Love Butter? Well everyone loves it. Butter is an essential spread and a baking ingredient used in a variety of recipes. The yummy taste of it is quite sinful, and one cannot resist indulging in it. The taste of butter is delicious however the composition of it is not great for your health.
With rising, consciousness about health, people have started looking for better alternatives to butter that are healthier and tastier too. Here is the guide to help you find better substitutes for butter that neither hamper the taste of your dish nor your health.
What is butter made of Components of Butter:
Butter is a dairy product. It is a highly concentrated form of milk. The butter available in the market has:
- Approximately 80 to 82% of milk fat
- 16 to 17% water
- 1 to 2% of milk solids
Butter also contains an added amount of salt. Some kinds of butter do not include salt and are called ‘sweet butter.’ Butter has a complex taste which is contributed by over 120 compounds present in it(1). Besides fats, butter also contains protein, phosphorus, calcium and the fat-soluble vitamins.
Why should you replace butter?
Parting away from something as delicious as butter is hard, but if you wish to enjoy better health in the long-term, then it is necessary to do so. Let’s look at some of the reasons as to why one must find alternatives to butter.
Fats in butter are harmful to your heart
Butter has a high amount of saturated fat content. It produces around 70% fatty acids and 25% monounsaturated fats along with some amount of polyunsaturated fats. Such high content of fats is not good for your health as it is known to increase your cholesterol level.
It also provides you with a significant amount of calories that are not great for you if you are trying to lose weight. High fat and calorie content make butter a lousy choice for your health in the long run.
It may cause allergy
People who have an allergy from milk should steer clear from butter as it is also a dairy product. It consists of fat separated from the proteins and carbohydrates of milk. But still, it contains a small amount of milk protein called casein which may be allergenic. Thus, if you have an allergy from milk, then it is best to stay away from butter.
Many people are intolerant to lactose found in milk. If you are one of them, then it is best to avoid butter. While taking in small amounts is known not to cause any adverse effect, but that much depends on your level of intolerance.
If you are more sensitive to lactose, then avoid eating butter. And you would not regret it as there are so many substitutes available that are as delicious as it.
What are the best substitutes for butter?
There are numerous butter substitutes available that contain a lesser amount of saturated fat which is bad for your health. While finding a butter substitute, the critical factor to note is that it should contain less than 80 calories and less than three grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.
Also, the substitute you choose should not contain trans-fats which are again wrong for your health as these raise the cholesterol level in the body. Following are some of the best substitutes for butter that can efficiently serve its purpose.
1. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of the best substances found in nature. The health benefits of coconut oil are widely known; thus it is popularly being used in cooking. However, to gain the benefits one must use it in moderation.
It is indeed a healthy choice if you do not overdo it. Coconut oil tastes delicious hence can be used in numerous recipes in place of butter. Besides, you can also use it as a spread and even in place of butter for cooking. Unrefined coconut oil that tastes more like coconut gets used in recipes that require rich chocolate flavors.
Health benefits of coconut oil are numerous. Though the calories it provides are more than the calories in butter, the best part is that coconut oil is known to increase good cholesterol in your body. While using coconut oil as the substitute of butter(2) use it in 1:1 ratio. You can use it in sweets and baking. Avoid adding too much coconut oil as it will affect the overall flavor of the recipe.
2. Applesauce as a butter replacement
Applesauce is another healthy butter replacement. It maintains the integrity of the dish and does not much change the taste of it. You can use applesauce for baking, in chia pudding or your oatmeal. But it must be avoided in pie crust as it does not provide you with the desired result.
Applesauce not only provides excellent taste but it has an abundant amount of fiber, vitamin C and much fewer calories. However, the sugar content in applesauce is a little bit more. Thus while using it in place of butter, you need to mind the sugar. Use it in the ratio of 1:1/2, i.e., for one cup of butter add only a half cup of applesauce.
3. Extra virgin oil of olive
Extra Virgin Olive oil(3) is the best butter substitute. It not only adds flavor to your dish but has numerous health benefits. The extra virgin oil can help fight depression, insomnia and is known to lower inflammation and the risk of various heart diseases.
As olive oil is liquid, you cannot use it in recipes that require fat to remain solid or need a creamy flavor. It works best in dishes that are savory and have a fruity or nutty flavor like sourdough bread grilled meat or pumpkin bread.
Extra virgin oil is better than light olive oil as it is high in antioxidants. Calories in olive oil are low as it is low in saturated fats. Further, the unique flavor of olive oil enhances the overall taste of the dish. Try not to use it in sweets, cakes or brownies as the strong flavor will not do justice to the recipe. Use extra virgin olive oil in the ratio 1:3/4, i.e., replace one cup of butter with a three-fourths cup of olive oil.
Also Read: Natural remedies For Inflammation and Pain
4. Greek Yogurt as an easy butter replacement
Greek yogurt is another great substitute for butter. It not only enhances the taste of your dish but also adds the right amount of proteins to it. Greek yogurt can easily replace butter in baking. Full-fat makes the baked goods a lot more tender and creamy. One must note that Greek yogurt(4) is tangy and hence modifies the flavor of your dish.
The high protein Greek yogurt is one of the favorite substitutes for butter. It works great for cakes and other baked goods giving them a creamy texture. Use Greek yogurt in your dish in the ratio 1:1/2, i.e., replace one cup of butter with half a cup of Greek Yogurt.
5. Nut Butter with high in antioxidant concentration
Nut Butter has gained a lot of popularity in recent times as these work great for butter replacement. Almond butter, peanut butter, and cashew butter are not only rich and creamy but are high in nutrients. These get extensively used in toasts, celery sticks, bananas, etc. The nut butter adds a nutty flavor to the baked goods and makes them denser.
As compared to regular butter, nut butter is high in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, and fibers. However, while incorporating them in your recipe, you must limit the amount. Calories in butter made of nuts are high too. Two tablespoons of nut butter can provide you with around 180 calories.
Try getting organic nut butter that does not contain a high amount of sugar. Or the best thing would be to make the butter at home. You can grind the nuts to get rich, creamy nut butter.
6. Hummus as a replacement for butter
Hummus is the best butter substitute if you are not only looking for flavor but also nutrition. Hummus is made up of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini. Thus, it provides you with high amounts of proteins, fiber and vitamin B6. As it is high in nutrients, hummus is an essential component of the Mediterranean diet. Hummus can also be made using black beans, vegetables or lentils.
Hummus can replace butter in numerous dishes as a topping. You can use it with eggs, sautéed vegetables, mixed greens or along with raw veggies. It may not work for sweets or baked products but can get used as an alternative to butter in savory dishes for its nutty flavor.
7. Avocados as the best butter substitute
Avocado(5) is your source of healthy fats and provides a creamy texture. It contains healthy nutrients and offers a rich taste, thus, is an excellent substitute for butter. Mashed avocados are widely in use as a spread. You must have tried avocado toast. It is a super-delicious recipe.
If you haven’t, then try it now, and you will forget everything else. Avocados also work great with eggs, and you can use them in almost anything. The creamy texture of avocados will leave you yearning for more.
While using avocados in place of butter add it in the same amount to the recipe as you would add butter. Avocados are a rich source of fiber, proteins, and phytonutrients that provide numerous health benefits. Consuming avocado can help prevent the growth of cancer cells and reduces inflammation.
8. Mashed Bananas as healthy substitutes for butter
Banana is your magical fruit that offers a considerable amount of nutrition. These are high on proteins with fewer calories and fewer fats which makes them an excellent ingredient to be included in your diet.
Bananas are mainly known for their high fiber content which promotes good digestive health. Thus, if you are looking healthier substitute of butter that provides a creamy texture to your dish along with numerous health benefits, then banana can work great.
Bananas are high on natural sugars. Thus they work as a great substitute of butter in sweets and baked goods. Also, as their sugar content is high, you need to limit the amount of sugar that you add to the recipe. The trick to adding a banana to your method is to mix it slowly in small amounts to the batter to get the desired consistency.
9. Pumpkin Puree with its high nutritious content
Pumpkin Puree is another excellent butter replacement that gets added to bread, coffee cakes, muffins, and plain yogurt. It is rich in nutrients and thus works as a healthy replacement for butter. Pumpkin Puree comes loaded with potassium, fiber and a significant amount of Vitamin K. Moreover, the calories that it provides are much less than the calories in butter.
Thus, you can replace butter in almost every recipe with pumpkin puree that comes loaded with nutrients. Use the pumpkin puree in your dish in the ratio of 1:3/4, i.e., for a cup of butter use three-fourth cup of pumpkin puree.
10. Buttermilk as a replacement for butter
Buttermilk(6) can also work as a butter replacement in numerous recipes. If you aren’t allergic to milk, then you can use it without any worry. The best part is you can make your buttermilk easily at home, so when there is urgency you can try buttermilk in case of butter. To make buttermilk at home add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and keep it for 5 minutes.
Use buttermilk in the ratio of 1:1/2, which means substitute a cup of butter for half a cup of buttermilk. It usually works well with every recipe except pie crust. It is because when used in pie crust, buttermilk changes the consistency of the dough. It may make the crust too crumbly.
What are the butter substitute benefits?
Butter as you now know with its high saturated fat content isn’t good for your health. Thus you can replace with some better ingredients. These provide you with lesser calories and loads of nutrients that are great for you. Following are the benefits of the butter substitutes that will immediately make you rethink about using butter(7).
Rich source of nutrients
Substitutes of butter like avocado, olive oil, etc. are a rich source of healthy nutrients that are great for your body. You get a high amount of fiber, proteins, and antioxidants that are great for your health. Further, these are low in fat and provide you with less amount of fats saturated as well as unsaturated fats.
Prevent allergies caused by milk
Butter as already told contains a small amount of protein called casein. Casein is a milk protein which can be a trouble for those who are allergic to milk. Those with high sensitivity to milk might suffer from allergies to consuming butter. The allergies that occur due to butter are rashes, hives, wheezing, vomiting, breathing troubles, etc. Those with a severe allergy to milk can happily replace butter with the substitutes and enjoy delicious dishes.
Read More: Essential Oils for Allergies
Offer relief from lactose intolerance
Some people might not be able to digest lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. It is because of the low production of lactase in the small intestine. Lactase is the enzyme that helps in the digestion of lactose.
Due to lower production of lactase, people may suffer from lactose intolerance. It means that on consumption of dairy products they might suffer from bloating, nausea, diarrhea, etc.
If you also suffer from these troubles, then it is necessary to stay away from dairy products including butter. The butter substitutes are blessings for people like you who have lactose intolerance.
Prevent the risk of heart diseases
High on fat foods are not suitable for your heart health. People consuming high-fat products are known to be more vulnerable to various cardiovascular diseases. It gets attributed to the clogging of the blood vessels due to the high amount of fats.
There are also contradictory theories that say consuming butter causes no stress on your heart. Thus, the effect of butter on your heart is not apparent. But the key to a healthy heart and healthy life is moderation.
You should consume butter in a limited amount to prevent any risk to your heart. It would be better to replace it with other substitutes that pose no such health hazards and are low in fat content.
The butter substitute benefits are many. These can easily replace the butter in your recipe without affecting its flavor. However, you might need to experiment with what substitute is better for a particular dish. The alternatives mentioned above are no doubt healthy and tasty. These are worth a try!
Read More: Shea Butter Benefits
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is margarine not a good butter replacement?
Margarine is known to contain trans-fat which increases the cholesterol level in the body. Increased cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease. Hence, margarine is not good for your heart health. Therefore, it does not qualify as a good substitute for butter.
2. Is whipped butter healthier than regular butter?
Whipped butter is low in fat and calories as compared to regular butter. The amount of sodium is also less than that found in regular butter. Thus, whipped butter is better than regular butter.
3. Why is nut butter good for health even though it provides high calories?
Though nut butter contains high calories, it is also high on essential nutrients. If consumed in moderation, nut butter can be healthy and fulfilling. It improves your body metabolism and keeps you fit and healthy.