While the holidays may look a little different this year, it’s still a time to bake and indulge. With that said, there are still healthy choices to be made within our tasty traditions. Swapping processed flour for white flour alternatives is an easy way to add variety and nutritional merit to your perennial favorite pastries.
Why bake with white flour alternatives?
The “process” in “processed white flour” refers to stripping the grain of its natural vitamins and minerals, then pumping it full of preservatives and refined sugar. All that processed white flour can give you a holy terror of a tummy ache, high blood pressure, loads of inflammation, feelings of fatigue, and unwanted anxiety.
To keep baking from making your holidays harder, here are six of our favorite healthy white flour alternatives. We’ve also added in some seasonal recipes using these great grains, just for the festivities!
Whole Wheat Flour
Denser. Darker. More fiber. Whole wheat flour, while less fluffy than white, is the perennial favorite of many healthy bakers. What differentiates whole wheat from regular wheat flour is that all parts of the grain are used — bran, endosperm, and germ — whereas refined grains only use the endosperm. As a result, whole wheat flour is nutrient dense, with large stores of iron, protein, and fiber. Substitute whole wheat as a white flour alternative at a one-to-one ratio.
Ground from whole quinoa kernels, this fine flour adds a moist, spongy texture and a whole lot of health to baked goods. Free of gluten and packed with plant protein, unsaturated fats, and fiber, quinoa flour also boasts a variety of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Plus, you only need about half as much as you’d use with wheat flour.
Made from grinding dried coconut flesh, coconut flour adds a rich, satisfying texture to baked goods. This white flour alternative packs in a ton of healthy fats, fiber, protein — and it’s significantly lower in omega-6 fats, which most people with a western diet eat too much of. Since coconut absorbs liquid better than other flour, it plays best with dishes that already have a good amount of moisture, especially those that use eggs.
One of the most popular white flour substitutes, almond flour is a perfect baking companion. It’s full of rich flavor, omega-3 saturated fats, plant protein, fiber, vitamin B, vitamin E and Magnesium. You can replace white flour with almond flour at a one to one ratio, which makes substitutions super convinent.
One of the most convinient white flour alternatives, as you can make your own at home with oats and a food processor. Oats are nutrient dense, and incredibly satisfying. This antioxident-filled flour is also loaded with soluble fiber that provides a longer feeling of fullness.
Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour is known for its mild nutty flavor and texture, and for being more satisfying due to its higher fiber content and lower glycemic index. Stuffed with vital nutrients like manganese, selenium, and b vitamins, brown rice is gluten free and delicious any way you cook it. Brown rice flour in particular is a versatile baking ingredient, perfect for both savory and sweet goods.
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