Make Your Baking More Healthy

Winter is a great time to indulge in baking.  The cookies, cakes, heavy stews and sauces taste wonderful, but they may not be the most heart healthy foods.  If you want to enjoy the taste and aroma of these winter comfort foods, while still watching your health, try some of the following steps.  You will still enjoy delicious foods and they will be more nutritious and better for your health.

  1. You want to reduce the sugar you consume. You can still enjoy the sweetness of a food by using a natural sweetener in place of some of the sugar in a recipe.

Honey – For one cup of sugar substitute ¾ cup plus one tablespoon of honey.  This is better suited as a substitute for sugar in cookies.  Honey will make things moist and dense and the food will brown faster.

Molasses – This will make baked goods darker and it has a strong taste.  Molasses is not as sweet as sugar.  Because it is acidic you will need to add an extra one half teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of molasses used.  Use one and one third cup of molasses for every cup of sugar and reduce the liquid in the recipe by five tablespoons.

Maple syrup – You want to use the Grade B when baking because it is darker and thicker than the grade A syrup.  For a cup of sugar in a recipe replace it with three quarters of a cup of maple syrup.  Reduce the liquid ingredients by three tablespoons.

Fruit juice concentrate –  The concentrate will add an interesting taste to your baking and works very as a sugar substitute.  Use three quarters of a cup of fruit juice concentrate for each cup of sugar and reduce the liquid in the recipe by three tablespoons.

  1. Reduce the fat in your recipes. You can use low fat yogurt or fruit puree in place of the fat.  Some fat is helpful and it helps us digest food slower and helps keep us full longer.  Replace the butter or oil with applesauce or pumpkin puree in a recipe when you are baking.  Your baked goods will still be moist and will be healthier.  You can also reduce some of the fat when baking by substituting two egg whites for every whole egg.
  2. You probably will not notice any difference if you use lower fat dairy in your recipes. If your recipe calls for milk use 2% instead of whole milk or cream.  If the recipe calls for sour cream use the low-fat version.
  3. Include more fruits and vegetables in your baking. Your baking will be more nutritious if you add some nutrient-rich foods such as zucchini, avocado, blueberries, raspberries and apples.  It’s easy to add some of these fruits to your home baked muffins.  Zucchini makes a delicious bread or muffin.
  4. Add some flax meal or chai seeds to your baking. These are a great source of fiber, nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Try using some of these suggestions when you are baking this winter.  Making a few substitutions for the sugar and fat in your recipes just may help you stay in shape for the coming summer and swimsuit season.