Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Simple Tricks and Substitutions Can Make Home Baking Healthy: Dietitian

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Simple Tricks and Substitutions Can Make Home Baking Healthy: Dietitian

Article excerpt

Simple tricks to make baking healthy

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TORONTO - After holiday indulgences, baking might not be uppermost on the minds of most home cooks. Yet it's not necessary to give it up if you use a few tricks to inject some stealth health into muffins, scones, cakes and other goodies.

Using Canadian agricultural stars like lentils, barley and canola, along with taking steps to reduce fat and sugar, can go far in making sweets and snacks healthful without sacrificing taste, says registered dietitian Zannat Reza.

"Canada is the largest producer of lentils and 2016 is the International Year of Pulses and what better way to celebrate than baked goods with lentils," says Reza, adding they are high in fibre and protein, inexpensive, and easy to add to baking when pureed.

"On the weekend I'll puree up a whole bunch of lentils, scoop them out in half-cup (125-millilitre) measurements and freeze them," says Reza, who is based in Toronto.

"If you have the urge to bake you can take out one of these little pucks, thaw it in the microwave and add it to your baking."

Greek yogurt adds more protein and calcium to recipes and can be used in place of sour cream and mayonnaise.

Here are some other ways to put a healthier spin on baking:

-- FLOUR POWER

Swap in whole-wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour in a baking recipe. Then add 30 ml (2 tablespoons) of wheat germ, needed because federal rules allow manufacturers to remove up to five per cent of the wheat kernel to reduce rancidity and prolong shelf life.

"The portion of the kernel that is removed for this purpose contains much of the germ and some of the bran," Health Canada says on its website -- in other words, the majority of nutrients, vitamins and healthy fats. Yet the flour that results can still be called whole wheat.

"You do need to add a little bit extra liquid," says Reza. "For every two tablespoons of wheat germ I find that you need to add at least a quarter cup (50 ml) of liquid. It could be milk, water. Say if a recipe calls for sugar and you're using maple syrup, you're adding a liquid to the baking so that will add towards the liquid."

Look for products that have "whole grain" on the label or in the ingredients list, she says. …

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