equals an egg, which can be used as an egg replacement in baked goods.
- Ground flaxseed can be used as a binding component when mixed with water; it forms a thick gel and can be used in many recipes, such as bread and a vegan meatball.
- Due to their natural sweetness, ripe bananas are ideal for dessert recipes. However, a raising agent such as baking powder is needed when using bananas as an egg substitute. Generally, a medium-sized banana can be used as a substitute for one egg in recipes.
- Vegan butter, such as nut-based butters or soy-based butters, are a healthy butter substitutes for oil in baking, suitable for individuals who are lactose intolerant. Or you can opt for healthy substitutes for oil in baking such as raw coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
Incorporating Organic Superfoods into Baking
Saving the best for last, unique to their high nutritious value and distinct flavors.
Nutritional Boosts of Organic Superfood Powders
- Matcha is a variety of green tea. It is known for its high concentration of antioxidants and amino acids. Matcha contains catechins, which are beneficial compounds. When matcha is dissolved in water, it can have up to three times the amount of catechins compared to regular green tea. Additionally, matcha has been associated with promoting liver function, preventing liver diseases, enhancing cognitive abilities, and certain studies have suggested its potential in cancer prevention.
- Spirulina is a form of algae; it has thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, copper, and iron, and most of its nutrient values cover the recommended daily dosage. It has strong antioxidant properties, and it helps reduce inflammation. Spirulina also helps lower LDL and triglycerides and increase HDL
- Wheatgrass is a popular green plant known for its high content of vitamins C, A, and E. It contains 17 types of amino acids, including eight essential ones. This remarkable plant has been associated with lowering cholesterol levels and regulating blood sugar. Research suggests that wheatgrass may have anti-cancer properties by potentially targeting and eliminating cancer cells.
- Maca is a plant linked to several benefits, such as treating male fertility issues and female menopausal symptoms related to broccoli; it has amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Cacao powder, the delicious brown powder, is rich in antioxidants and flavanols; it has several important functions, some of which; reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure levels, improving blood flow, and reducing the risk of a heart attack.
- Acai berries are rich in anthocyanins; this wonderous berry enhances cholesterol levels and may help boost cognitive abilities.
- Chia seeds have high nutritious values, some of which aid bone structure, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent depression and anxiety, and aid with autoimmune disorders.
The Versatility of Organic Nuts and Seeds
The goal of organic-based baking is to achieve a healthy balance of nutritional values while obtaining a delicious recipe; this can be accomplished using a mixture of components such as gluten-free flour, chia seeds, flaxseeds for binding and texture, and organic walnuts, pecans, or sunflower seeds for added crunch.
Pecans have a rich color and are known for lowering blood pressure and monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are considered brain food due to their DHA content, a fatty acid that aids cognitive abilities. On the other hand, sunflower seeds are packed with minerals and vitamins and are most renowned for their ability to boost the immune system.
Lastly, the world of baking and nutritional value is hard to summarize in a few lines that can fully describe the benefits and details of each vitamin, component, and its role. However, the main objective remains to obtain healthy sugar substitutes for artificial sugar in baking and to gain the actual nutritional value of whole grains while incorporating the significant benefits of organic superfoods