The Best Healthy Substitutes for Butter
A great ingredient for cooking, baking, greasing, grilling, or frying foods, butter is an ingredient that gives a soft and creamy texture to any dish. Butter can be used either as a spread or a base for cooking -it is an integral part of dish. However, some people avoid including butter and foods made with butter in their diet for various health-related concerns. Butter is high in saturated fats and can lead to clogs in arteries if consumed in excess. However, butter need not be added and can be enjoyed in several foods in some other form.
When Should You Avoid Consuming Butter?
We all love to eat butter but it may not suit all. If you have any of the following conditions mentioned below, you should avoid consuming butter and replace it with healthier substitutes.
1. If You Have Milk Allergy
Butter is low in protein, however, it contains a tiny portion of the milk protein casein which can trigger allergies. You should probably stay away from butter if you can’t digest milk and other dairy products.
2. If You Are Lactose Intolerant
People with lactose intolerance could tolerate the small amount of lactose in butter without any adverse reactions to their body. However, it all depends on the severity of the intolerance and if the levels are very high there may be a need to avoid butter and opt for healthy substitutes.
3. If You Have Health Issues
Butter is high in saturated fats and consuming it excessively can lead to increased risk of heart disease and blood pressure. Consuming butter could raise your cholesterol levels. Butter is also high in calories and if you want to cut down the calorie intake then you must avoid butter. Some don’t prefer to include butter as they do not consider it nutritious owing to the high number of calories per serving.
Best Alternatives to Butter
Butter is an important part of a functional Indian kitchen and is used for frying, sauteeing, roasting, grilling or even spreading to enhance the taste of any Indian dish. But if you don’t want to consume butter, you can consider its low-fat alternatives for cooking and even in baking. Unbelievable yet true, the following could be used as great alternatives to butter to help you reduce your fat intake and let your food taste just as good.
1. Olive Oil
The use of olive oil is not just restricted to Mediterranean cooking but it could be used even in dishes that need cooking on the stove top. Swap butter with olive oil for sautéing vegetables and meat. Olive oil is not a good substitute for baking but could be used on pancakes. Olive oil is high in monosaturated fats and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, lowers cholesterol levels, and improves blood sugar levels. However, it is calorie-dense and should be used in moderation.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter with a distinct taste. You can replace butter with ghee in 1:1 ratio. Ghee is an ideal substitute for butter in cakes, brownies, and chocolate recipes. In some recipes, the amount of ghee would need to be altered as it contains more moisture than butter. Ghee can be used for baked goods that need to be cooked at high temperatures.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a unique taste and a great aroma making it a great alternative to butter and also a better replacement than olive oil. The oil is light in texture and returns to solid state at room temperature. It also offers great health benefits and is known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
4. Greek Yoghurt
An ideal substitute for unsalted butter or salted butter too, Greek yoghurt is high in protein and can be used for foods that need to be baked. It will also provide a tangy taste to a dish and can keep the baked good moist. However, adding non-fat yoghurt could result in a dry and crumbier dish.
A great additive and a nutritious alternative to butter, avocado is high in fat but low on calories. Adding avocado can increase the overall nutritional value of any meal or baked good. It will also replace the saturated fat in butter with monosaturated fats. Avocado is ideal for people with cholesterol or blood sugar problems.
6. Nut Butter
You can either use almond butter or peanut butter in place of butter. These two forms of nut butter can provide a nice texture and flavour to any baked good. You can also use nut butter as a spread. Enjoy it on toasts and crackers.
Applesauce is another popular substitute for butter and oil in baking and can add sweetness to any recipe. It is low in calories and has high nutritional value.
8. Mashed Bananas
Quite similar to pumpkin puree, mashed bananas add nutrient and increase the density of the food lending it a creamy and soft texture without any added fat. The sweetness of the banana also adds a distinct flavour to some recipes.
For those with no aversions to dairy foods, cheese is a great spread on crackers, toast and other dishes. Cheese is less on saturated fats as compared to butter and high in calcium.
If you cannot have butter on your toast or dips, then try hummus.
Precautions You Should Take While Using Substitutes for Butter
If you are told to consume butter in moderation, then the same rule applies to its substitutes also. It is important to know the side effects that the alternatives could have on your body and the amount of portion that you are supposed to consume. It is always recommended to consume substitutes in moderation.
1. Can I Use Margarine Instead of Butter?
Margarine is an ingredient that should not be used as a substitute for butter. It is highly processed and includes inflammatory trans fats. It also does not enhance the quality or texture of the food. So it is advisable to not use margarine as a substitute to butter.
2. What Do Vegans Use in Place of Butter?
Vegans stay clear of any dairy products owing to ethical reasons. So ghee, Greek yoghurt, cheese are not the ideal vegan butter substitutes. However, vegans could use olive oil, coconut oil, prune puree, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, and avocados in place of butter.
Several foods make great substitutes for butter. Each may alter the taste of the recipe accordingly. A variety of health foods replace butter as an additive or substitute to spreads on toast, crackers and other food items.