You can have your favorite baked goods this holiday season and feel good too! It is becoming a trend as of late to switch over to either gluten-free or all-natural diets. The problem with these is that everybody has his or her family favorites, especially at certain times of the year, like now as Thanksgiving is approaching
A lot of people do not realize how easy it is to make your favorite treats better for you, though. It just takes some creativity and determination to be able to make any baked good into a healthier alternative.
Everything in moderation, is what I say and I believe. By balancing out the recipes of your baked goods you can still add a handful of your favorite chocolate chips or sweet additives to satisfy the underlying sweet tooth you have been trying to avoid so desperately.
Here are some tips you can use to easily substitute into your recipes for healthier baked goods! Most recipes, especially for cookies, call for a large amount of butter or some other fatty ingredient that helps as both a binder and a flavor maker. Get creative with adding oils and you can avoid the unneeded trans-fats you are ingesting regularly in most cookie recipes. Here are some examples to make your recipes healthier.
• The best oil to use is canola oil or avocado as there is no saturated fat.
• For brownies you can substitute 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of mashed black beans. Beans have much less impact on blood sugar levels and they are gluten free.
• Swap oil for equal amounts of pureed fruits and vegetables in muffin, cookie and cake recipes.
• Pureed vegetables can substitute for the qualities of egg as a binder. The best part about it is it works practically for a binder and as an ingredient. Add a dash of cinnamon and you already are on your way to success.
• My own little personal secret for this is using zucchini as a binder in brownies. The flavor of the cocoa is so strong that you do not even taste the zucchini, and if it is blended right, you won’t notice the texture either. This is perfect for kids and adults alike who don’t want to voluntarily eat healthy.
• There are plenty of healthy substitutes to your general all-purpose flour. With the whole of the Western world being on a gluten-free kick, it isn’t that hard to find the substitutes you need. If you want to think small, go for adding some whole-wheat flour in with all-purpose so you can get some fiber and nutrients. If you want to go big with this, try looking into alternatives like chickpea flour or almond flour, which has only a fraction of the bad carbs that are in white flour.
• You should always steer clear of artificial additives. Some recipes call for trans-fatty synthetic alternatives, but those are never good for you in terms of diet. Try to avoid recipes that call for margarine; if you absolutely can’t then you can substitute it with either oils or natural butter. Basically, anything that contains trans-fats or synthetics additives and flavorings is never good for you, and should always be avoided.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of healthy versions of your favorite baked goods online and in specialty recipe books. When you fisnd that perfect recipe, imagine how impressed your friends and family will be when they find out that their favorite sugary snack of yours is actually relatively healthy for them! Try out my recipe for black bean brownies that are gluten-free, flour-free, free from refined sugar, and absolutely delicious!
Amazing Healthy Brownies
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- ¼ cup grape seed oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup coconut palm sugar
- ½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment.
Drain and rinse the beans, place in food processor with all the other liquid ingredients, and process until smooth.
Combine all other ingredients in a bowl, mix and create a well in the center of the bowl.
Add the black bean mixture and mix to combine.
Mix in chocolate chips.
Pour into pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes
Once cooled, refrigerate ½ hour before slicing. Enjoy!
By Jamie Feit