5 Healthy Holiday Baking Hacks

November 2020 - Nutrition

Warm up the oven. Break out your mixers. Arm yourself with parchment paper. It’s baking season!

These tips provide ways to make special treats and meals healthier without loosing taste and the satisfaction of holiday favourites.


Choosing plant-based foods can also be the most important action you take to protect our planet. Most baking recipes can easily become plant-based by finding different options for eggs, butter, and milk. Here is how you swap out some animal-based ingredients for plant-based options without losing taste or texture:


All of the following options are a good swap for 1 egg. Make adjustments based on what your recipe calls for.

  • Vegan Mayo 3 Tbsp
  • Applesauce ¼ cup
  • Aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas): 3 tablespoons whipped
  • Chia or flax egg
    • 1 Tbsp of chia or flax seed (ground)
    • 4 Tbsp of warm water
    • Mix the ingredients together and let stand for 15-20 min until a jelly is formed

Nut Milk

All you have to do is reach for a plant-based nut or seed-based option. We recommend using a plain unsweetened version.


Fruit swaps

Date Paste

  • Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping date paste for granulated sugar
  • To make date paste
    • Soak 1-2 cups of dates in filtered water for 30 minutes
    • Remove dates from water and blend until smooth and creamy
    • Use soaking water to adjust the texture if necessary
  • Side note: this will give your baked goods a slightly less sweet taste with a fluffy texture and may be more cake-like


  • Use a 1:1 ratio here as well: if the recipe calls for a cup of sugar, use a cup of mashed ripe banana instead
  • Choose a ripe banana with some brown spots (or even fully brown). Keep in mind, this will give your recipe a slight banana flavor

Monk Fruit or Stevia

These options are lowest sugar and work particularly well with muffins and cookies.

  • Use 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of undiluted stevia or monk fruit powder or 1 teaspoon of a liquid extract for each cup of sugar
  • Remember you need to add a bulking agent or they will be very dense! For each 1 cup of sugar substituted, use 1/3 cup of a bulking agent like banana, date paste, vegan mayo, apple sauce, unsweetened yogurt alternative or aquafaba.


  • 1:1 ratio of applesauce or other fruit purees
  • 1:1 ratio of any plant-based versions of…
    • Butter
    • Yogurt
    • Sour cream
    • Mayo (best option for texture)
  • Or just make sure you are using a good quality, unrefined, and organic oil like coconut, olive, or avocado oil.


The easiest option here is to use a plant-based butter with no hydrogenated oils in a 1:1 ratio.

Other options include:

  • A good quality, unrefined, and organic oil like coconut, olive, or avocado oil
  • For the following options use ½ of the measurement the recipe calls for. Example, if it calls for ½ cup of butter, you’d use ¼ cup
    • Yogurt alternative (unsweetened)
    • Apple sauce or other fruit puree

Remember that baking is chemistry! Give these options a try and know that some trial and error might happen – you’ll get the hang of it.

Article adapted from myvega.ca

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