I like sweets and I like to bake. I love chocolate, cupcakes, cookies, you name it - I will bake it, then eat it. However, I also like to eat healthy and stay fit. And I am figuring out that those cookies I ate the other night don’t come off as easily as they once did in the past.

So whenever I get into a mood where I want to bake, I always try to search for healthy substitutions. That way I get almost the same, decadent taste without the guilt of all the calories.

Here are some healthy substitutions I have found to help me out in the kitchen:

1. Substitute Whole Wheat Flour for White Wheat Flour

I found that making pumpkin bread or cookies with whole wheat flour versus white wheat bleached flour actually cut the calories and tasted just as good. According to Fitness Magazine, “Replacing one cup of white flour with the whole wheat kind adds 10 grams of heart-healthy fiber to your famous snickerdoodles (or any other kind of cookie). Because whole grains are coarser than refined ones, start with a fifty-fifty mix and gradually increase the amount of whole wheat flour with each batch until you strike the best balance.”

2. Replace Greek Yogurt for Mayo

Instead of using mayo or sour cream for coleslaws and guacamole, I swap in greek yogurt instead. It lessens the amount of calories and still gives the same texture and taste. If you are still unsure, check out this website where they give plenty of recipe options.

 3. Almond Flour instead of bread crumbs

Although this doesn’t apply to baking as much as it does cooking, using almond flour instead of bread crumbs will help cut those extra carbs you are adding in. When you want to roll those chicken bits to create a crunch, coat it with egg, then roll it into almond flour. To create your own, check out this recipe from Mmmm Paleo.

4. If you can skip the margarine...

Although it may seem that products that aren’t actually butter, such as margarine or the fake, fluffy stuff is better for you, it’s actually not. Most baked goods call for butter - which may be a healthier alternative than that imposter stuff. However, if you feel really inspired to bake without butter, there are other alternatives to doing so. Although greek yogurt is a good replacement for Mayo or Sour Cream, it is also good for butter. Another great alternative is applesauce. Applesauce that is unsweetened is a great replacement for oils, such as canola oil or vegetable oils. To find other substitutions for butter, Everyday Health gives a few more options. And for some yummy recipes, check out Pop Sugar’s page.

To get other great ideas, check out local registered dietician Tammi Flynn’s The "3-Apple-a-Day" Planbook, where she provides plenty of recipes for all sorts of different eaters.

 Guacamole Recipe:

1 ripe avocado

Plain greek yogurt, to taste

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Minced garlic, to taste

 Instructions:

*All of this is to my desired taste. Feel free to experiment by adding in different seasonings or more or less of a certain ingredient.