It’s really very hard to resist the allure of a tray of scones or muffins straight out of the oven. I have usually scoffed at least one while they’re still almost too hot to hold. Like Oscar Wilde “I can resist anything except temptation” which is why I restrict baking of sweet things to maybe once a fortnight. However I won’t be too self righteous about this as I definitely compensate in other areas (salty snacks being my personal Achilles heel).
But never mind, this isn’t a weight loss blog and I’ve certainly never been a dieter (heaven forbid!) so if there is a way to get that “straight out of the oven” hit without too much of a downside then I’m all for it. Besides, for anyone with hungry teenagers in the house I’m sure that the main concern is to keep them well-enough fed with reasonable quality food so they don’t stuff themselves with the vast array of processed junk foods that are so aggressively marketed at them (chocolate centred cereal, sugar laden soda or trans fatty pizzas anyone?!)
So in good conscience I can say go forth and bake. There are tons of recipes out there for healthy muffins , scones and breads, and I’d be delighted to hear how you get on (please post your comments!). Meanwhile, here’s a little round-up of what I’ve gleaned so far about healthy baking. Basically it all seems to boil down to the following..
3 Golden Rules of Healthy Baking:
1. Where possible add extra fibre – replace or blend white flour with brown, throw in some ground flaxseed, wheatgerm or oatbran.
2. Replace sugar with other sugar sources* which have more nutrients and fibre (bananas, apples, carrots, beetroot, dates, raisins etc). Cinnamon by the way makes sugar taste sweeter**
3. Where fat is required use the healthiest fat possible. Whilst the butter debate rages on I think you are on balance safer to assume that the liquid fats (olive oil, rapeseed / canola, grapeseed) are better for you than the solid fats, especially anything hydrogrenated (solid margarine etc).
And one more thing – go nuts.
Nuts have the X-factor – that crunchy umami-satiating-mouthfeel combined with almost mythical health benefits. They add calories but you eat less. Strange but true. I think I’ll devote another day’s blog to nuts.
*I don’t know about you but I don’t count honey or other syrups as sugar alternatives, they’re just sugar.
**Thankyou to my lovely sister-in-law who not long ago treated us to the splendid tray of cinnamon swirls pictured above.