If you love to bake and make desserts, we’ve got you covered with 5 simple tips for healthy baking! You can turn any of your favourite desserts into healthier options with these easy tips that ramp up the nutrition while keeping the same great taste.
1. Swap out refined sugar for fruit
Try swapping out up to ½ of the refined sugar in your recipe for fruit. Fruits contain natural sugars that are great for adding sweetness to baked goods, along with a boost of fiber and nutrients like vitamin C. Our favourite fruits to use in baking are apple and banana!
Replace the sugar in your recipe with applesauce, shredded apple (keep the peel on for the most nutrition) or mashed banana in a 1:1 ratio.
Tip: Use ripe bananas in your baking. They give the most sweetness!
With this swap, you’ll need to fine-tune the amount of liquid in your recipe. Typically, reducing the liquid (milk, water, etc.) by ¼ cup will do the trick. If the recipe calls for no added liquid, there’s no need to adjust. This swap works the best with loaves, muffins and brownies. This chocolate zucchini cake calls for applesauce as a natural sweetener!
2. Replace butter or oil with Greek yogurt
Swap some of the oil, sour cream or butter in your recipe for Greek yogurt as a healthy and high-protein alternative! Your dessert will also get a boost of calcium and vitamin D.
Choose plain unsweetened yogurt for a lower sugar option, and don’t be afraid to use a Greek yogurt that contains fat. It will give a creamier consistency to your dessert compared to a zero-fat yogurt. Try this creamy chocolate pudding made with Greek yogurt, banana and avocado!
• 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup Greek yogurt
• 1 cup butter = ½ cup butter + ½ cup Greek yogurt
• 1 cup oil = ¾ cup Greek yogurt
• 1 cup heavy cream = ½ cup heavy cream + ½ cup Greek yogurt
3. Replace white flour for whole wheat flour
Use whole wheat flour in your next dessert to add more nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, potassium and iron.
Try replacing up to half of the white flour in your recipe for whole wheat flour to keep the same great taste and texture. Opting for 100% whole wheat flour can make a denser, heavier dessert, so it’s best to start slow! Our lemon and blueberry cottage cheese muffins taste great when half of the white flour is swapped for whole wheat.
There are some key steps to take to make sure that your whole wheat dessert is as tasty as can be!
Sift your whole wheat flour before adding it to your recipe to give your dessert an airier consistency. Mix your dough or batter just enough so that the ingredients are combined. Since whole wheat flour contains more gluten than white flour, over-mixing can make your baked goods a bit tough and chewy.
4. Use nutritious eggs to naturally bind your ingredients
Eggs are high in protein and contain many important nutrients like vitamins A, D, B12, iron and folate. Not only do they give a boost of nutrients to recipes, eggs perform many different culinary functions:
- The protein in eggs firm up and solidify when heated, giving important structural support to your dessert.
- Lecithin, found in egg yolk, is a natural emulsifier that helps to create smooth batters and doughs.
- Eggs help to trap and hold air into your recipe, creating a lighter and airier dessert. Egg whites are especially good at this!
Try brushing pies, biscuits, breads and buns with an egg wash before baking them. The protein in the egg creates a nice bronzing effect, and the fat from the yolk gives a glossy sheen to your finished product.
Tip: Whisk together one egg and 1 tablespoon water or milk to use as an egg wash on your baked goods.
Learn more about the science of baking with eggs!
5. Opt for dark chocolate
If your recipe calls for chocolate, opting for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate will give more flavour and less sugar. For the healthiest option, look for a dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids. Dark chocolate also contains more compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant that’s associated with health benefits. Try using dark chocolate chips in this classic recipe for one bowl banana chocolate chip muffins.