Sweet or Salty, I choose sweet! If I can figure out a way to make a recipe healthier, I’ll do it. My sweet tooth likes to make its presence known in the evening, so I’m always looking for something to get my hands on. I also always seem to be the one who volunteers to make a dessert for parties or gatherings. When I can feel good about licking the bowl and bringing something delicious for my friends to try, I consider it a win! Here are a few of my secrets to making my sweet treats a healthy hit!
Try adding things to increase the nutritional value:
- Instead of using all-purpose flour, try wheat or almond flour. Whole wheat and almond flour provide us with fiber and other vitamins and minerals. The fiber will make your dessert more filling and help aid in digestion.
- Swap out full-fat for low-fat dairy products. Instead of cream cheese, 2% milk or cream, try using 1% milk, low-fat or Greek yogurt. This will help cut the calories and fat in half and double the protein, if using Greek option.
- Add fruit or vegetables to really bump up the nutritional value. This is a great way to sneak in veggies for kids! Try shredding carrots or zucchini and adding them into your favorite bread. Use mashed up bananas, apples sauce or pumpkin puree prunes, to add sweetness and moisture to cakes and cookies. In some recipes, these ingredients can even replace some of the butter or oil.
Reduce saturated fat and added sugars:
- Swap butter for heart healthy oil. Try using canola or avocado oil for some of the butter. Another option would be to use nut butter (cashew or almond). Not only will this reduce the saturated fat content but increase the protein and fiber.
- Simply use 25% less sugar than what your recipe calls for. In general, you can reduce the sugar in recipes without noticing too much of a difference.
- Use chia seeds or flax meal instead of eggs. Perfect for the vegan in your life! Chia seeds and flax meal are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and contain both fiber and protein.
- Try using natural sources of sugar like honey, agave or maple syrup that provide us with antioxidants. Keep in mind they’re all still sugar and should be consuming in moderation.
One thing to keep in mind while your sweet treats are baking, moderation is key. Keeping your portion size in check is the best strategy for incorporating baked goods into a healthy lifestyle. Make following portion sizes easy, by cutting cakes, brownies and bread into small bite size pieces. Use a 1 inch scoop when making cookies or cupcake tins for personalized desserts.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.