Healthy Baking Hacks
Ingredients used while baking are typically high in saturated fats and sugar while being low in certain micronutrients and levels of satiation. Fortunately, there are some simple tweaks we can incorporate into our baked goods making them more nutritionally dense, higher in protein and fibre and lower in refined sugars.
Create balance while baking with these 12 simple hacks:
1. Swop out your oil
Applesauce or pumpkin puree can be used instead of oil – for every 1 cup of oil use ¾ cup applesauce / puree.
Applesauce is typically found in convenience stores overseas but can be made at home. Try this easy recipe below.
For 6 cups – can be placed in the freezer for up to 2 months
Peel and core 8 granny smith apples, cut the apples into smaller chunks. In a pot, combine ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes. Add apples to a blender with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and blend until smooth. This mixture can be frozen for up to two months.
This will ensure your baked goods remain moist while adding some extra sweetness.
2. Substitute butter with Greek yogurt
Greek yoghurt is packed with so many nutrients and substituting some or all of the butter for yoghurt will significantly lower the calories of the dish while keeping the moisture.
For every 1 cup of butter use ½ cup yoghurt and ½ cup butter.
3. Add beans!
Sounds strange right? Beans add great texture to baked dishes and have a mild flavour which can easily be masked by other ingredients. Despite being low in calories, beans are also an excellent source of plant-based protein, fibre, antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. Use black/kidney beans for brownies or chocolate cake and cannellini beans or chickpeas for blondies or vanilla muffins.
Here is a delicious protein packed chocolate brownie recipe for you to try:
- 1 tin red kidney beans (drained, rinsed)
- 60ml almond milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon nut butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 75g chocolate protein powder
- 20g cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Blend the beans, milk, eggs, nut butter and syrup. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend once again. Bake for 35 minutes or until cooked through at 180 degrees Celsius.
Optional: Add cocoa nibs for crunch and make an icing sugar from a mixture of yoghurt, protein powder and sweetener.
4. Make it vegan
Make your recipe vegan by substituting your egg for chia or flaxseeds. For 1 egg, combine 1 tablespoon of chia/flaxseeds and three tablespoons of water. Mix and leave for 10-15 minutes until thickened.
5. Make your own flour alternatives
Instead of using normal cake flour, blend up some oats to make oat fibre. This is a high fibre, cost effective option that can be used in all baked goods.
6. Don’t waste the pulp
For those with the patience to juice your own fruit and veggie juices, you’ll know that there’s loads of pulp left over with every glass of juice made. Instead of throwing it away, add it to mug cakes, muffins or loaves.
7. Replace white flour with whole-wheat
This simple tweak with lower the calories and increase the fibre content of your baked items.
100g white flour – 2.7g fibre
100g whole-wheat flour – 12.2g fibre
8. Add crunch with cacao nibs
Cacao nibs add a chocolate flavour and crunch to baked products. They are a source of healthy fats, antioxidants and iron.
9. Use PB2
PB2 is peanut butter powder with 90% less fat than peanut butter. It is made with roasted peanuts that are pressed to remove most of their oil and provides 6g of protein per serving.
When using PB2 in baked goods substitute it with 1/3 of the flour. you’ll get the taste of peanut butter with 70% less calories.
10. Cut the sugar
Replace all or a portion of the sugar with fruits such as:
- Mashed banana (1 cup sugar = 1 cup mashed banana)
- Soaked dates (1 cup sugar = puree of 1 cup dates and ½ cup hot water)
- Homemade fruit compote instead of jam
11. Flavour boost
Add extra flavour through little to no calorie, healthy options such as:
- Mixed spice
- Lemon/orange zest
12. Make a healthy icing sugar
Swop out the traditional icing sugar for a high protein sugar-free option. A quick, easy option is to combine smooth cottage cheese with protein powder – for full recipe check the Pumpkin Protein Loaf IGTV on the BurntFit Instagram page.
Written by: Nicole Keeling – Registered Dietitian, @cape.townfoods