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7 Smart Ingredient Swaps

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When you're frequently following baking recipes, it can be easy to see yourself tossing a stick or two of butter into each batch of cookies or cupcakes you make. While you can make treats that are tasty and moist, they're also loaded with fats. 

While some ingredients are necessary for a batch of your favorite baked goods, others can be swapped out for more nutritious or lower calorie alternatives. Check out these seven sneaky alternative ingredients that work in many of your favorite recipes. 

1. Applesauce 
Possibly the most popular and best known alternative ingredient is applesauce. Vegan-friendly and nutrient smart, applesauce can replace butter, oil or shortening in certain recipes while still maintaining that moist texture. 

"Applesauce can replace butter, oil or shortening in certain recipes."

Applesauce is also sweet enough to take the place of sugar in many cases. Look online for applesauce alternatives to the recipe you're working on or just mix it in and see what happens!

2. Low-Calorie or Lean Anything 
Often when a recipe calls for cream, beef or bacon, you can swap these ingredients out for evaporated skim milk, lean beef or prosciutto. These ingredients have fewer calories and less fat than what's called for in the recipe but won't have a significant impact on taste. 

3. Egg whites 
If  you're concerned about the cholesterol in your food, simply skip the yolk. You can use multiple egg whites in the place on one whole egg for similar effects. Typically a 2-to-1 ratio of egg whites to whole eggs is effective. 

4. Bananas 
Ripe or over ripe bananas work similarly to apple sauce. Being sweet and mushy, bananas can replace butter, sugar or a little of both. A big benefit of using bananas is that they give your baked treat an extra hint of this popular fruit. 

You might even like the alternative recipe better!You might even like the alternative recipe better!

5. Nonfat Yogurt 
Does your recipe call for sour cream? Nonfat Greek yogurt or nonfat yogurt can be just as good with far fewer calories. Keep this easy switch in mind next time you're shopping for ingredients at the grocery store. 

6. Better Flour 
White wheat flour may have been the standard for a long time, but many people are seeking out the benefits of alternative flours. From whole wheat flour to coconut, rice and almond, there are dozens of unique flour variations that can carry advantages over white flour, such as more protein or no gluten. 

7. Sweet Syrups 
Tired of granulated sugar? Consider using maple syrup, honey, agave syrup or another variation from typical cane sugar that's just as sweet.