10 Tips to Healthy Home Baking
Homemade cakes and muffins are easy to make and can be more nutritious than store bought bakery. Replacing part of your recipe with healthier ingredients can improve both taste and nutrition, increasing fiber, and decreasing refined sugars, fats and oils. With nutrition and creativity as your guide there are endless ways you can make your homemade cakes and muffins a healthy option for breakfast, on the go snack, or dessert.
- Reduce the amount of sugar by 25% in your recipe. Granulated white sugar contributes to “empty calories”. Regular consumption of high amounts of refined sugar increases health risks of diabetes and heart disease, and contributes to weight gain. Using natural sweeteners such as bananas, unsweetened applesauce, coconut sugar, or maple syrup to replace part of the sugar adds natural flavors and nutrition to your recipe.
- Replace butter in your recipe with healthier oils such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil. Replace part of the fat with zucchini, applesauce, or prune puree or try using nut butters. Healthier oils contribute to your intake of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids and aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
- Replace 1/3 to ½ of white flour with almond flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or coconut flour. For every one cup white flour use ¾ cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Using unprocessed flours can help meet your daily fiber goals. Fiber helps to stabilize blood sugars and provides important prebiotics to support healthy good gut bacteria.
- To increase nutrition add fresh or frozen berries, apples, shredded carrots or zucchini, pumpkin puree, nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, ground flaxseed or wheat germ. Limit artificial flavorings and candies, that can add unnecessary calories and increase refined sugars.
- For a vegetarian option to eggs, mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water, mix together and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to thicken.
- Add natural spices, pure extracts, fresh lemon or orange zest for added flavor. Natural spices contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that support the immune system. I like to add a chai spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice.
- Using plain yogurt or buttermilk helps to add moisture, tenderize and provide a softer texture.
- For recipes using chocolate, substitute with 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, 70% or greater dark chocolate, or cocao nibs. I like to add 1-2 teaspoons of instant espresso to recipes to bring out the rich chocolate flavors.
- Skip heavy sugar sweetened frostings for a light glaze or simply add a topping made of nuts or seeds.
- Use organic whole-food unprocessed ingredients and avoid artificial food colorings or extracts. For added color use strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, beets, carrots, and pumpkin puree. Natural foods provide both color and added nutrition.
Healthy homemade baking is easy, guilt-free and can contribute to your healthy eating goals. Update a cherished family recipe or try one of the following recipes.