Reaching New Year’s resolution goals doesn’t have to be impossible, as discussed in the first article in this series. Adding more whole foods into your regular diet is one of the most effective ways to obtain weight loss and healthy living goals. Another great way to introduce better, more nutritional ingredients into everyday eating is through baking, yes, baking! Here’s how:
Be forewarned, the results may amaze you!
We’ll start really easy.
Swap whole wheat flour for white flour.
Almost all baked goods that use white flour can be easily replaced with whole wheat. Whole wheat flour adds texture, flavour, fibre and a lot of vital nutrients to your baking. Note: For every cup of white flour, substitute 3/4 plus a little less than 1/4 cup of whole-wheat.
Try Black beans instead of flour.
Boil dried black beans and then puree or if absolutely short on time, use canned black beans, and rinse thoroughly using a 1 to 1 ratio. Try replacing the flour in brownies! They are delicious, dense and moist without the need for a lot of butter. Who would’ve ever dreamed that you could have healthy brownies, packed with protein that are completely irresistible!
Almond flour to replace wheat flour.
Many people are discovering that although they may not have gluten allergies like Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance is an issue, and the amount of gluten-rich products consumed needs to be adjusted. A great way to cut down on gluten and add an extra punch of protein (especially for vegans and vegetarians who are always looking for ways to increase protein intake) is to switch wheat flour for almond flour in recipes. Keep in mind that almond flour is quite a bit heavier than wheat flour, so if the recipe calls for 1 cup wheat flour, try 3/4 cups of almond flour instead or try 3/4 cups of wheat flour and 1/4 cup of almond flour to start and adjust the next time around.
Cutting back on sugar is simple, really.
Reduce the sugar in baking with Unsweetened applesauce.
Unsweetened applesauce still packs enough sweetness in place of sugar with a lot less calories. For instance, one cup of unsweetened applesauce has about 100 calories, while one cup of sugar can have more than 700 calories, yikes! Subbing applesauce for sugar is easy, it’s a 1:1 ratio but remember for every cup of applesauce used, reduce the liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
Stevia & agave nectar for sugar.
Stevia is a natural sweetener and so is agave, both have fewer calories than sugar and are a lot sweeter, so less is needed. For example, a recipe calling for 1 cup of sugar would only require about 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia or about 1-2 teaspoons of agave nectar. To gain the desired sweetness, you’ll have to play around a little, but it’s well worth the effort.
Reducing fats in baked goods for a healthier guilt-free dessert is simple.
Avocados for butter.
At room temperature, avocados and butter come close to the same consistency and both are considered fats, one obviously better than the other. Puree the avocado and replace the required butter in recipes for brownies or other dark chocolate-related treats. Generally you can sub 1 cup avocado for 1 cup butter, but to gain the desired results, it may take a bit of trial and error.
Mashed bananas for fats.
A very ripe banana that is mashed truly adds a rich, creamy thickness to recipes and works perfectly to replace fats, like oils and butter, while adding plenty of fibre, vitamins and potassium to baked treats. Sub 1 cup of mashed ripe banana for 1 cup oil or butter.
Unsweetened applesauce for fats like oil or butter.
Not only does applesauce work as a great sub for sugar, it also lends a hand in the moisture department. Try it out in sweet bread recipes, like banana or zucchini bread. Use half the amount of oil or butter and replace the other half with applesauce to gain the right consistency. You can always try a different ratio after your first batch. Use whatever works best for you.
Cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips.
Cacao nibs are the real chocolate chip! Cacao nibs are simply roasted cacao beans that have been ground into tiny chunks. They have a nutty, rich, yet slightly bitter flavour, much like the taste of very dark chocolate, before tons of sugar and other additives are mixed with it to make chocolate chips. Cacao nibs are loaded with fibre and potassium, and even contain protein and antioxidants. Try them in the next batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies and you’ll be hooked.