Joy McCarthy's Favourite Baking Ingredient Substitutions

Holistic Nutritionist Joy McCarthy reveals her favourite baking substitutions, and how to seamlessly incorporate them into your recipes.

Whether you’re allergic to classic baking products such as sugar, eggs or flour or choose not to consume them for personal reasons, Joy McCarthy joins us with her top recommended food substitutions. She joined us earlier on Instagram to show us how to use these substitutes when baking. Who knows – these healthy alternatives could become your baking staples!


Flour substitutes

Joy McCarthy recommends a variety of flour substitutions. Depending on your dietary restrictions and the recipe you choose to use these substitutions for, she recommends the following as all-purpose, wheat flour alternatives:

  1. Coconut flour
  2. Almond flour
  3. Brown rice flour
  4. Buckwheat flour
  5. Spelt flour
  6. Oat Flour
  7. Quinoa flour

If you don’t have any of these flours already, don’t sweat it, it’s super-easy to make your own oat flour. All you need to do is blitz your oats in a blender or food processor and voila, your healthy alternative!

Cityline’s favourite flour substitution recipe from Joy McCarthy is her double chocolate chip cookies! View the recipe here to see how she substituted traditional flour and opted for a combination of healthier options.


Sugar substitutes

Secondly, for those of you trying to add some sweetness to your life but wish to stay away from granulated white sugar, Joy McCarthy recommends the following low-calorie and healthy natural sweetener substitutes:

  1. Unsweetened applesauce
  2. Coconut palm sugar
  3. Maple Syrup
  4. Dates
  5. Raw date sugar
  6. Raw honey

It isn’t recommended to use raw honey when heated because it will lose all of its beneficial assets such as its enzymes. Instead, use honey as a garnish on your favourite muffin or on a piece of baked bread!

Wondering how you can use a sweetener such as unsweetened apple sauce? View Joyce McCarthy’s recipe here for the smoothest almond butter pancakes.


Egg substitutes

Lastly, whether you’re vegan or not, Joy McCarthy recommends the following egg substitutes for your recipes to attain a similar consistency:

  1. Groud chia
  2. Ground flax
  3. Applesauce
  4. Mashed banana
  5. Yogurt
  6. Arrowroot flour

Joy’s favourite egg substitution is using ground chia or flax. Her technique is simple:

1 egg is equal to 1 tablespoon of flax and chia and mixing it with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit until its consistency is egg-like then incorporate the mixture as appropriate into your recipe.

Looking for an eggless dessert crowdpleaser? Check out Joyce McCarthy’s collagen cookie bites recipe that has a ton of health benefits and doesn’t require baking!

How to use these substitutes

Joy McCarthy’s substitution techniques can be replicated into your family’s favourite dessert recipes. Check out Joy’s favourite gluten-free chocolate cake recipe that’s also free from granulated sugar!

Joy McCarthy is a Holistic Nutritionist and founder of, an award-winning website focused on healthy living. She is a bestselling author of Joyous Health, The Joyous Cookbook and Joyous Detox, a World Gourmand Cookbook Award recipient. She is also the co-host of the Joyous Health Podcast. She runs a business program called The Joyous Health Business Program, has a line of organic herbal teas and natural beauty products as well as a line of children’s natural supplements in partnership with Genuine Health. A trusted nutrition expert, Joy has been featured in hundreds of publications both online such as Well and Good, CNN and CBC and in print; and is a regular health expert on television including Cityline. Joy lives in Toronto with her husband Walker and their daughter Vienna. You can find her @joyoushealth on InstagramTwitter, Pinterest and on Facebook.