Friday, February 21, 2020

Ingredients You Absolutely Must Have In Your Pantry for Decadent and *Healthy* Desserts #healthy2020 #healthybaking #healthyingredients

My Healthy 2020 series is continuing today with a focus on healthy baking. Many people mistakenly believe that they have to give up baked treats in order to be healthy. With a few simple ingredient swaps, baked goods don't have to completely off limits! Today, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing four must-have ingredients that every pantry should keep on hand for healthy home baking. This article may contain affiliate links.
If you think that being healthy and eating desserts are diametrically opposed, then think again! It turns out that there are all kinds of desserts you can whip up that are actually good for you. We’re not just talking about bowls of fruit. Here are some key ingredients you absolutely must have on hand in your pantry if you want to make decadent, yet healthy desserts. We'll take a look at what you can use these ingredients for...and why they’re healthy. 

Date Sugar
All sugar is bad, right? Wrong! It turns out that some types of sugar are good for you -- and one of them is date sugar. Date sugar is nothing like the granulated stuff you buy from the supermarket. Instead, it's just regular dates chopped up small, then dried out. 
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For this reason, date sugar retains all of its nutrients. More importantly, it DOESN’T hurt your metabolism because it's just fruit. It’s by far the best way to add a little sweetness to your food without empty calories. 

Spelt Flour
Most cake recipes call for white flour of one form or another, but there’s no real reason for this. It’s just how bakers originally made cakes. It really has nothing to do with flavor or texture. Spelt flour, for those who don’t know, is an ancient form of regular wheat flour that grinds up the whole wheat berry. You’re not just getting the endosperm, but the germ and the bran as well -- giving you lots of fiber and nutrients. There are now all types of spelt flour cakes found via a simple Internet search. They're super simple to make too! Try spelt flour for yourself...and indulge in your favorite cakes without ballooning your waistlines. 

If you look at Weight Watcher recipes by, you’ll notice they include a lot of raisins. Why? Because raisins add sweetness to baked goods without causing inflammation in your body that negatively impacts your metabolism. It’s a similar story to dates. Raisins are dried fruit (grapes), which are healthy for you. Adding a little bit of fruit in whole-food form can help you live healthier. It’s certainly an improvement over regular sugar. 

Did you know that you don’t need to use regular eggs to make your cakes light and fluffy? It turns out you can use flax seeds instead. Flaxseed is a veritable superfood. To use as an egg substitute in baking, buy some flax seeds from the store -- they’re super cheap. Then grind the flax seeds in a blender to turn them into flax meal. Once you’ve done that, add one part flax meal to three parts water to make a “flax egg.” This sticky, gooey concoction may not taste like much on its own. However, it has a beautiful effect when used in baking -- especially when combined with baking powder. Allow the flax seed time to absorb the water until it makes a gel-like paste, then you can use it as a regular egg replacement. 

So, how are YOU going to bake healthier this year? Leave a comment below to share your best healthy baking tips with me...and your fellow followers of The Weekend Gourmet!

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