Just because you are health conscious and serious about having a killer physique doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some baked goods every now and then! The key to being able to indulge is being smart with ingredient substitutions. Following these healthy baking hacks will help you make delicious treats that you will feel good about eating and allow you to continue working towards your fitness goals. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get baking!

Flour Alternatives

White flour is full of empty calories and has little nutritional value. Instead, try experimenting with alternative flours! Almond flour or almond meal is a high protein substitute that works well in many sweet dishes, like these waffles. Try mixing it with nutritious oat flour, which has a very light texture and taste. Coconut flour also works really well in sweeter baked goods in place of regular white flour.

For savory baked goods, the mild taste of oat flour is hard to beat. You can also try quinoa flour, which has a high protein content and slightly nutty flavor. Either of these flours can be used on their own or mixed together with other healthier flours. It may take some trial and error to figure out which ones you prefer.

Substitutions for Vegetable Oil and Butter

Nearly every unhealthy baking recipe you will see will call for some form of fat- mostly in the form of vegetable oil. For many recipes, you can substitute the unhealthy fat in vegetable oil with a nonfat or good-for-you fat instead. For sweeter baked goods like muffins and dessert foods, you can substitute in unsweetened applesauce or coconut oil in place of vegetable oil or butter.

Both unsweetened applesauce and coconut oil have very mild, lightly sweet flavors that work well in these sweeter recipes. You can also experiment with other fruit in place of oils to add moisture and sweetness. Very ripe bananas and fruit purees can also add moisture and be substituted for oil. Unlike with applesauce, stronger tasting fruit purees will add flavor to your recipes so you may need to experiment.

For savory recipes, try using olive oil in place of vegetable oil or butter. Though it won’t save you calories, it is a heart healthier alternative to other fats. It also has a subtly fruity taste that is very pleasant in some baked goods.

Remember when substituting another ingredient for vegetable oil, it is general a 1:1 ratio. So if the original recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, start with 1 cup of your preferred substitute in its place.

Sugar Substitutions

With sugar containing only empty calories and reeking havoc on insulin levels, you should definitely be using other sweeteners in your baking. Agave, honey, and stevia are all options to consider in place of sugar.

Agave, which comes from the nectar of an agave cactus, has a texture and taste similar to honey. Coming it at 20 calories a teaspoon, it is sweeter than sugar so you may find you don’t need to use as much. Agave doesn’t contain as many antioxidants as honey however. To substitute agave for sugar, reduce the amount of sugar needed by roughly 1/3. Be aware that you also may need to reduce the amount of liquid used in the total recipe.

Honey clocks in at 21 calories per teaspoon, but those calories come with some benefits. Honey contains antioxidants and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels nearly as quickly as sugar does, which is better for the body.

Stevia is the natural alternative to a calorie free sugar substitute. Derived from a plant in South America, some forms of this sweetener may be as much as 200 times as sweet as sugar. To bake with powdered Stevia, you generally need only 1/3 to 1/2 as much Stevia as sugar.

Yogurt as a Substitute

Yogurt is a magic ingredient when it comes to baking. It can be substituted for butter, oil, and sour cream. To use yogurt as a substitute, first make sure you are using plain nonfat or low fat yogurt. Don’t use flavored yogurt or it will change the taste and up the sugar content. Yogurt will leave your baked goods with a rich flavor and a moist creaminess.

To substitute yogurt for butter, replace half the butter with yogurt and use an alternative, fat source for the other half. To substitute yogurt for oil, replace half the oil called for with 3/4 as much yogurt plus half of a healthy oil. Yogurt can be substituted equally for sour cream.