Do you enjoy baking? It’s one of my favorite things to do, either for my family, for loved ones, friends, or for myself. I find it to be calming and I do enjoy baking from scratch whenever I can. Of course, I’m not above using a few shortcuts here and there but I also know that baking from scratch gives me more control over the ingredients. Recently, I’ve started looking into healthier alternatives for white flour for when I bake. Partially because we’re still looking into making some gluten free friendly changes to our overall diet and partially because it’s part of our overall steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
I’ll also be the first to admit, one of the biggest obstacles that we continually face in this quest is the budget. Eating healthy is not always budget friendly, however, I am looking further into that as well. It is definitely possible to eat healthy on a budget, it’s just a matter of being creative sometimes.
6 Healthier Alternatives for White Flour
One of the biggest misconceptions in our society’s diet is based upon the nutrition values of white flour. It is used in all types of recipes, breads, baking and gravies.
For example; people tend to have this allure to places that provide “healthy” sandwiches rather than your typical slice of pizza. When in actuality, it’s the density of the bread that can prove to make your meal even worse for you than what you may think.
White flour is:
- high in carbs,
- has less nutrition than whole grain products,
- very fattening, and
- harder for the body to digest.
By using healthier flour choices you can avoid this unnecessary mess you are inadvertently creating for your body to handle.
Following are a few substitutions to white flour you can consider next time you are baking or cooking!
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is a healthier choice than white and can be used as a substitute in baking and cooking.
This is a great option for people following a gluten-free diet. Its density and ability to rise can make it a perfect substitute for most baked goods. It also has a fraction of carbohydrates as compared to white flour.
Ideal for pancakes, muffins or cookies; this substitute could be what you have always been looking for in regards to a healthy alternative to white flour. The natural almond flavor helps to add sweetness to your recipe.
This is something unique to almond flour and a great tool to keep in your pantry.
Furthermore, if used in large quantity the flour can act like a cake batter and create a light cake-like consistency for you to work with.
Almond flour is my favorite go-to for a substitute. But that’s also because I love the flavor of almonds.
This type of flour is an exceptional tool for use in baking breads and for dough’s. It compliments other flours well and works in a way that it helps to create a more whole-wheat feel to any recipe. Also, it is ideal for thickening gravies and sweetening sauces.
A little added trick is to lightly toast the flour before use to accentuate the hidden flavors that barley flour secretly has. Also, if used in the right way, it can add a little sweetness to your recipe as well.
Despite the name, buckwheat flour is gluten free and wheat free. This makes it a good option for whole wheat substitutes. The thing that you need to watch out for in this product is its dense qualities and strong flavor.
This means it is great for use in products, such as, pancakes or pastas but you cannot use it as a thickener for a sauce because it will be too rich. Its earthy flavor can be good at times, but, can also overpower any good recipe, so try combining buckwheat with white flour in recipes.
Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour
When it comes to gluten free substitutes, this is a common go to for vegans and those with Celiac disease.
This flour is high in protein and calcium which allows you to balance out your diet. Its uses are abundant, including, for crepes, flatbread or hummus.
This is probably your classic and most dependable option when it comes to healthy flour substitutes. Oat flour is all natural and helps to create a whole what product.
Depending on which company processes it, this product can be gluten-free or low-gluten. It is optimal for use in cookie and other baked goods recipes.
In summary, these are all great options for you to use as a substitute to white flour but it is important to remember that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Unless you have Celiac disease, your body can naturally handle a bit of gluten on a regular basis, but, you should focus on the whole wheat and nutritional aspects of your diet if you are going to begin substituting for white flour. Remember, the key to being healthy is balance.
Which of these healthier alternatives for white flour would you use?