These Healthy Swaps Can Replace Your Butter

From swapping French fries for nutritious vegetables to trading alcohol for healthier beverages, more people are looking to new options, and butter is no exception. According to MarketWatch, the milk and butter industry was valued at almost $2 million last year, and it's estimated to grow 3.75% over the next 5 years. Brands like Nestle, Dairy Farmers of America, and Land O'Lakes lead the pack as key players, and with options spreading to include plant-based products, it comes as no surprise. While gains may look promising for the bottom line of milk and butter businesses, many are seeking choices that are just as promising for their health.

Chef and registered dietician Micah Siva told Pure Wow that plant-based butter is basically the new and improved margarine, made from a blend of different oils. Even though they don't contain trans fat or dairy, Siva says plant-based butter isn't any healthier than dairy-based butter and it won't help you reach nutrition goals.

If this news has you feeling like you just took two steps back, healthy butter alternatives do exist.

These plant-based alternatives may surprise you

Avocado is a great substitute for butter and mayonnaise. As a healthy fatty fruit full of oleic acid, according to WebMD, avocados can help reduce inflammation in the heart, blood vessels, and blood. This is good news because while Stat News says butter doesn't necessarily increase the risk of heart disease, each tablespoon of butter equals a 1% increase in mortality risk. From a flavor perspective, avocados are naturally bland, so you don't have to worry about it altering the taste of what you're cooking too much. According to California Avocado, you can swap a cup of butter for 1 cup of pureed avocados.

Pumpkin purée, bananas, and applesauce can all be used to replace butter. Each of these options is naturally on the sweeter side, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're baking desserts or cooking dishes in which you can reduce added sugar. In terms of how much to substitute, Taste of Home says 1 banana is equivalent to a stick of butter. Because pumpkin purée and apple carry a bit more moisture than butter, you won't have to use as much. For every cup of butter, PopSugar recommends using 3/4 cup of pumpkin purée and Bob's Red Mill recommends 1/2 cup of applesauce.