Butter is widely used in baking and as spreads. But there are genuine reasons to replace it with healthy substitutes.
Reasons To Replace Butter
Butter is milk fat. It is a dairy product that is separated from milk protein and carbohydrates. It is 80 % fat and is high in saturated fats. Some studies suggest high saturated fats in butter may raise cholesterol more than the saturated fats in other dairy products.
Being high in fat, butter is also high in calories, and so if you are on a weight loss program and need to cut calories from your diet, you may want to cut butter.
Butter contains casein and those who are allergic to casein or have milk allergy requires to avoid it altogether.
Another reason to avoid butter is lactose intolerance. Although butter contains a very little amount of lactose and so it is to some extent tolerated by people with lactose intolerance. But, if in comparison to others you are much more sensitive to lactose, you will have to avoid butter.
The above reasons are enough to persuade you to search for healthy butter alternatives. So, What are the healthy substitutes to butter?
Butter alternatives For Baking
In baking, butter is used as a levelling agent. It makes the baked goods fluffy and light and contributes to its delicious flavour and moist or flaky texture. If levelling agent is not added the baked goods will be dry, flavourless and flat. But, there are many other alternatives of butter that act as a levelling agent and also healthy.
Healthy Oils And Fats That Can Be Replaced By Butter In Baking
- Olive Oil- Olive oil is rich in antioxidants. It is rich in vitamin K and vitamin E. The antioxidants present in olive oil are biologically active. They fight inflammation, protects blood cholesterol from oxidation and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
Substitute olive oil for butter at 3:4 ratio. This means that if for a recipe you need a cup of butter then replace it with a three-fourth cup of olive oil.
For recipes such as muffins and pumpkin bread that have a nutty, savoury or fruity quality, the strong flavour of olive oil works best.
*For the recipes that require fat to remain solid, olive oil being liquid is not a better substitute.
- Ghee- Ghee or clarified butter has a nutty and aromatic taste. It is rich in healing properties. Ghee is rich in fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of ghee include balancing hormones, aids weight loss and maintains healthy cholesterol. The high heat point of ghee prevents the production of free radicals. Also, ghee is rich in butyric acid that supports the health of intestinal walls and keeps constipation at bay. According to the book, ‘healing foods’ fats present in the ghee are directly used as energy and not stored, and so fat in ghee is not associated with heart diseases. Studies show that ghee increases the level of good cholesterol and reduces the level of bad cholesterol.
In baking substitute ghee at 1:1 ratio.
Ghee is a good option for baked foods with desirable strong flavour. It is best for the items that are prepared at high temperatures such as cookies and bread and items that are served warm.
*In comparison to butter, ghee provides more moisture so alter the amount of flour and water accordingly.
- Greek yoghurt– Greek yoghurt is a rich source of protein. Being packed with probiotics, it boosts the gut health and body immunity. It is rich in vitamin B12 that is required for the healthy function of the brain. Also, it is high in potassium and balances the level of sodium and potassium in the body. Greek yoghurt is rich in iodine that is required for healthy metabolism and is high in calcium that regulates the body’s cortisol output and, limits the production of fat in the body. Also, calcium is needed to maintain the health of bones and muscles.
For baked products where you need to add moisture and protein without adding extra fat or calories, Greek yoghurt is a good option. Greek yoghurt gives a velvety texture to cakes and bread. Replace a cup of butter with a half a cup of Greek yoghurt wherever required.
- Coconut Oil– Unrefined coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It kills harmful bacteria, fungi and virus and prevents infections. The healthy saturated fats in coconut oil boost fat burning and provides brain and body with quick energy. Also, it raises the level of good cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart diseases. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids that goes straight to the liver and there they are used as a quick energy source or are turned into ketones that treat epilepsy, Alzheimer’s etc. Also, ketone has an appetite reducing effect, it curbs hunger and helps you lose weight.
For baking, you can replace butter with coconut oil in at 1:1 ratio. Coconut oil has a mildly sweet flavour and adds flavour, aroma and moisture to the baked goods. It is best for making cookies, bread, brownies, cakes and pie crusts.
- Pumpkin Puree– Pumpkin puree is rich in beta-carotene, fibre, potassium and vitamin C. It is good for the heart.
Use 100% canned pumpkin puree that should not contain any other ingredient. It adds sweet-savoury flavour to the baked goods along with moisture.
Substitute one cup of butter with three-fourth cup pumpkin puree.
It is best to make bread, cookies, muffins and spiced desserts.
- Mashed Banana- Banana is a good source of potassium and fibre. It prevents high blood pressure, asthma, cancer, heart disease, digestive issues and diabetes.
Replace one cup butter with half cup ripe and mashed banana. Ripe banana is ideal to make brownies, quick bread and muffins. Not only it adds moisture but also adds a sweet flavour.
* The only minus point is banana adds a noticeable flavour to the recipes.
*While adding mashed banana to the batter make sure to be a little slow until the desired consistency is reached.
Butter Alternatives As Spread
Those who think that only margarine and butter are the only spreads, here we have healthy alternatives to use instead.
- Hummus– Hummus is made from seaman paste, lemon, garlic and chickpeas. Salt is added to taste. It contains only 10-20% fat and is low in saturated fats. You can easily store it in the fridge.
- Olive Oil- Olive oil is added to most of the Mediterranean foods. It is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It fights inflammations, protects blood cholesterol from oxidation and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Toss some tomatoes, onion, basil leaves and pepper adding a teaspoon of olive oil. This healthy butter alternative will add zesty and fresh flavour to toast and bread.
- Peanut Butter– Peanut butter is kids favourite. It is an excellent alternative to butter. Besides healthy fats, it is also rich in protein. Before you buy peanut butter, read the label properly because most of the peanut butter sold in the market contains added oil and sugar. Besides peanut butter, cashew butter and almond butter spreads are also available.
*Those who have peanut allergy better avoid it.
- Mashed Avocado– Avocado contains healthy fats and monounsaturated fatty acids. Mashed avocado makes a great spread. It is loaded with phytonutrients, fibre and contains more potassium than a banana. It reduces the level of bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, it reduces inflammation and growth of cancer cells.
- Cottage Cheese– Cottage cheese is rich in protein. It has a soft consistency and mild taste. You can spread it over bread, toast, crackers or crispbread. Go for low-fat cottage cheese.
- Ricotta- Risotto is made by cow’s milk whey or made from whey that is left over from other cheese. It is a byproduct of cheese which is smoother in texture in comparison to cottage cheese. Not only ricotta is a spread but can also be added to dishes like lasagne and used in baking.
- Applesauce and Apple Butter– You can make apple butter at home. Peel and chop three large apples and cook them in a bowl at low flame. Add a teaspoon ground cinnamon, one-fourth teaspoon ground clove and a half teaspoon ground ginger. Also, add a one-fourth cup water to it. Cook at low flame for about 6 hours. The apples should become tender and fall apart so that you can easily mash them with a fork. Enjoy the applesauce as a spread. To make apple butter, you need to cook it more. Cover the pot with a lid and cook it at low flame for another 6-8 hours. The applesauce will reduce to half the quantity and will become thick. You can store thick apple butter in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator and use it whenever needed.
Those who are looking for butter substitute for sauteing try bone broth, chicken stock or vegetable stock. All these three substitutes will keep your food tender and juicy besides adding nutrients and flavour to the food. Bone broth, vegetable stock and chicken stock promotes digestion, boost the immune system and prevents cellulite and arthritis. You may also use coconut oil or olive oil for the same.
As you can see that several foods that are better and healthy butter alternatives. These foods might change the flavour or consistency of dishes, so make changes to the recipe keeping this particular point in your mind.