Baked goods are always delicious, but as we all know, they aren’t always good for us. Yep, brownies, cake, sweet breads and muffins probably shouldn’t be a huge part of your meal plan. However, there are some easy ways to make over your favorite baked treats so that you can enjoy them guilt-free. Of course, you’ll still need to keep your portion sizes under control, but these ideas will make your treat just a little but more virtuous.
1. Replace the Oil with Applesauce or Other Fruit Purees
I have successfully replaced oil 1:1 in all sorts of muffins and breads with great results. The applesauce leaves the baked goods really moist and delicious. You can also use other kinds of fruit purees, including mango, pear or anything you like best. You might need to experiment just a bit to find the ratio that works best for you, but you are really going to love the sweetness that fruit purees add to your treats.
2. Try Coconut Sugar Instead of the Regular White Stuff
Sugar sure does taste good, but it’s loaded with calories and can lead to weight gain if you eat too much of it. That’s why baked goods are increasingly being made over to include alternate sweeteners. Expert bakers suggest coconut sugar, which is lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar. And you won’t notice a difference.
3. Toss in a Couple Handfuls of Flaxseeds
Flax has a pleasant nutty flavor that enhances a wide range of baked goods, from banana bread to your favorite blueberry muffins. At the same time, flax is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart and brain, as well as fiber for healthy digestion and appetite control. You can use flax mixed with water in place of eggs or you can simply toss them into the batter before baking.
4. Hide Some Veggies in There – No One Will Notice
Vegetables are a no-brainer when you put together a healthy meal plan. They are loaded with fiber, potassium, iron, vitamins A and C, as well as other vital nutrients. Hiding them in baked goods is easy because the sugar helps mask the flavor. Try zucchini or carrots, but don’t stop there. Spinach is another great option. You won’t even notice.
5. Add a Pinch of Spice to Your Baked Goods
Many spices have a wealth of benefits for your health. Cinnamon, for example, can help control your blood sugar and cayenne can boost circulation. Cinnamon works really well in a variety of baked goods, from muffins to pancakes. Cayenne adds the perfect kick to chocolate baked goods.
6. Sweeten with Dates Instead of Sugar
Dates are a much better choice than sugar because they will sweeten your baked goods, but they also contain nutrients that sugar just doesn’t. To use them in place of sugar, grind dates into a paste and use it in place of the white stuff. You won’t notice a difference, but you can feel better about eating your favorite baked goods.
7. Add Beans Instead of Grains
You’ve probably heard of those brownies that are made with black beans. I’ve had them and they aren’t half bad. You can substitute some grains for beans, including black beans and chickpeas. Not only do you still get a really decadent treat, but you also get a great dose of fiber and other nutrients when you use beans instead.
What things do you do to make over your baked goods? Will you try any of these ideas?