Butter is one of the main ingredients in a number of our recipes. It is most frequently used in baked goods as well as various other dishes. However, as we have been taught since we were children, too much of anything can’t be good for you. Butter has a lot of saturated fat, that clog your arteries, which isn’t the healthiest option, especially if you’re trying to fit into that dress you bought 10 years ago. This isn’t the only reason people may avoid butter in their everyday meal.
Many people avoid butter as they are lactose intolerant, which makes it impossible for their body to digest milk and milk products. Inspite of these issues, you can still indulge in your favourite buttery meals while avoiding butter’s harmful side effects. How do you do that? With a good substitute.
There are a handful of ingredients that count as a healthier alternative for butter. These ingredients still maintain the creamy texture of your meal while reducing the fat and increasing the nutritional value.
Read More: 11 Surprising Benefits of Cocoa Butter
7 Amazing Healthy Substitute for Butter
How to use
Just use ¾ cup of puree to substitute for every cup of butter. Pumpkin puree is a perfect swap for butter when making coffee cakes and muffins. The puree adds moisture to the recipe. Since pumpkin puree and butter have different consistencies, make sure you keep an eye on the proportions that you are adding to your recipe. On a side note, you can also substitute recipes that call for oil with pumpkin puree. Also make sure you don’t mix up your pumpkin puree with your pumpkin pie filling (it happens to the best of us).
While reducing the amount of calories and fat, applesauce is another excellent substitute for butter. Although, it retains the moisture in baked goods like cookies and cakes, its sweetness may require reducing the amount of sugar in the original recipe.
How to use
If your recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, replace that with half a cup of applesauce. If you don’t mind a denser finish then substitute the whole amount of butter with applesauce. This substitute helps maintain the integrity of the taste (not that the others don’t) but for those of you with a sensitive palate, applesauce is the go-to alternative.
Although this substitute may be high in fat, it is monounsaturated fat. There are two kinds of cholesterol – the good kind and the bad and by using avocados in your food you would be reducing the bad cholesterol and increasing the good (who knew?). Avocados make for a delicious spread and its paste can be used as a substitute for butter in baked goods. It is also high in fibre, Vitamin K, potassium and helps fight heart disease. So it really is the healthier option. Not only will this lower the calorie content, but it will also provide a softer and chewier final product. Avocados seem great on their own, but they also boosts the nutritional factor of the foods eaten along with them.
According to the USDA, coconut oil has 0% salt and a better balance of fats. This basically means that it is a lot better than butter. This substitute has cholesterol-lowering and metabolism-boosting properties which make it ideal for your diet.
How to use it?
When adding coconut oil to your recipes, adding 50% less of the quantity of butter can still achieve the same texture and consistency required. So if you’re looking for the healthier option then simply substitute coconut oil for butter. Its unique flavour is said to really compliment the other ingredients.
Using half a cup of Greek yoghurt for every half cup of butter gives you that velvety texture, as well as the moisture. This substitute is also a great source of protein without the extra calories. To doge a disappointing result, make sure to substitute plain, non-fat Greek Yoghurt for butter. Since yoghurt increases the moisture in the recipe, try increasing the flour content to avoid ending up with a soggy end product. For recipes that require melted butter, try increasing the other liquid quantities in the recipe to compensate for the thickness of the yoghurt.
Nut butter is 50% fat compared to butter which is 80% fat, making it the healthier option. This substitute is high in protein, where 1 tablespoon contains 5 grams of protein. Not only does it have less fat, but it has monounsaturated fat which helps fight heart disease and is actually recommended by doctors. It is important to look for nut butters in which peanut and salt are the main ingredients as opposed to the sugar loaded versions. 1 cup of butter can be substituted with one cup of nut butter.
For best results, combine equal parts nut butter with oil (preferable coconut oil). Almond butter is one such nut butter which is easy to spread since it doesn’t harden in the fridge. It is important to purchase minimally processed products for the best flavour. In baking, almond butter is a much better alternative to other nut butters as its natural sweetness compliments many baked goods and may allow you to reduce the sweetening ingredients you may use in your recipes.
Last but certainly not the least, the hero of many salads and baked goods alike; olive oil. One teaspoon of butter can be replaced by 3/4 teaspoon of olive oil. By substituting butter for olive oil, you cut back on all the cholesterol and saturated fat content of the desserts, while adding vitamin E to your diet which also maintains the freshness of the food. Extra virgin olive oil gives the dish a light texture but has a distinct flavour so it’s best to use it minimally. Benefits of olive oil include low saturated fat and plenty of antioxidants.
It’s a wonder why people even use butter when we have so many healthier alternatives. So the next time you are craving a piece of brownie, instead of reaching for that tub of butter, why don’t you give one of these substitutes a try and share your experience with us.