How to bake the healthy way

Few people can resist fresh homemade baking. From cakes and biscuits to slices and souffles, there is something decadent and delicious about homemade goods - be they sweet or savoury.

Unfortunately most baking is not considered to be healthy, causing many to save it for the occasional treat or weekend indulgence.

But what if you could make cakes and muffins that were low in fat, sugar and even had nutritional value?  While there is a time and a place for your grandmother's recipes with lashings of butter, with the right approach you can create baking that is so good for you it can go in the kids' lunches or be enjoyed as a daily snack.

All you need to do is swap some of the high calorie ingredients for healthy alternatives. Here are a few suggestions.

Go sugar-free

Say no to sugar without sacrificing the sweet taste in your baked goods by using a sugar replacementStevia extract is a natural sweetener that has a delicious sugary flavour - only without the calories.

And unlike other alternatives on the market, it can withstand high temperatures, making it the perfect addition to baking.

Limit your fat intake

Once you have cancelled out sugar, next try and look at ways you can minimise the amount of fat. The main culprit in baking is butter but you can often get away without having to use it at all.

Butter is often added to cakes and biscuits to moisten the mixture. Search for recipes that use an alternative for this, such as yoghurt, extra eggs, low fat margarine or a small amount of 'good' oil.

Add extra value

Now that you have minimised the amount of fat and sugar in your baked goods, look for creative ways to add health - and flavour - to your creations.

For example, nuts, seeds and wholegrains are a great way to boost the nutritional value of a simple cake recipe.

The same goes for fruit - jam pack your muffins with peaches, blueberries and bananas for moist concoctions that are high in fibre and vitamins.

You could also look into swapping plain flour for wholemeal and using extra oats and bran.

This way your baking will be the perfect energy boosting snack for busy kids and also a great post-exercise fuel.

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