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While moderation is key, we can find ways to make baking healthy, while still making it good.  There are a few short cuts, or cut backs that you can use without sacrificing flavor.

1)  Use whole wheat instead of white flour – Whole wheat flour is better for you than white flour.  All-purpose white flour is a highly-processed form of flour.  Did you know that bleach is actually added to it to make it white.  It unfortunately is the flour we are used to, because it produced light, airy and soft breads, cakes, etc.  But, because it is so highly processed – our body simply doesn’t recognize it being food.  Studies show it can add to your weight and even to your belly fat.  No one wants that!  If you decide to make the leap – make slow changes.  First, switch to white unbleached flour.  Then add part whole wheat and part unbleached flour.  You may not totally switch completely, but any changes you make are beneficial.  I encourage patients to eat bread only a few times a week.  Make it a treat – not a necessity

The best whole wheat flour is the flour you grind your own from wheat berries.  If you have a heavy duty blender, it can be done pretty easily.  Making bread with freshly ground whole wheat flour will change your life.

2)  Substitute some flour in muffins for oat bran and/or flax seed – This is a great way to increase your fiber.  If you have trouble with constipation, adding oat bran and flax seed just might be the answer to your problem.  These alternatives to flour are filling, so you will feel fuller when you eat foods that contain them and won’t be as hungry.

Be careful, when adding oat bran and flax seed, you may need to add a little extra liquid to compensate.  Here is a great recipe that incorporates both of these and are really tasty: Power Muffins

3) Look for recipes that call for sugar alternatives like honey, maple syrup and guava nectar – Natural sugar is always “better” than processed sugar.  Don’t forget sugar is sugar, if you are diabetic use sparingly.  These sugars are in a natural form, meaning your body is able to process them easier.  They are better for you, but don’t forget they are still sugar.  You can always google: how to use in place of sugar – to see how to best substitute these products into your baking.

4) Use applesauce in place of oil – Who would have thought you could substitute applesauce in place of oil?  Well you can.  To eliminate the fat and calories associated with oil, simply replace the applesauce in a 1:1 ratio.  If you cake, muffin, or bread recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, then simply substitue with a 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce.  If you notice it changes the texture, then try adding in just 2 tablespoons of oil.

All of the above are good options for decreasing your fat and calories associated with baking.  Also, anything you can do to make what you eat more healthy and good for you — DO IT!