Cooking and baking can be incredibly hard to motivate yourself to do. "What if I bake it too long?" "What if I add too much seasoning?" "What if it doesn't taste good?" One of life's biggest disappointments is being excited about the new Pinterest recipe you found and it ends up coming out looking, and tasting, like garbage. If you have a dietary restriction of any sort on top of these worries, whether that is through calorie maintenance, an intolerance to certain foods, or a condition that highly stresses a nutrient limitation, trying to cook or bake anything novel probably sounds like a straight up waste of time. It is easy for individuals to settle for only making recipes they know work for them and limiting themselves to just those dishes to consume. It is also difficult to have these types of restrictions because people often feel they are unable to enjoy recipes that even sound appealing to make. Well, thats not true. Just about anything can be altered to accommodate one's diet with just a couple ingredient switches. This article will provide several healthy ingredient substitutes that can be used in place of common dish elements. These choices can help to limit fat, salt, sugar, and calories, so you can become a master chef, while also a master of your body. 

For All Purpose and White Flour:

cereal, quinoa, coffee, herb, sesame seed, amaranth
Christin Urso

All purpose or white flour can lead to increased risk of high blood pressure, inflammatory diseases, hypoglycemia, and a suppressed immune system.  A couple of swaps that can be used as healthy ingredient substitutes, instead of these types of flours, are whole wheat flour, coconut flour, rice flour, and almond flour. You can also utilize xanthan gum, corn starch, or flax seed meal as well. One quarter of a cup of black beans can even be used instead of one cup of your normal flour. One tip is to be sure to conduct some research on the type of flour substitute you may want to utilize, as sifting may be required and different preparations may be necessary to ideally produce your recipe. 

For Eggs:

avocado halves, avocado pit, avocado
Jocelyn Hsu

People may choose not to consume eggs for a variety of reasons, the main including allergic reactions, intolerances, and preferences. A few healthy ingredient substitutes for eggs are applesauce, tofu, smashed bananas, greek yogurt, and pureed avocado. When picking out an egg substitute, a helpful note is to base your decision upon what you want your "egg" to provide for you in your recipe. For example, if your recipe calls for egg as a moisture agent for baking, garbanzo beans might be your go to alternative. However, if your recipe is mainly utilizing egg as a source of binding, then a chia seed mix with water, might be a better option. 

For Butter:

olive oil, herb, tea, oil, rosemary
Jessica Kelly

Now why would anyone ever want to replace butter? This may come as a surprising shock, but there are actually quite a few reasons why. Butter is very high in saturated fat, which can lead to increased cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Butter is also high in calorie content and depending on what type you purchase, may contain an undesirable amount of sodium. Not to mention lactose intolerance and allergic reactions can occur following butter intake. Healthy ingredient substitutes for butter include olive oil, nut butters, and greek yogurt for baking. As a spread, avocado and hummus can be swapped. Be careful when picking out butter alternatives, as there are many out on the market that are not any better from a nutritional standpoint. Solid margarine or other animal derived fats, such as lard, are two big ones to possibly avoid, as these often contain high amounts of trans and saturated fats. 

For Red Meat:

meat, pork, fish, beef, ham, fillet, bacon, sausage, seafood
Jocelyn Hsu

Some of the best foods this world has to offer are burgers, tacos, and bacon. Unfortunately, these foods don't contribute necessarily to the best health. Red meat, such as pork, beef, and lamb, can lead to increased diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease as they are high in saturated fat. However, just about any dish can be made the same with lean protein sources as healthy ingredient substitutes, such as chicken, turkey, and tofu. These lean sources often come prepared at the grocery store as you need them for your recipe, whether that is in ground form, a sausage, or in burger patties. 

For Salt:

Spice, spices, oregano, chili powder, cumin
Victoria Hoang

It is nearly impossible to avoid sodium completely, however too much of it can provide serious potential health complications. The majority of the population consumes well over the amount of salt that is suggested every day at 3500 mg. Too much salt intake leads to increased blood pressure and high risk for future cardiovascular complications. Instead of using salt, healthy ingredient substitutes can include utilizing herbs, spices, and lemon/ lime juice to add flavor to dishes. 

With knowledge and understanding in regards to substitute ingredients, one can turn almost any recipe into a healthier, more acceptable version for them to consume. There is no need to feel discouraged and trapped by dietary restrictions because these limitations are not as broad as believed to be. Who knows, maybe avocado brownies are better than the originals anyway.