Fortunately, for those of us who are prone to gaining weight when indulging in soulful comfort foods, there are slight improvements any of us can make to begin baking healthier, in particular.
Let’s face it, baked stuff is a real temptation — these high-carb, sugary and often rich foods may be the biggest addiction in many of our lives (like crack for homemakers).
All jokes aside, the ingredients inside these treats — which too often replace meals, or come after full meals — are just too concentrated for daily consumption. That’s why all those unneeded calories and substances in our bodies can cause obesity.
1. Use Alternatives to Flour
Did you know that if you get a little creative, you can use certain ingredients like black bean meal instead of refined flour — even in a dark sweet such as brownies, and certainly in savoury recipes.
You can also use a nut flour or coconut flour, which could even improve or enhance flavours in compatible baked items (like a German Chocolate Cake). There is always good, old-fashioned whole wheat instead of white flour or pastry flours. Cookies and cakes made with whole grain flour taste much better and can actually deliver some nutrition.
2. Use Alternatives to Rice Crispies
Watch out for the starch content of rice, even when it is puffed and tastes like air. You can substitute flax or brown rice cereal, and avoid the extra carbs when you can’t stop munching rice crispies or treats made with them.
3. Use Alternatives to White Sugar
This one is a no-brainer. It seems everybody nowadays has a special requirement for their sugar allotment. Some people are on low-carb diets and opt for substitutes like maple syrup, which has a low glycemic impact.
Have you ever thought of or heard about using plain ol’ applesauce instead of white sugar? There could be slight measuring differences, such as reducing other liquid content in the recipe. We won’t belabour this point. Just choose your option versus white refine sugar, and use it!
4. Use Alternatives to Fat
You definitely do not want to use margarine or any trans-fat like a hydrogenated oil (shortening, for example). Those are just toxic. What you didn’t know perhaps is that you can use lots of yummy things instead:
- apple sauce
- flax meal
5. Use Alternatives to Eggs
Some can’t eat eggs, for whatever reason. Although there is some debate about the quality of egg protein and overall effects upon bad cholesterol levels, you can easily buy a gourmet boxed egg substitute, or be creative to use things like chia seeds, flax meal and other simple but uncommon ingredients.
6. Get Creative with Alternative Frosting
Don’t blow the health approach in your recipe with some high-fat, store-bought frosting goo. Use meringue or pure marshmallow for your glaze.
7. Healthy Fillings
You can make great use of nut butters, pure chocolate (or ‘cacao’) and other naturally thick foods. Instead of crumbled Oreos, use simple but healthy graham crackers or oatmeal cookies. Use your imagination!
8. Bake with Whole Ingredients
Real simple: wherever possible, use recipes and ingredients that are whole — not refined or pre-sugared. For example, instead of buying bagged, sweetened, shredded coconut, buy a coconut and use its fresh fruit and juice.
9. Avoid Trans-Fats
As we mentioned above, trans fats are bad — they’re already illegal in the EU and other countries. An instance would be fake butter or products with hydrogenated oils. Full butter is much, much better for you than these trans-fats, but not everybody can handle butter — so stay away from trans-fats by all means.
10. Go All the Way!
Don’t bother making a healthy cake – loaded with antioxidants and free of refined ingredients – and then go smother it in a mass-market dessert sauce, fake whipped cream or low-quality ice-cream! Don’t be daft.
Finally, why settle? Go all the way and have desserts that are 100% intentional and nutritional. How would you like the feeling of savouring an absolutely rich cake with all the trimmings, without a trace of guilt?
Now, that’s pleasure!