At this time of the year it is hard to resist the tempting beautifully presented cakes, biscuits and pastries which can be seen everywhere; from supermarkets, cafes, restaurants to even the small convenience stores at petrol stations

Instead of buying these it is always best to make them at home as you can use better quality ingredients.  Below I share how you can make either some simple substitutions or modify your recipes to make healthier baked treats.

  • Instead of using refined white sugars, which do not contain minerals, use natural sugars that have not been as processed, like demerara or muscovada sugars.
  • Use less sugar than what is required in the recipe.  To start with, you can reduce the sugar by 10% than what the recipe asks for, and you probably are not able to tell the difference.  Each time gradually keep reducing the added sugar up to the point you notice it.  And you will find that with time, your taste buds change and you prefer having less sugar.
  • Use fresh fruits when baking which allows you to reduce the amount of added sugar.  For instance, use ripened bananas that are very sweet to make banana bread or use oranges to make muffins that have a refreshing citrus taste to them.
  • If the recipe requires icing, make less icing to lightly cover the cake and then decorate it using fresh fruits like blueberries or strawberries which are sweet and also a good source of vitamins and anti-oxidants.
  • Natural sweeteners are always a better choice when baking, but remember that these are still sugars so you do not want to have them in large quantities.
  • When baking instead of refined white flours use whole grain flours that have more fibre in them and will keep you satisfied for longer.
  • Also, look at the oils/fats being used when baking and you will find by testing the recipes that you can use less, without compromising on the taste.
  • When modifying recipes you need to experiment with reducing sugars and fats, but by making small adjustments you will over time have found what works best for you.
  • Also, don’t bake when you are feeling very hungry or you will have eaten more than you intended when testing what you have made.  Have your baked treat at your snack time.
  • Lastly, if you are buying your baked foods at the supermarket – read the labels to see how much sugar and fat they contain and what ingredients have been used.

A healthy dessert at this time of the year is a fruit based crumble and I will be sharing a recipe for that with you soon.

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