How To Do Healthy Cooking
As we are right into the holidays, most households are full of cookies, muffins, cakes, pies and pastries. Although your taste buds are happy, the same cannot be said of your waistline. Here is how to enjoy your treats without all those extra calories.
Choose the right recipe
Doing a little research before you choose the recipe you are going to bake can go a long way. A simple muffin can range anywhere from 200 to 400 calories a piece depending on what ingredients you use and how much of each. Many recipe books and online recipes offer a nutrient analysis, which can be a starting point for choosing your treat.
Take time to look over the ingredients used in the recipe, as they will have an impact on the nutrient value. If possible, you want to opt for recipes prepared with whole grains (whole-wheat flour and oats, for example) for added fiber. In addition, try to choose butter or oil instead of shortening, since the latter contains higher amounts of trans fat.
Tweak the recipe
If you already have a great recipe you would like to use, there are some substitutions you can make to improve the nutritional value of your treats without changing their taste. Here are some examples:
-Replace half of your all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour;
–Substitute half of the fat (butter or oil) with pureed fruits, such as mashed bananas or unsweetened apple sauce;
–Replace your milk chocolate chips with dark chocolate chips or even dried fruit;
– Cut the sugar content by half. In most cases, this does not affect the taste, and if it does, a couple drops of vanilla extract can help make up for it.
No matter how many treats you bake, it seems there will never be enough. With this in mind, preparing only one batch at a time or freezing part of it will cut down on the quantity you will consume. Baking smaller cookies or muffins can also help with quantity control.
A few simple changes can make your baked treats healthier, so you can enjoy them even more!
Stefanie Rosser, P.Dt.