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These vegan and gluten-free baking alternatives will change your life

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

Baking just got so much easier thanks to this vegan and gluten-free substitutes chart

Holiday baking season is upon us, but with so many specialized diets these days, it can be tricky trying to figure out what to make your friends, family and co-workers. When your friend mentions she's gluten-free and her kids are vegan just as you go to mix up a batch of your prize-winning shortbread, it's hard to not just throw your hands up and say, "Screw it!"

Luckily there's no need for special diets to leave you feeling so Grinchy. SimplyWorkTops did the research for us, finding out which ingredients can be swapped for one another and how they stack up nutritionally.

Take sugar: 100 grams of sugar has 387 calories, while maple syrup has 262. Agave has only 68, but if you're watching your sodium, then you're better off sticking with regular sugar, as agave has 14 milligrams of sodium, while sugar has 0.

The infographic is also handy for comparing the protein, sugar and carbohydrate content of binding ingredients (like eggs, peanut butter and ground flax), fats (like butter, vegan shortening and coconut oil) and liquids (like milk, soy milk, almond milk and coconut milk). And who knew soy yogurt and lemon juice could replace margarine in baked goods? The more you know...

Whether you're looking for a way to make a moist fruitcake that doesn't contain eggs or low-sodium, gluten-free pancakes for Christmas brunch, take a look at the infographic to see what ingredients will work for you.

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