Healthy Baking Alternatives

Batter in a bowl - Healthy Baking Alternatives

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy diet limits the amount of calories people should consume from solid fats and added sugars. Does that mean no desserts?

While many baked goods are a major source of both solid fats and added sugars, dessert can still be an enjoyable part of a full and well-balanced eating pattern. Follow these tips for delicious baked goods with more healthy nutrients and less added sugar and saturated fat.

Watch Portion Size

Keeping portion sizes in check is a primary strategy for healthfully incorporating baked goods into a healthy eating pattern. Make portion control easier by preparing miniature desserts such as mini-cupcakes. Or cut brownies and sheet cakes into two-inch squares and portion cookie dough using a one-tablespoon scoop.

Ingredients Matter

Deb Wise, cookbook author and test-kitchen professional at Cooking Light magazine, recommends using high-quality ingredients for a more flavorful product that will satisfy cravings even with smaller portions. For example, use vanilla beans instead of extract, opt for high-quality chocolate and make sure your spices are fresh for the boldest flavor.

Incorporate Nutrient-Rich Ingredients

Instead of focusing on what to cut out, why not add something nutritious to your recipe?

  • Add a Fruit or Vegetable
    Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, recommends adding shredded or pureed apple, carrot, banana and pumpkin to recipes to boost nutrients, flavor and moisture. For some recipes, you can use these ingredients to replace some or all of the butter or oil.
  • Try a Whole-Grain Flour
    Wise says her favorite flour for baking is white whole-wheat flour, which can be substituted one-for-one for all-purpose flour in most recipes. She says you can also replace up to half the all-purpose flour in a recipe with a whole-grain flour without making any major adjustments to the recipe.
  • Experiment with Recipes That Use Less-Common Flours
    Sidney Fry, MS, RD, nutrition editor at Cooking Light, recommends experimenting with recipes such as savory pancakes and waffles that call for chickpea flour. Or try recipes with almond flour, which works well for crusts and can be incorporated into dough for a big punch of flavor and added nutrients.
  • Use Low-Fat Dairy Products
    Use low-fat milk, low-fat buttermilk and low-fat yogurt in baking recipes to contribute protein and calcium. Liz Weiss, MS, RDN, and Janice Bissex, MS, RDN — known as the Meal Makeover Moms — swap cream cheese frosting, which is high in calories and saturated fat and has minimal nutritional value, for a protein-rich frosting made from Greek yogurt.

Reduce Saturated Fat and Added Sugar

You can do this in a number of ways. For instance, try these modifications:

  • Swap Butter for Heart-Healthy Oil
    When modifying a favorite recipe, Wise says you can generally trade some of the butter for a heart-healthy oil, such as canola oil. Don’t replace all of the butter with oil or you’ll sacrifice texture.
  • Simply Cut Sugar
    As a general rule, White says you can reduce sugar in a given recipe by about 25 percent without noticeable differences. For instance, if a recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of sugar, reduce the amount to 3 tablespoons. Fry notes that, when reducing sugar, you may need to increase the liquid in a recipe.

There is room for all foods, even baked goods, in a healthy eating pattern. Focus on occasionally enjoying small portions of your favorite treats and experiment with creating healthier versions of favorite recipes for more nutrients in each delicious bite.

Healthy Nuts

Healthy Nutsistock/FatManPhotoUK
Give boring nuts a healthy boost with Sweetish Nuts from nutritionist Brooke Alpert, which are sugar-free but still manage a natural sweetness from the spices. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive in a large bowl. Add 4 ounces shelled raw walnut halves, 4 ounces shelled raw pecan halves, and 4 ounces raw cashews. Massage in the spices well, then place on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Store in an airtight container once cooled.

Running Tours of the Indianapolis Area

Running Tours
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We run this city!  Maybe you are an out of town guest that is “in training” and are looking for help planning & navigating a workout or two. Or perhaps you just like to get out and see the city in a “close up and personal” way you’ve not experienced it before. You’ve come to the right place!

Our running tours are custom tailored to your specific desires.  To start, we’ll want to know how far you’d like to run and at what pace.  Then if there is anything in particular you are interested in seeing or learning about we’ll customize the tour to make that happen!

Pricing for these personalized tours is based on route and pace you are looking for but most tours are $20-35. You won’t find them on our tour calendar because we custom schedule it just for you!

Below is one of our most popular loop sightseeing loops – check it out!

Historic Downtown 5k

Solo Traveler Tips


Solo Travel

Use home exchange sites. Staying in someone’s home is usually cheaper than staying in a hotel. An added bonus is that you can cook meals in instead of eating out. Wi-Fi is another plus; many hotels charge hefty daily fees for Wi-Fi. If staying in someone else’s home doesn’t appeal to you, consider independent hotels. Some independent hotels offer smaller rooms specifically targeted to solo travelers at discounted rates.

Avoid the single supplement fee. Many travel companies (cruises, packaged tours, etc.) tack on a single supplement fee for traveling alone to make up for the space not being taken by a travel companion in a double occupancy room. Many cruise lines and tour groups offer supplement fee waivers during certain sale times throughout the year. Some supplement fees can be as high as half of the ticket price, so the waiver is worth it. Another, less popular, option for waiving the supplement fee is to allow the company to pair you with another solo traveler. If staying with a stranger isn’t an issue, this option allows more flexibility in your travel, without having to wait for a waiver sale.

Eat like the locals. Shop for easy meals at the local grocery or farmers market. Have a picnic in a nearby park or on a sidewalk bench. You’ll enjoy your surroundings and catch more of the local sights.