16 Apr 7 Food Substitutions Every Mom Needs To Try
Life doesn’t always go as planned. When you were young, you probably had this idealistic fantasy of how you expected/hoped your future would look. You may have looked at other parents and thought, “I will NOT do that with my kids…” only to have children of your own and realize how naive you once were. (We can’t be the only ones who have done that…)
Life throws unexpected curves at you. It’s like planning a trip to Italy–You are excited for Italy. You’ve been dreaming about it for years. Then when you board the plane, you hear the pilot say that you can’t go to Italy anymore. You have been rerouted to England. There’s nothing wrong with England, but you had your eyesight and dreams on Italy. Once you arrive in England, you see all the beautiful sights there, and you begin to realize how amazing this country is, too. It may not be Italy, but it is beautiful. It’s not what you had planned, and you’ll have to tweak some things, but it turns out to be just as incredible.
Just like your rerouted trip, you didn’t plan for you (or your family members), to have food allergies. You didn’t envision cooking/baking being such a chore to avoid all the foods that could hurt your loved ones. But that’s life. That’s what’s been dealt to you, and you’re determined to make the best of it. You planned for Italy, but here you are–in England.
The Cold Hard Facts
In the United States alone, researchers estimate that around 15 million people have food allergies, and that the most prevalent food allergies are wheat, soy, milk, tree nuts, eggs, fish, and shellfish. If you don’t have a food allergy listed here, more than like you know of someone who has one of these food allergies.
When you first learned about food allergies, you may have thought, “I can’t eat any of my favorite foods anymore!” (At least that’s what we thought.) We used to avoid our food allergens like the plague. Whenever we saw someone eating it, we’d try to imagine we were the ones eating it–savoring every juicy bite as if it were our own. (You know exactly what we’re talking about, dont you?)
But that’s not how it has to be!
A Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow
Below are 7 substitutions we wished we had known when we first encountered food allergies (Side note: You don’t have to have a food allergy to replace certain ingredients in your recipes. In fact, if you’re someone who is looking to lower your cholesterol, reduce your caloric intake, or experience a different taste/texture, then you may want to check out our favorite substitutions below.)
- Eggs – In baking recipes, eggs are used to moisten and bind all the ingredients together. But you know what else gets that job done? Applesauce, or mashed bananas! Just substitute ¼ cup of fruit per egg called in the recipe. You can also try ⅓ cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin (per 1 egg) or ¼ cup yogurt. If you want the protein that eggs provide, you can also try 1 tablespoon of either flax seeds or chia seeds (mixed with 3 tablespoons of water).
- Milk – Milk does a body good, right? Well, it depends on what type of milk. If you’re lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies, try these alternatives: soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, or flax milk. Unfortunately not all of these types of milk provide the same nutrients. Some are lower in proteins, some are higher in carbohydrates, so be sure to do your research and see which option is best for you. Fortunately, Jolly Llama’s Sorbet Cream Pops are dairy-free, so you don’t need to worry about finding a substitute for it.
- Nuts – Nuts are perfect for adding a good crunch to your treat/snack. But what about those allergic to tree nuts? How about some granola, crisp rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips? Each of those will add the crunchiness you crave!
- Flour – Did you know that roughly 3 million Americans can’t eat gluten? And 97% of them are undiagnosed. If you’re amongst those statistics, try pureed beans (black or chickpeas) as a replacement to the flour called in a recipe. (Just a hint–if the recipe doesn’t call for cocoa powder, we suggest using a lighter colored bean–chickpeas–instead, or the black beans will turn your treat brown). If beans aren’t for you, try oat flour (ground oats), or a number of other flours on the market: rice flour, coconut flour, potato flour, or nut flours. Just know that each flour may change the texture or wetness of the recipe, so you may have to experience a little with it to see what works best. We know how hard it can be to find a delicious product that’s gluten free, that’s why we offer the best gluten-free sorbet cream pops. Grab one today!
- Oil – Oil is an important ingredient in baked goods because it provides texture, flavor, and moisture. It’s also high in calories, so for those looking to cut back in the calorie department, try using zucchini, applesauce, pureed fruits (pears, bananas, or prunes), or yogurt as a replacement. Keep in mind, however, that like any other substitution, these may change the overall end product a bit.
- Butter – Like oil, butter provides texture and flavor, and lots of calories. But if you can’t have dairy, or are trying to cut back on those calories, you may want to try avocados, olive oil, greek yogurt, nut butter, pumpkin puree, or even applesauce instead. (Have you noticed how versatile applesauce is yet? It’s an ingredient we always have stocked in our pantry).
- Sugar – We all know that sugar is used to sweeten things up, but not everyone wants a ton of sugar in their food. Instead of using refined sugars, try using cinnamon, agave nectar, pureed bananas/dates, molasses, raisins, applesauce, honey, or maple syrup (the real maple syrup….Sorry Mrs. Butterworth). Remember that the overall ratios will vary, so be careful to not do a 1:1 ratio.
Enjoying some of your favorite foods can still be part of your life when you find the right food substitutions. Have you tried any of these?