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August 02, 2013

Older Adults Can Enjoy Baking With Healthier Recipes

There is nothing like fresh-baked breads, cookies, and desserts. If you love to bake (and love to eat what comes out of the oven), it can be tough to enjoy treats in moderation when staying healthy. If you’'re watching your diet, baked goods can be a major temptation. But cutting back on baking may leave you missing a lifelong hobby— and your grandchildren will miss out on the delicious treats they love!

The good news is you can lighten up instead of giving up on baking entirely. Making a few swaps in your favorite recipes or seeking out healthier versions can keep your diet on track while you enjoy baking up a storm. Finding healthier alternatives will also benefit the friends and family who share your treats.

Better Breads

Do you love spreading butter on fluffy bread still warm from the oven? A few ingredient swaps will allow you to enjoy fresh baked bread for years to come.

Try substituting a portion of white flour with whole-wheat flour. Swapping 100 percent of your white flour for whole grain flour can leave your bread tasting gritty, but adding half whole grain flour and half white flour will give you a tasty result with added fiber and nutrients. You can also experiment with adding rye flour for a different variation. (TIP: Whole grain flours are denser and more absorbent than white flour, so you may need to add more liquid or reduce the flour in your recipe.)

When it comes to topping your bread, try no-sugar-added fruit preserves or a dab of olive oil for a healthier alternative to butter.

Healthier Cakes And Cookies

With loads of butter, sugar, and refined flour, it’'s little wonder why we find cookies and cakes so devilishly delicious. Unfortunately, cakes and cookies are filled with empty calories that offer few nutritional benefits. Recognizing that weakness is also the key to improving these treats.

Look for recipes that swap empty-calorie ingredients for more nutritious ones like whole grains, fruits, and nuts. Recipes that use rolled oats, canned pumpkin, or mashed bananas as a primary ingredient can add flavor and fiber while cutting down on refined flour and sugar. In many recipes, especially muffins or dessert breads, applesauce can be substituted for some of the butter or oil in the recipe and whole wheat white flour can be traded for a portion of the refined white flour.

Guilt-free Pies

The great thing about pies is they celebrate nature’'s bounty. Peaches, cherries, apples, and blueberries are all delicious when baked into a pie. When you’'re making a crust, opt for a recipe with vegetable oil instead of lard or butter to cut back on saturated fat.

You can further cut calories by leaving the top crust off the pie when you bake it. Prepare the fruit filling for your pie with a low-calorie sweetener instead of sugar. If you think the pie looks a little naked without a top crust when serving, you can dress it up with a garnish of cinnamon, a scoop of vanilla yogurt, or a dab of low fat whipped topping.

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Photo Credit: Chiot's Run


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