Baking has become HUGE in 2020. Thanks to the COVID lockdown, most of us tried our hand at baking (some more successful than others). But with lots of baking, comes a lot of eating, so the hobby is not always that great to our waistlines. But luckily, there are quite a few ways to make your baked goods slightly healthier. Read on for helpful tips and tricks.
Baked goods don’t always need to be chock full of sugar. With a few smart swaps, you can transform your baked goods from sugar-laden to low-cal and full of fiber!
Don’t think this fruit is only good no toast. Because it’s a high-fat fruit (good fats, of course), it’s a great substitute for butter in frostings, puddings, cakes, brownies, and other baked goods. The texture is smooth and you will get all the nutrients from the avocado. Because it’s so smooth, it makes a delicious mousse when combined with dark chocolate!
To add moistness to a cake, oil is often added. Applesauce makes a great substitute for oil in baked goods (especially cakes and quick breads). Use the same ratio (1 cup applesauce for every 1 cup oil), and if you want to curb the added sweetness that applesauce brings, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice!
Greek yogurt is considered a health food – it’s packed with probiotics, protein, and calcium. Not only is it great with granola for breakfast, but it also makes a great substitute in many recipes. In most baked good recipes, you can substitute the fat (oil, butter, buttermilk, etc.) with Greek yogurt. It’s a lot healthier, and will work just as great as oil or butter.
Bananas are packed with nutrients – they’re high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. You can use bananas instead of sugar in your recipes. As bananas ripen, the starches turn to sugar, so you want ripe bananas that are at their sweetest. You can substitute 1 cup mashed banana for 1 cup sugar.
If you want to reduce the flour in your recipe, and increase the protein, then go for chickpeas. They work especially well in blondies and brownies, and make it rich and gooey. The chickpea flavor won’t overpower the baked goods, especially when paired with chocolate. You can even make chickpea chocolate mousse or hummus!
Flaxseeds might be small, but they pack a punch of nutrients. They make a great substitution for eggs, as they also act as a binding agent. To make one “egg”, add one tablespoon flax seeds to three tablespoons water and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A great tip to use less sugar (and trick your tastebuds) is to use a spice like cinnamon. It gives the sensation that a baked item is sweeter than it really is, so you can get away with less sugar. It works especially great in banana bread and muffins.
While many healthy substitutes are often expensive (like nuts, avocados, or natural sweeteners), whole-wheat flour is a cheaper way to make your baked goods just a little bit healthier. Normal all-purpose flour is refined and almost devoid of fiber. Whole-wheat flour on the other hand, has more fiber, and is easily incorporated into baked goods.
Dark chocolate is lower in sugar, and has many health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants, can help to improve brain functions, and even lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol. For any recipe that calls for milk chocolate, you can rather go for dark chocolate. It’s slightly bitter, but will be much better for your heart!
Dates are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and potassium. They’re also high in natural sugars, so if you’re looking for a great-tasting sugar replacement, then dates should be your go-to. Unlike refined sugar (that can spike your blood sugar), the fiber in dates helps to prevent this spike. To make your own date paste sweetener, simply blitz two cups of Medjool dates with ½ cup water.