Dear Alice,

 Because I’m always trying to make recipes healthier and more nutritious, I was wondering if you could help me with this: If I make cake/cookies with half oil, half applesauce, and a ¼ cup less sugar and whole wheat flour, would it be counted as a “healthier” snack, and if yes what would the portion size be?


We’re always looking for ways to make our favorite foods healthier without sacrificing flavor. That being said, most of the time there is always a “healthier alternative.”

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. You can sub sugar for applesauce in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup. As for the oil, 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. On your first try, try swapping out half the fat (so a recipe using 1 cup of oil would use ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce). If you can’t tell the difference with that swap, try swapping a bit more of the fat next time around.

In virtually any baked goods, 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. For every 1 cup of white flour, substitute ½ cup of whole-wheat flour.

The natural sweetener stevia is lower in calories and up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Since it’s so much sweeter, swap with caution: A recipe calling for 1 cup of sugar should be swapped for 1 teaspoon liquid stevia (or about 2 tablespoons stevia powder).

It’s not a short-term diet. It’s a long-term lifestyle change. Make the right choice! What do you think will fill you up and keep you full? String cheese and peanut butter or Doritos and doughnuts? So yes, you are certainly going to save on calories and fat, but you will also be feeding yourself and your family more nutritious and filling foods!

Here is a great recipe for honey zucchini muffins using healthy ingredients:

Honey Zucchini Muffins


  • 3 cups peeled and grated fresh zucchini, drained
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional but recommended)


***You don’t need a mixer for this recipe.


Take the peeled and grated zucchini and put it in a colander and push down with a plate to drain out all the liquid. It should be as dry as possible.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl combine the honey, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla stir in a grated zucchini and then olive oil.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts.

Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little oil spray. Line with cupcake liners. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin mixture equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown and the top of the muffin bounces back when you press on it, about 25-30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and let cool for 20 minutes.

Yield: About 18-24 cupcakes depending on the size of the muffin pans. 

Most Read

  • Week

  • Month

  • All