I’m a bit of a baking fiend. I started as a little girl with the help of my Mom. As a teenager, a crazy Friday night for me consisted of making a big batch of cookies and devouring them with my friends while we watched classic chick flicks – wild, I know ; ) And now, my family owns a very large, very Star Wars themed cookie jar that almost never sits empty. But I know that the butter, oil, and endless amounts of flour that go along with baking isn’t so great for me. So I’ve learned a few tricks here and there to lighten things up and keep my baked goods on the healthier side.
Now don’t get me wrong – when it’s a birthday cake, the insane amount of Christmas cookies I make every December, or any other special occasion, I throw caution to the wind and embrace the power of butter and sugar. But for every-day cookies, loaves, and muffins, I’m adjusting recipes here and there to keep my family’s diet balanced. Here are seven healthy baking tips for making treats that are still pretty darn tasty.
Ditch the butter and oil
I know, I know, it’s the good stuff. But there are a few great alternatives out there to cut down the fat content of your baking. My go-to’s are unsweetened applesauce and Greek yogurt. They both work especially well for muffins and quick breads. I swear, you won’t even notice the difference!
Sadly, I haven’t found a way to make a healthy pie crust while keeping that buttery, flaky, perfect texture and taste. So I say, lose the crust! Try a crisp, a crumble, or a cobbler. You still get a bit of crunch on the top, while saving yourself the calories of a crust.
Swap out sugar for spice
I’m not saying lose the sugar completely, but try cutting back a bit. To make sure you don’t lose any flavour, get a little heavier handed with your spices. My favourites are cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.Swap out sugar for spice for healthier baked treats! #healthyfoodporn #yummy Click To Tweet
Try a sugar substitute
The list of sugar substitutes just keeps growing. Honey, agave, maple syrup, and molasses! Whether you’re vegan or just trying to be more mindful of your diet, there’s bound to be one that works for you. Just remember, all of these alternatives still contain natural sugar, so don’t go too crazy!
Embrace fruits and vegetables
Get creative with ingredients you can find in the produce aisle. They don’t call avocado nature’s butter for nothing! Use it in place of butter, or go half and half. Bananas can be a great thickener and binder, as well as a substitute for eggs. And zucchini makes for incredibly moist and flavourful baking. I hate to brag, but I make a chocolate chip zucchini loaf that my family usually gobbles down in just a day or two.
Use whole wheat or alternative flours
I like to bake with a mix of whole wheat and regular old white flour. It give things a healthier boost, without compromising taste and texture too much. But there are a ton of great flour alternatives out there. Try coconut, buckwheat, peanut, semolina, or barley.
Go the the dark side
Trust in science on this one. Studies have shown that a small dose of dark chocolate can improve your health and lower your risk of heart disease. So swap out the semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips. And eat that cookie knowing you’re doing a little good for yourself.
Try mixing up your tried and true baking recipes with a few of these. And let me know how it goes!