Once You Start Baking With Avocado, You May Never Go Back to Butter

Full of omega-3s and vitamin E, avocados taste perfect when thinly sliced on a salad, thrown in a fruity smoothie, or paired with salty sunflower seeds. Yet another way you can incorporate the ever-versatile avocado into your culinary life: as a substitute for butter.

When baking, substitute half the amount of butter in your recipe for mashed avocado. If you substitute the whole amount, you’ll end up with flatter results. To help you figure out how much you’ll need, it helps to know that one avocado yields about three-quarters of a cup. Substituting butter with avocado not only lowers the calorie content ¡ª half a cup of butter is 813 calories, and the same amount of mashed avocado is 184 ¡ª but it also yields a softer, moister baked good. While this fruit is high in fat, avocados contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which can actually lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and maintain HDL (good) cholesterol and help decrease belly fat.

Per quarter-cup serving, avocados have over 300 fewer calories than butter but also offer less saturated fat and cholesterol. This green fruit also offers more protein and added fiber, and it’s rich in B vitamins, as well as folate, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin K. You can’t say that about butter.

Here are some recipes you can try with this butter substitute:

Pumpkin muffins: you won’t believe how soft and moist these muffins are; no one will know there’s not a pat of butter.Banana oatmeal crumb muffins: this can be made into one loaf of banana bread instead of 12 muffins.Vegan chocolate cupcakes with “buttercream” frosting: For this recipe, the butter that’s traditionally used to make frosting is replaced with ripe avocados, yielding the smoothest, most delicious frosting.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Once You Start Baking With Avocado, You May Never Go Back to Butter

Full of omega-3s and vitamin E| avocados taste perfect when thinly sliced on a salad| thrown in a fruity smoothie| or paired with salty sunflower seeds. Yet another way you can incorporate the ever-versatile avocado into your culinary life: as a substitute for butter.

When baking| substitute half the amount of butter in your recipe for mashed avocado. If you substitute the whole amount| you’ll end up with flatter results. To help you figure out how much you’ll need| it helps to know that one avocado yields about three-quarters of a cup. Substituting butter with avocado not only lowers the calorie content ¡ª half a cup of butter is 813 calories| and the same amount of mashed avocado is 184 ¡ª but it also yields a softer| moister baked good. While this fruit is high in fat| avocados contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat| which can actually lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and maintain HDL (good) cholesterol and help decrease belly fat.

Per quarter-cup serving| avocados have over 300 fewer calories than butter but also offer less saturated fat and cholesterol. This green fruit also offers more protein and added fiber| and it’s rich in B vitamins| as well as folate| potassium| vitamin E| and vitamin K. You can’t say that about butter.

Here are some recipes you can try with this butter substitute:

Pumpkin muffins: you won’t believe how soft and moist these muffins are; no one will know there’s not a pat of butter.Banana oatmeal crumb muffins: this can be made into one loaf of banana bread instead of 12 muffins.Vegan chocolate cupcakes with “buttercream” frosting: For this recipe| the butter that’s traditionally used to make frosting is replaced with ripe avocados| yielding the smoothest| most delicious frosting.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Become a Healthy Baker With These Surprising Butter Substitutes

Baking calms the mind and feeds the soul, but all that buttery goodness can pack on the pounds. If you’re looking to make healthier baked goods, omitting some or all of the butter from your favorite recipes can greatly reduce the calories, fat, and cholesterol. There are countless ways to replace eggs in recipes, and here are healthier alternatives to using butter (great for vegan bakers, too).

Applesauce: Often used to replace oil in recipes, applesauce can also be used as a butter alternative, and it works best in cake-like recipes (like this vegan banana apple chunk bread). Replace half the amount of butter in your recipe with applesauce; if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce. If you don’t mind a denser, more moist bread, replace all the butter with applesauce to cut even more calories and fat.Avocado: Substitute half the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado (it works well with cookies and quick breads like these pumpkin apple muffins); use the same method as you would when using applesauce. Using avocado not only lowers the calorie content but also creates a softer, moister baked good, and is perfect if you want to omit the dairy. Earth Balance: Replace all the butter with Earth Balance to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. Using Smart Balance rather than Earth Balance will also save some calories, but note that Original Smart Balance contains whey, so it’s not vegan. Canola oil: In certain recipes, replacing butter with oil works well, especially if the recipe calls for melted butter. Fiddle with your favorite recipes to figure out when canola works instead of butter; when baking chocolate chip cookies, I’ve had success substituting half a cup of canola oil for half a cup of unsalted butter. Although slightly higher in calories, canola is much lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Greek yogurt: Replace half the amount of butter in your cookie recipes with half the amount of full-fat plain Greek yogurt. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and one quarter cup of yogurt. You’ll reduce the calories and the saturated fat. Play around with using more yogurt and less butter to see if you still like the taste and consistency. Here are more ways to use Greek yogurt in baking recipes. If you’re avoiding dairy, use soy yogurt instead, like this recipe for protein banana bread. Prune pur¨¦e: Often used to help little ones stay regular, prune pur¨¦e also makes a low-calorie and low-fat alternative to butter. Whatever amount of butter the recipe calls for, replace it completely with store-bought baby food prune pur¨¦e (unless you have time to make your own; just pur¨¦e prunes in the food processor). This option works well in recipes that involve chocolate and cinnamon.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Become a Healthy Baker With These Surprising Butter Substitutes

Baking calms the mind and feeds the soul| but all that buttery goodness can pack on the pounds. If you’re looking to make healthier baked goods| omitting some or all of the butter from your favorite recipes can greatly reduce the calories| fat| and cholesterol. There are countless ways to replace eggs in recipes| and here are healthier alternatives to using butter (great for vegan bakers| too).

Applesauce: Often used to replace oil in recipes| applesauce can also be used as a butter alternative| and it works best in cake-like recipes (like this vegan banana apple chunk bread). Replace half the amount of butter in your recipe with applesauce; if the recipe calls for one cup of butter| use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce. If you don’t mind a denser| more moist bread| replace all the butter with applesauce to cut even more calories and fat.Avocado: Substitute half the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado (it works well with cookies and quick breads like these pumpkin apple muffins); use the same method as you would when using applesauce. Using avocado not only lowers the calorie content but also creates a softer| moister baked good| and is perfect if you want to omit the dairy. Earth Balance: Replace all the butter with Earth Balance to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. Using Smart Balance rather than Earth Balance will also save some calories| but note that Original Smart Balance contains whey| so it’s not vegan. Canola oil: In certain recipes| replacing butter with oil works well| especially if the recipe calls for melted butter. Fiddle with your favorite recipes to figure out when canola works instead of butter; when baking chocolate chip cookies| I’ve had success substituting half a cup of canola oil for half a cup of unsalted butter. Although slightly higher in calories| canola is much lower in saturated fat| cholesterol| and sodium. Greek yogurt: Replace half the amount of butter in your cookie recipes with half the amount of full-fat plain Greek yogurt. For example| if the recipe calls for one cup of butter| use half a cup of butter and one quarter cup of yogurt. You’ll reduce the calories and the saturated fat. Play around with using more yogurt and less butter to see if you still like the taste and consistency. Here are more ways to use Greek yogurt in baking recipes. If you’re avoiding dairy| use soy yogurt instead| like this recipe for protein banana bread. Prune pur¨¦e: Often used to help little ones stay regular| prune pur¨¦e also makes a low-calorie and low-fat alternative to butter. Whatever amount of butter the recipe calls for| replace it completely with store-bought baby food prune pur¨¦e (unless you have time to make your own; just pur¨¦e prunes in the food processor). This option works well in recipes that involve chocolate and cinnamon.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Calorie Hacks to Lighten Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes

We all have Thanksgiving Day dishes we love but the calories and saturated fat, not so much. Dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD of Appetite For Health has great tips and simple tweaks to make your favorite holiday dishes healthier without sacrificing the flavor.

Rich and creamy mashed potatoes, sweet cranberry sauce, bread stuffing, pecan pie . . . oh my! Eating healthy isn’t the first thing that comes to mind at Thanksgiving, but with a few simple tweaks, you can lighten up even the most decadent holiday recipes.

Here are 10 tricks that slash calories, added sugars, and artery-clogging sat fat while instantly upgrading your diet ¡ª all without sacrificing taste!

    The traditional turkey sidekick, bread stuffing, is loaded with both calories and saturated fat, thanks to the butter, sausage, and fat drippings (if cooked inside the bird) it contains. Instead of bread stuffing, switch to a wild rice-based stuffing with dried or fresh fruit and plenty of earthy herbs and spices.Many sweet potato casseroles call for a stick of butter (1/2 cup), which contains nearly four day’s worth of saturated fat and more than 800 calories. Replace stick butter with a “light” whipped butter or a soft spread. In place of the sugary marshmallow topping, top your casserole with toasted chopped pecans and a drizzle of antioxidant-packed maple syrup.To make trimmed-down mashed potatoes, skip cream or whole milk and mash your potatoes with skim or 1% milk or buttermilk. Add sweet roasted garlic for an unexpected flavor boost.To cut the tartness of cranberries in your sauce or relish, use chopped apple or unsweetened applesauce in place of up to half of the sugar in your recipe. (1/4 cup of sugar can be replaced with 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce or chopped apples.)Cut the crust: pie crusts are high in calories and saturated fat, so the best options are single-crust pies like pumpkin or pecan, or go crustless. Here are two of my irresistible fruit-based desserts ¡ª Apple-Ginger Phyllo Nests and an Apple-Cranberry Crisp ¡ª that allow you to indulge without the bulge. Cut a quarter of the sugar from recipes. Most recipes have way too much sugar, so you can safely nix a quarter of it without negatively impacting the recipe whatsoever. Replace up to half of the fat in baked goods like cookies, muffins, and quick breads with an equal amount pureed beans, canned pumpkin, or unsweetened applesauce. (Trust me ¡ª no one will even notice.) Instead of baking with shortening or butter, which pack in saturated fat, use canola oil. Canola oil is best for baking because it’s heart healthy and has a neutral flavor and creates the perfect texture for baked goods. Replace buttercream frosting on cakes and cupcakes with lower fat meringue frosting, made from just sugar and egg whites.Swap half the white flour in a recipe with an equal amount whole-wheat flour for more nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.

Image Source: Corbis Images

Calorie Hacks to Lighten Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes

We all have Thanksgiving Day dishes we love but the calories and saturated fat| not so much. Dietitian Julie Upton| MS| RD of Appetite For Health has great tips and simple tweaks to make your favorite holiday dishes healthier without sacrificing the flavor.

Rich and creamy mashed potatoes| sweet cranberry sauce| bread stuffing| pecan pie . . . oh my! Eating healthy isn’t the first thing that comes to mind at Thanksgiving| but with a few simple tweaks| you can lighten up even the most decadent holiday recipes.

Here are 10 tricks that slash calories| added sugars| and artery-clogging sat fat while instantly upgrading your diet ¡ª all without sacrificing taste!

    The traditional turkey sidekick| bread stuffing| is loaded with both calories and saturated fat| thanks to the butter| sausage| and fat drippings (if cooked inside the bird) it contains. Instead of bread stuffing| switch to a wild rice-based stuffing with dried or fresh fruit and plenty of earthy herbs and spices.Many sweet potato casseroles call for a stick of butter (1/2 cup)| which contains nearly four day’s worth of saturated fat and more than 800 calories. Replace stick butter with a “light” whipped butter or a soft spread. In place of the sugary marshmallow topping| top your casserole with toasted chopped pecans and a drizzle of antioxidant-packed maple syrup.To make trimmed-down mashed potatoes| skip cream or whole milk and mash your potatoes with skim or 1% milk or buttermilk. Add sweet roasted garlic for an unexpected flavor boost.To cut the tartness of cranberries in your sauce or relish| use chopped apple or unsweetened applesauce in place of up to half of the sugar in your recipe. (1/4 cup of sugar can be replaced with 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce or chopped apples.)Cut the crust: pie crusts are high in calories and saturated fat| so the best options are single-crust pies like pumpkin or pecan| or go crustless. Here are two of my irresistible fruit-based desserts ¡ª Apple-Ginger Phyllo Nests and an Apple-Cranberry Crisp ¡ª that allow you to indulge without the bulge. Cut a quarter of the sugar from recipes. Most recipes have way too much sugar| so you can safely nix a quarter of it without negatively impacting the recipe whatsoever. Replace up to half of the fat in baked goods like cookies| muffins| and quick breads with an equal amount pureed beans| canned pumpkin| or unsweetened applesauce. (Trust me ¡ª no one will even notice.) Instead of baking with shortening or butter| which pack in saturated fat| use canola oil. Canola oil is best for baking because it’s heart healthy and has a neutral flavor and creates the perfect texture for baked goods. Replace buttercream frosting on cakes and cupcakes with lower fat meringue frosting| made from just sugar and egg whites.Swap half the white flour in a recipe with an equal amount whole-wheat flour for more nutrients| antioxidants| and fiber.

Image Source: Corbis Images

Cut Calories in Half With This Simple Baking Trick

Ovens are working overtime in the Fall with cooler temps and all those food-centric holidays. Cookies, muffins, cakes, bars, and quick breads are on the menu, and unfortunately, even when you try to cut calories by making ingredient substitutions like avocado for butter or applesauce in place of oil, a serving size will still run you 100 to 300 calories or more!

Here’s an easy way to slash calories in half. Look at the serving size on your recipe, then double it by making the original serving sizes half the size. So instead of making one dozen muffins or cupcakes, make 24 minis. For cookies, scoop out smaller balls of dough and make 48 instead of two dozen. Instead of cutting 15 brownies (three rows of five), cut them smaller to make 20 (four rows of five) or 24 (four rows of six). When baking oatmeal pumpkin bread, cut the usual eight slices, but then cut those in half, so you get 16. Or instead of using a typical loaf pan, bake the batter in a 9-by-13-inch pan so you can cut 15 squares instead of eight slices. This will allow you to get a little taste of that home-baked goodness without going crazy overboard on calories. Just be sure to monitor baking times if you’re using a different sized pan, since they will change depending on the size and volume of your treats.

Related: How to Replace Sugar in Baked Goods

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Cut Calories in Half With This Simple Baking Trick

Ovens are working overtime in the Fall with cooler temps and all those food-centric holidays. Cookies| muffins| cakes| bars| and quick breads are on the menu| and unfortunately| even when you try to cut calories by making ingredient substitutions like avocado for butter or applesauce in place of oil| a serving size will still run you 100 to 300 calories or more!

Here’s an easy way to slash calories in half. Look at the serving size on your recipe| then double it by making the original serving sizes half the size. So instead of making one dozen muffins or cupcakes| make 24 minis. For cookies| scoop out smaller balls of dough and make 48 instead of two dozen. Instead of cutting 15 brownies (three rows of five)| cut them smaller to make 20 (four rows of five) or 24 (four rows of six). When baking oatmeal pumpkin bread| cut the usual eight slices| but then cut those in half| so you get 16. Or instead of using a typical loaf pan| bake the batter in a 9-by-13-inch pan so you can cut 15 squares instead of eight slices. This will allow you to get a little taste of that home-baked goodness without going crazy overboard on calories. Just be sure to monitor baking times if you’re using a different sized pan| since they will change depending on the size and volume of your treats.

Related: How to Replace Sugar in Baked Goods

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Are Sugar Substitutes Really Healthier Than White Sugar?

If you’re trying to lose weight, limiting refined white sugar is a step in the right direction: one cup contains 774 calories and 200 grams of sugar. But when you’re craving a chocolate chip cookie, you want it to taste like Grandma’s ¡ª not like a dull, tasteless cracker. There are many all-natural sugar substitutes, but are they really healthier than refined white? Check out the details below.

Agave Nectar (also called agave syrup)

Replace 2/3 cup for every one cup of sugar449 calories, 100.3 grams sugar

How it’s made: Produced from the same spiky plant as tequila. Once the blue agave plant reaches seven to 10 years old, the leaves are removed revealing the core of the plant called the pina. Sap is extracted from the pina, filtered, and heated at a low temp to break down the carbohydrates into sugars.Additional info: Lower on the glycemic index, it offers sweetness without the spike in your blood sugar levels. However, like white sugar, most agave syrup is highly processed.Baking tips: Since it is a syrup, you’ll need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter cup. Combine agave with the liquid or fats in your recipe before adding to the dry ingredients in order to prevent oil from layering on top. Since agave browns faster, lower the oven temp by 25 degrees, and because it can be a little sticky, you might want to line your pan with parchment paper. Blackstrap Molasses

Replace 1 1/3 cup for every one cup of sugar1,002 calories, 259 grams sugar

How it’s made: During the sugar-making process, juice extracted from sugar cane is boiled down until the sugars crystallize. The syrup left over after crystallization is known as molasses. Sugar cane juice usually undergoes three cycles of boiling and blackstrap molasses is the by-product of the third boiling cycle. This variety of molasses contains the least amount of sugar and has the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals.Additional info: Blackstrap molasses is rich in nutrients; one cup contains more than the RDA of calcium, potassium, and iron. It’s also full of copper and B vitamins, which helps eliminate cancer-causing free radicals.Baking tips: With such a distinct, robust flavor, molasses is best saved for spiced breads and cookies. Since it’s acidic, add half a teaspoon of baking soda to the recipe if it’s not already used, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by one-third cup.Honey

Replace 3/4 cup for every one cup of sugar773 calories, 209 grams sugar

How it’s made: Bees gather nectar from flowers, and spread it throughout the honeycombs in the hive where it evaporates and turns into a thick syrup, which is used to feed the colony. Additional info: It offers 132 mg of potassium and may help reduce sore throats. Raw honey is rich in B vitamins and also vitamin C.Baking tips: Decrease the liquid in your recipe by one-fifth, and lower the baking temp by 25 degrees to prevent browning.Maple Syrup

Replace 3/4 cup for every one cup of sugar600 calories, 159 grams sugar

How it’s made: Sap is collected from maple trees, boiled to evaporate the water, and the syrup is then filtered and bottled. It takes between 35 and 50 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of real maple syrup.Additional info: A one-cup serving offers 180 mg of calcium, and also contains manganese, iron, and zinc, important minerals for a strong immune system; it also contains 322 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.Baking tips: Always use real maple syrup ¡ª not maple flavored. Reduce the amount of liquid in recipes by three tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup used. Baked goods will have a brownish tint and also brown much faster so bake for less time or lower the temp of the oven by 25 degrees. Raw Cane Sugar (evaporated cane sugar)

Replace one cup for every one cup of sugar758 calories, 202 grams sugar

How it’s made: Freshly cut sugar cane is crushed to extract the juice. Then the cane juice is heated to evaporate the water, and then spun in a centrifuge to produce crystals that are golden-colored due to the fact that the molasses is not removed.Additional info: Also know as demerara or turbinado sugar, it’s less refined than white sugar though it is not any better from a nutritional standpoint; although it contains some molasses, it’s too small an amount to really offer the health benefits that molasses does. Baking tips: Since the crystals can be larger than regular sugar (depending on the brand), you might want to dissolve it in the liquids or beat it in with the eggs to ensure a smooth texture.Stevia (Pyure Bakeable Blend)

Replace 1/2 cup for every one cup of sugar0 calories, 0 grams sugar

How it’s made: Glycosides are the components of stevia leaves responsible for the plant’s sweetness. The leaves are placed in hot water, which is passed through a resin material to trap and collect the glycosides. The resin is then washed with alcohol to free the glycosides, and is then crystallized into the form you buy. Additional info: Some research shows it can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Since it’s calorie-free it’s helpful for weight management. Baking tips: Reduce pan size and baking temp by 25 percent, add an additional egg white or slightly increase baking powder/soda, and add fruit puree or yogurt for moistness.Sucanat

Replace one cup for every one cup of sugar570 calories, 135 grams sugar

How it’s made: Whole sugar cane is juiced and that liquid is heated in a large vat until it becomes a rich, dark syrup. It’s then crystallized, creating dry, porous, dark-brown granules.Additional info: Unlike refined white sugar, Sucanat contains iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and chromium.Baking tips: Very similar to baking with sugar, since it has a brownish color and tastes like warm molasses, it’s best used to replace brown sugar. Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Are Sugar Substitutes Really Healthier Than White Sugar?

If you’re trying to lose weight| limiting refined white sugar is a step in the right direction: one cup contains 774 calories and 200 grams of sugar. But when you’re craving a chocolate chip cookie| you want it to taste like Grandma’s ¡ª not like a dull| tasteless cracker. There are many all-natural sugar substitutes| but are they really healthier than refined white? Check out the details below.

Agave Nectar (also called agave syrup)

Replace 2/3 cup for every one cup of sugar449 calories| 100.3 grams sugar

How it’s made: Produced from the same spiky plant as tequila. Once the blue agave plant reaches seven to 10 years old| the leaves are removed revealing the core of the plant called the pina. Sap is extracted from the pina| filtered| and heated at a low temp to break down the carbohydrates into sugars.Additional info: Lower on the glycemic index| it offers sweetness without the spike in your blood sugar levels. However| like white sugar| most agave syrup is highly processed.Baking tips: Since it is a syrup| you’ll need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter cup. Combine agave with the liquid or fats in your recipe before adding to the dry ingredients in order to prevent oil from layering on top. Since agave browns faster| lower the oven temp by 25 degrees| and because it can be a little sticky| you might want to line your pan with parchment paper. Blackstrap Molasses

Replace 1 1/3 cup for every one cup of sugar1|002 calories| 259 grams sugar

How it’s made: During the sugar-making process| juice extracted from sugar cane is boiled down until the sugars crystallize. The syrup left over after crystallization is known as molasses. Sugar cane juice usually undergoes three cycles of boiling and blackstrap molasses is the by-product of the third boiling cycle. This variety of molasses contains the least amount of sugar and has the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals.Additional info: Blackstrap molasses is rich in nutrients; one cup contains more than the RDA of calcium| potassium| and iron. It’s also full of copper and B vitamins| which helps eliminate cancer-causing free radicals.Baking tips: With such a distinct| robust flavor| molasses is best saved for spiced breads and cookies. Since it’s acidic| add half a teaspoon of baking soda to the recipe if it’s not already used| and reduce the liquid in the recipe by one-third cup.Honey

Replace 3/4 cup for every one cup of sugar773 calories| 209 grams sugar

How it’s made: Bees gather nectar from flowers| and spread it throughout the honeycombs in the hive where it evaporates and turns into a thick syrup| which is used to feed the colony. Additional info: It offers 132 mg of potassium and may help reduce sore throats. Raw honey is rich in B vitamins and also vitamin C.Baking tips: Decrease the liquid in your recipe by one-fifth| and lower the baking temp by 25 degrees to prevent browning.Maple Syrup

Replace 3/4 cup for every one cup of sugar600 calories| 159 grams sugar

How it’s made: Sap is collected from maple trees| boiled to evaporate the water| and the syrup is then filtered and bottled. It takes between 35 and 50 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of real maple syrup.Additional info: A one-cup serving offers 180 mg of calcium| and also contains manganese| iron| and zinc| important minerals for a strong immune system; it also contains 322 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.Baking tips: Always use real maple syrup not maple flavored. Reduce the amount of liquid in recipes by three tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup used. Baked goods will have a brownish tint and also brown much faster so bake for less time or lower the temp of the oven by 25 degrees. Raw Cane Sugar (evaporated cane sugar)

Replace one cup for every one cup of sugar758 calories| 202 grams sugar

How it’s made: Freshly cut sugar cane is crushed to extract the juice. Then the cane juice is heated to evaporate the water| and then spun in a centrifuge to produce crystals that are golden-colored due to the fact that the molasses is not removed.Additional info: Also know as demerara or turbinado sugar| it’s less refined than white sugar though it is not any better from a nutritional standpoint; although it contains some molasses| it’s too small an amount to really offer the health benefits that molasses does. Baking tips: Since the crystals can be larger than regular sugar (depending on the brand)| you might want to dissolve it in the liquids or beat it in with the eggs to ensure a smooth texture.Stevia (Pyure Bakeable Blend)

Replace 1/2 cup for every one cup of sugar0 calories| 0 grams sugar

How it’s made: Glycosides are the components of stevia leaves responsible for the plant’s sweetness. The leaves are placed in hot water| which is passed through a resin material to trap and collect the glycosides. The resin is then washed with alcohol to free the glycosides| and is then crystallized into the form you buy. Additional info: Some research shows it can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Since it’s calorie-free it’s helpful for weight management. Baking tips: Reduce pan size and baking temp by 25 percent| add an additional egg white or slightly increase baking powder/soda| and add fruit puree or yogurt for moistness.Sucanat

Replace one cup for every one cup of sugar570 calories| 135 grams sugar

How it’s made: Whole sugar cane is juiced and that liquid is heated in a large vat until it becomes a rich| dark syrup. It’s then crystallized| creating dry| porous| dark-brown granules.Additional info: Unlike refined white sugar| Sucanat contains iron| calcium| vitamin A| vitamin B6| potassium| and chromium.Baking tips: Very similar to baking with sugar| since it has a brownish color and tastes like warm molasses| it’s best used to replace brown sugar. Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar