1. Boost fibre
Whole-wheat flour is a healthy alternative to white for healthier baking. To increase the fibre content of your own recipes for simple cakes, muffins and cookies, try substituting half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. Bags of whole-wheat flour should be stored in the freezer to maintain freshness.
(Try this whole wheat bread recipe that is quick and easy to make.)
2. Reduce fat with healthy butter
Reducing fat in baking is easier than you think. Consider this: One tablespoon (15 ml) of butter contains a whopping 11 grams of fat and 100 calories. Compare that to zero grams of fat and a paltry 30 calories for the same amount of apple butter (a highly concentrated, spreadable form of applesauce). Keep in mind, however, that this healthy butter works for cakes, loaves and cookies but not for pie crust, which depends on a certain percentage of fat to achieve a flaky rise.
If you’re making chocolate desserts that call for butter, substitute half with puréed bananas, prunes, plums or dates to halve the fat content.
(Psst: Learn the real difference between butter and margarine.)
3. Add some seeds
Simply adding sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds to your baking is a fast and easy way to make it more wholesome and nutritious. Seeds, either ground or whole, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that may help lower bad cholesterol, ward off diabetes and combat the effects of aging. For instance, flaxseeds, when ground, are one of the best sources of omega-3s as well as both soluble and insoluble fibre. Keep seeds stored in your freezer because they go rancid easily due to their high fat content.
(Here are the seeds you should be eating daily.)
Now that you know seeds can make holiday treats healthier, check out our recipe for snowball energy balls that can be made with pumpkin, sunflower or hemp seeds.