Happy new year everyone! I hope your 2019 will be filled with prosperity, health and wealth 🙂 As a thank you for your continued support on my blog, I would like to share with you how I make my desserts and snacks “healthier”.
The three key ingredients that make desserts/snacks delicious are sugar, flour and fat! And it is these ingredients that are typically not great for our bodies if we are eating desserts on a daily basis. And from my recipes on this blog, you will gather that my recipes are on the healthier side. I try to use unrefined sugar (if the fruits do not provide sufficient sweetness), unrefined flour, wholegrain and keep the amount saturated fat to a minimal.
Sugar typically does not provide any beneficial calories or nutrients for our bodies. But rather it is something we crave and hence, satisfies our sweet cravings. Sugar is just something our tastebuds love and almost every store bought food out there has sugar in it, even a packet of chips/crisps has sugar in it! We are now so used to having sugar in everything that we constantly crave for sugar. Sugar in my opinion should be avoided if possible, in particular in its refined form.
- How to reduce or swap sugar in your recipes?
- Cut down the amount of sugar by 25% to 50%. I usually cut the amount of sugar by half when I follow a recipe. Most of my recipes on this blog have a low of amount of sugar;
- Use unrefined sugar such as coconut sugar, brown sugar, honey, etc. These are all still sugar, but they are lower GI which means your blood sugar level would not spike up as sharply after consumption as if you used refined sugar. Most of my recipes on this blog use a small amount of unrefined sugar; and
- Used pureed fruit or dried fruit instead of sugar. As you can see from most of of my bliss balls, banana bread or even fruit cake, I do not add any refined or unrefined sugar.
- Tend to be lower GI and hence, better for those with diabetes;
- Keeps you fuller for longer;
- Not consuming or consuming less “empty” calories; and
- Better for your waistline;
- May not be sweet enough for some people. But trust me after a while of consuming less sugar, you will get used to it and your body will thank you for it; and
- Granola or biscuits/cookies may not be crispy enough or stay crispy for long;
Flour is not bad for us but in its refined form is high GI and will cause our blood sugar level to spike after consumption. This is particularly bad for those with diabetes. So, when I bake or make pancakes, I tend to use unrefined flour.
- How to reduce or swap flour in your recipes?
- Use half refined and half unrefined flour in your baking or cooking. If a recipe calls for 1 cup white flour, try 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup wholemeal flour;
- Swap refined white flour flour for unrefined flour such as wholemeal flour, wholemeal spelt flour, oat flour, rye flour or even buckwheat flour. You can swap most refined flour to unrefined flour using the same measurement. But for some flour such as coconut flour, you may need to use a significantly lesser amount as coconut flour is extremely absorbent. So, it can be a trial and error process 😊 and
- Use mashed beans such as black beans in brownies, cannelinni beans in blondies and/or use mashed vegetables such as steamed pumpkin or sweet potatoes in cakes or brownies;
- Tend to be lower GI and hence, better for those with diabetes; and
- Keeps you fuller for longer;
- May not be as light and soft as cakes with refined flour. But this is something you will get used to 😄
3. SATURATED FAT
Saturated fat is fat that remains solid at room temperature. These include butter and coconut oil. Recently, there has been a craze of using coconut oil in almost every cooking and baking recipes. The benefits of coconut oil have been highlighted and in my opinion, over emphasised. Yes, there are healthy benefits but over consumption like every other food out there cannot be great for our bodies. In particular, those of us with heart or cardiovascular disease, saturated fat is not great for us.
- How to reduce or swap saturated fat in your recipes?
- Swap butter or coconut oil for olive oil or vegetable oil. These still contain the same amount of calories but lower amount of saturated fat;
- Reduce the amount of saturated fat by substituting with dairy or non-dairy milk. From my recipes on this blog, you can see most of baking have a lower amount of saturated fat;
- Use puréed banana instead. You can also reduce the amount of sugar when using banana as bananas especially ripe ones have high sugar content; and
- Use nut butter or puréed avocado instead. These have lower saturated fat content and are better for our bodies, especially for those with heart or cardiovascular health problems;
- Better for those with heart or cardiovascular health problems;
- May not be as moist and buttery as you are used to; and
- Fat is known to keep us fuller for longer but with the removal or reduction of fat, you may not feel as full as you would be;
As you can tell, there can be quite a bit of trial and error involved when making desserts and snacks healthier. So, keep trialling and you will be able to make healthier snacks and desserts in no time 😊 And remember, homemade is always better than store bought!