Its the time of year where everybody indulges. I know that I end up baking loads of Christmas goodies with my kids. Joana Texeira gives some fantastic ways to help make you baking healthier.
We all love a cake, pastry, tart and many of the other baked goodies, especially when Christmas is just around the corner, but did you know that baking doesn’t always have to be unhealthy? There’s something cathartic about the rich sugary kick you get, but that kick can be made healthier by tweaking your recipes slightly. Baking more healthily is actually fairly simple and you’ll still get amazing results that won’t have that guilty tinge to them – so you won’t have to start a strict diet in the new year because of all the holiday indulgence. See below handy healthy baking tips that you can try this Christmas.
One of the best things about baking is the sweet treat. But you don’t have to pile in the white refined sugar to get that sweetness; there are plenty of alternatives you could use. Sweeteners are well worth a try – go for Stevia or Xylitol, rather than the purely artificial versions. Dried fruit is another way of adding sweetness, so you can load up on currants, dates, apricots etc. Vegetables like carrot and beetroot have a lot of natural sweetness too and are a great alternative to spoons full of sugar. Bake a healthier Christmas cake this year!
Bake your own bread
By baking your own bread you’ve got complete control of what goes into it. Most of us consume plenty of bread, so knowing what’s in it can reap a number of health benefits. For one, you can limit the amount of salt and preservatives that go into your loaf or rolls. High salt diets are not good at all so this little step can make a big difference. Also, you won’t be using the preservatives that go into making those sliced loaves last for a week or more and that’s healthier too.
Switch to unsaturated fat
If you want to know how to lower cholesterol, one of the biggest and best changes you can make is avoiding saturated fats whenever you can. Instead of using full fat butter you can try unsaturated fat spreads. They’re not just a healthier option; they’ll give you a lighter texture too. You could also give olive oil a try, which is much better health-wise and gives you a silky finish on your bake. If you’d like to read about how to lower cholesterol you’ll find more information here.
Wheat flour alternatives
If you’re gluten free you’ll already know about different types of flour, however there are plenty of good reasons for us all to try different varieties. Your easiest option is just to go for a specialist gluten free flour, but you can also try rice, coconut, and almond flour. Try different recipes with different flours this holiday season – bake your co-workers, family and friends different cakes or biscuits and see which one they like best so you can repeat the recipe in the new year!
Once you’ve started to get a grip on alternative ingredients and recipes you’re more than half way there, but that doesn’t mean you can get complacent. Just because you might be making something with half the fat and half the sugar, it doesn’t mean you can have double the amount! Watching your portion sizes closely and indulging at a self-controlled level are year-long healthy choices, so don’t make these a priority only in December.
Now that you can see how baking doesn’t always have to involve loads of sugar, salt and butter you can look forward to baking some delicious, but much healthier, recipes this holiday season and all through 2018!
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!