There’s no question that, as a nation, we are baking our way through lockdown.
In the first weeks of lockdown the press were reporting that, along with toilet rolls, shops were running out baking ingredients with demand for flour doubling. If you are embracing the baking trend, there are a few ingredient swaps you can make to ensure your bakes are as healthy as possible. Here are five healthy baking swaps.
Swap Sugar for: Apple Puree
Since most baking recipes call for a significant amount of sugar, this is the first thing to address to make your home bakes healthier. Apple sauce, either unsweetened shop-bought homemade, not only makes a healthier sweetener for your cakes, it gives a tasty kick to your average sponge cake, to boot. The added liquid also makes for a really moist bake (Mary Berry would approve).
Swap White Flour for: Ground Oats
If you’re sensitive to wheat or looking for an unrefined alternative to flour, opt for the healthier option of ground oats. White flour has been stripped of most of it’s essential nutrients, while oats are a source of fibre, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. You can either buy oat flour or make your own by popping whole rolled oats in the blender. Oats work well as a base for banana cake, making for a nutritious bake that also sneaks in one of your five a day.
Swap Butter for: Avocado
It might seem a bit weird swapping out butter, a baking stalwart, for a scoop of green avocado, but its creamy texture and relatively neutral taste make for an ideal healthy fat swap. This is particularly true when it comes to cakes or cookies flavoured with chocolate, where you won’t notice the absence of butter. A perfect swap for those who avoid dairy for health or ethical reasons.
Swap Chocolate Chips for: Cacao Nibs
Speaking of chocolate, this is something you can consider swapping too. Most chocolate chips contain a considerable amount of sugar, so swap them for the real deal and invest in some cacao nibs made which are with 100% cocoa. They also add texture with a bit of crunch, making them great for flapjacks and cookies. If you do go for chocolate, opt for the highest percentage of cocoa solids you can find.
Swap Eggs for: Flaxseed
It’s worth noting that eggs are not unhealthy, on the contrary, they are a great source of protein and B vitamins. But if you’re vegan, intolerant or allergic to eggs or your supermarket is running low on ingredients, both flaxseed and chia seeds make a good alternative. Both of these super seeds provide fibre and are a non-fish source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. One tablespoon of seeds mixed with two and a half tablespoons of water will replace one egg.