Do you love baking but worry about all that salty, sugary flour impacting your health? When baking, it can often be tempting to go as tasty and luxurious as possible. However, with just a few tips, you can make healthy baked goods.
You may find that some of these healthy hacks actually improve the taste and quality of your baking. Read on as we give our must-know guide on how to make healthy baked goods.
1. Use Less Salt
When making savory goods, particularly bread, we often equate salt with flavor. Bread may not be the most salt-ridden food, but this can all build up if we eat it regularly.
Too much salt in your diet can cause high blood pressure. This is linked to heart attacks, strokes, and several other ailments you would rather avoid. However, it is also an important nutrient for the body, so you have to aim for a balance.
If you buy bread from a store, you have very little say over the salt content. By baking your own and keeping salt levels low, you can regulate the intake. Ideally, for every 500g of flour, you should include no more than a teaspoon of salt.
2. Drop-In Flax
Flax is actually a flowering plant. It has many uses, from being spun into the fabric to having its pulp create linseed oil. However, it is its seeds that are a fantastic superfood.
Flax seeds are full of omega-three oil and provide fiber. They are fairly non-intrusive, so you can also add them to almost anything you bake.
They are also excellent as a replacement for eggs in vegan cooking. One tablespoon of ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of water equates to one egg, and you will find your healthy baked goods together.
3. Think About Flour
Plain white flour is a baking staple, but it can be swapped for much healthier ingredients. The most simple switch is to move to whole grain flour. It will increase the fiber content and make your bake feel denser, filling you for longer.
However, if you do not want the nutty flavor that wholegrain brings, then try other flours. Oat, barley, spelt, and cassava flour are just a few you can get hold of easily. They can be mixed or used alone, and the addition of flax seeds will really push up your fiber content.
4. Replace Fats
Not all fats are equal. Some can be bad for you, while others can be extremely healthy. If you know which ones to use, you can easily make the switch to healthier baking.
The fat is needed to add moisture and rich textures, so you can not omit it altogether. Instead, opt for unsaturated fats in your baking. Sunflower oil and cold-pressed rapeseed are great, healthy baking ingredients.
In the rest of the baking, try to avoid anything with transfat. When butter is asked, you may decide to swap half of it with something healthier, such as greek yogurt or mashed banana. This helps you keep the moisture but cut out a little of the bad stuff.
5. Cut Down on Size
It sounds simple, but one way to be healthy is to eat less sugary, bad things. You can minimize that temptation to eat two or three cookies, or a huge slice of cake, by cutting down on size.
Try halving the size of individual cakes and biscuits. If you are slicing, make sure you are doing thin slices as opposed to wedges. Making recipes in smaller batches also means you won’t have leftovers lying around to tempt you.
Also, you can cut down the size of ingredients in the bakes. Try halving the number of chocolate chips. You can even get smaller chips, meaning you still have the flavor but less sugar.
6. Add Fruit and Veg
Fruit and vegetables in baking are great for several reasons. Firstly, they add much-needed vitamins and minerals to your bakes. Secondly, they add a lot of good fiber to your diet.
They also contain a lot of moisture to keep the cake from drying out. However, if you do not adapt the recipe to accommodate your fruit, you can find the bake overly wet. Use your judgment, considering the moisture in the fruit or veg and the type of bake.
Some recipes already use these healthier ingredients. Carrot cake and banana bread are two examples. However, you can also use beetroot, zucchini, and several other delicious fruits.
7. Reduce Sugar in Baked Goods
Finally, the easiest way to achieve healthier baking is to cut down on sugar. You can take out a fourth of the sugar for most recipes and not even notice the difference. If you have other naturally sweet ingredients such as fruit and icing, you can reduce it even further.
Icing is, in fact, one area where the sugar content is through the roof. You can try to make it with alternative methods, such as greek yogurt or natural purees. In some instances, a sugary water glaze or a dash of icing sugar may not look good but will work just as well and cut the sugar back.
Make Small Gains
In summary, baked goods can be made healthy quite easily. Reduce the amounts of salt and sugar, and replace ingredients with healthier alternatives. You may even find these recipes are better than the last one!
If you enjoyed our blog, visit the rest of our articles. We have lots of advice on nutrition and health to help you improve your diet in the coming year!