Wanting to cook or bake something but not wanting the extra calories? Always a problem for me. I have found these substitues to be wonderful on the calories without sparing the flavor!...

1. Black beans for flour. Swapping out flour for a can of back beans (drained and rinsed, of course) in brownies is a great way to cut out the gluten and fit in an extra dose of protein, Plus, they taste great! Who'da thunk it!

2. Whole wheat flour for white flour In virtually any baked good. Replacing white flour with whole wheat can add a whole new dimension of nutrients, flavor, and texture. Because whole wheat includes the outer shell of the grain, it also provides an extra punch of fiber, which aids in digestion and can even lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

3. Unsweetened applesauce for sugar. Using applesauce in place of sugar can give the necessary sweetness without the extra calories and, well, sugar. While one cup of unsweetened applesauce contains only about 100 calories, a cup of sugar can pack in more than 770 calories! This swap is perfect for oatmeal raisin cookies! Yum!

4. Unsweetened applesauce for oil or butter. Don’t knock this one till you’ve tried it. The applesauce gives the right consistency and a hint of sweetness without all the fat of oil or butter. This works well in any sweet bread, like banana or zucchini, or in muffins!

5. Almond flour for wheat flour. This gluten free switch gives any baked good a dose of protein, omega-3s, and a delicious nutty flavor.

6. Avocado puree for butter. The creaminess and subtle flavor of the avocado blends itself well to the texture of fudge brownies and dark chocolate flavorings.Weird I know but try it!

7. Brown rice cereal with flax meal for Rice Crispies. Brown puffed rice has the same texture as conventional white rice, but with half the calories. The flax adds extra fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals to the mix without losing flavor!

8. Marshmallow Fluff for butter and sugar for frosting. Replacing the fat and sugar in frosting with marshmallow achieves the perfect consistency with many fewer calories. While two tablespoons of marshmallow has just 40 calories and 6 grams of sugar, the same amount of conventional frosting can pack up to 100 calories, 14 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fat. Need I go on?

9. Natural peanut butter for reduced fat peanut butter. While they may appear better than traditional Skippy or Jiff, reduced fat versions of peanut butter can actually have more sugar and an extra long list of artificial additives than the classics. Natural peanut butter (preferably unsalted) provides the same sweetness without call the extra junk.

10. Vanilla for sugar. Cutting sugar in half and adding a teaspoon of vanilla as a replacement can give just as much flavor with significantly fewer calories. Assuming the recipe originally calls for one cup of sugar that’s already almost 400 calories cut out!

Try these substitutes in YOUR recipes and heck pass on some baked goods recipes for the upcoming holidays! Email me at patty@ksii.com

And while baking make sure to listen to KISS FM live online!