I have often said that I cook because I have to, but I bake because I
love to! This is true. I have also said that my dream would be to wake
up every morning and bake something delicious and fresh, a coffee cake,
biscotti, muffins or cookies, and eat that for breakfast.
I bet many of you are liking the sound of that and thinking that’s a strange dream for a dietitian. But fresh, homemade baked goods are delicious and many avoid them because of the fat and calories they contain. Hence, most mornings my breakfast is high-fibre cereal, egg whites, yogurt or whole grain toast and nut butter. But back to my dream, there are ways to bake your favourite baked goods and make them healthier.
One of the problems with baked goods is the amount of fat – butter, oil, margarine or shortening – they contain. The good news is that fat can be substituted with a low-fat option in “soft” baked goods such as muffins, cakes and banana breads. You can replace all or some of the fat with yogurt, fat-free sour cream, buttermilk or applesauce. You would use an equal portion, so, for example, if your recipe calls for one cup of oil, you can use a cup of yogurt instead. Or you can use half the fat and half yogurt. Soft baked goods can also be made with less sugar or with artificial sweetener meant for baking.
Another way to make baked goods healthier is to add fibre, which also makes them more filling. For example, bake with whole wheat flour – use it in equal parts – or add ground flaxseed to recipes.
Use recipes that are “light,” such as fat-free angel-food cake, high-fibre bran muffins, whole wheat banana bread or biscotti or mandelbroit. There are even some healthy, and trans fat free, baking mixes available now. Mixes can help you bake in a pinch or are great for little bakers who are learning to cook.
Lisa Weinberg is a registered dietitian/nutritionist in Toronto, in private practice and at the Genesis Professional Group. You can also follow Weinberg at http://www.lisaweiberg.ca. If you have any nutrition questions, please send them to The CJN.