It can be hard to resist delicious baked treats, but you might be happy to learn that many sweet treats include healthy baking ingredients. Baking a batch of cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies can make the house smell so good! Yet, once the cookies are finished baking, you might feel guilty when it comes time to eat them. However, there is no need to feel guilty indulging in sweet treats on occasion, especially with sweet treats like the yummy cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies because they actually contain healthy baking ingredients!
1. Maple Syrup
Did you know that maple syrup is one of the healthy baking ingredients you can use? It is healthy, especially if you buy grade B maple syrup which is less refined and has more minerals. Just 2 teaspoons of maple syrup contains 23 percent of your daily value of manganese and 3.6 percent of your daily value of zinc. Manganese is necessary for enzyme and energy production, and zinc is a mineral that is needed for healthy immune function. Adding maple syrup to your pancakes is one way to go, but you can also use it as a sweetener in baked goods. It will actually bring more depth to the finished product, and it pairs especially well with cinnamon baked goods.
2. Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses
Unsulfured blackstrap molasses is the byproduct of refining cane sugar into table sugar. It is a thick, dark syrup that is very high in several key minerals. Just 2 teaspoons has 18 percent of your daily value of manganese, 13.2 percent of iron, and 11.7 percent of calcium! Adding unsulfured blackstrap molasses to your baked treats will obviously help you get some important minerals into your diet. Usually, molasses is an ingredient that you find in gingerbread; however, you can also use it in molasses cookies and cakes. Unsulfured blackstrap molasses is such a healthy ingredient some people take 1 tablespoon a day for the minerals!
3. Raw Honey
Raw honey is honey that hasn’t been heated to high temperatures, which means it retains its trace minerals and antioxidants. This is important because the antioxidants in raw honey have been shown to have cancer preventing properties! Aside from being an anti-cancer ingredient, raw honey is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. This makes it great at fighting infections. To get the benefits of honey in your baked goods, you can replace sugar with honey. You would use about ¼ cup for every cup of sugar, more if you like things sweeter. If you use more honey, you will need to reduce the amount of liquid.
Rolled oats are great in cookies, muffins, and as toppings in baked goodies. When you add oats to your baked goods, you can feel good knowing you are adding a healthy ingredient. Oats are a very nutritious source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. They are great at lowering cholesterol due to a special fiber they contain known as beta-glucan, which can lower cholesterol by 8 to 23 percent. These special fibers are also good for the immune system, and they stabilize blood sugar. Knowing how healthy oats are, I am sure you will be adding them to your next batch of cookies!
One of my favorite breakfast treats growing up was cinnamon raisin bread with my grandma’s homemade strawberry jam. I just loved it, and it actually had some pretty healthy ingredients. The raisins in my favorite breakfast treat are a great source of boron, which is a mineral needed for healthy bones. They are also high in iron, a mineral needed for healthy red blood cells. In addition to being a source of minerals, raisins are also a source of resveratrol, an important phytonutrient that has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and blood cholesterol lowering activities. Raisins are clearly a healthy ingredient that you can feel good about adding to your baked goods.
Cinnamon is a common spice added to baked goods that smells delicious as it is baking. It is hard to resist the cinnamon scent that comes from the oven when cinnamon rolls are baking. The great thing about cinnamon is it is just as healthy as it is tasty. Cinnamon has the ability to decrease inflammation by stopping the release of the inflammatory arachidonic acid. It is also well known for its ability to stabilize blood sugar. In fact, you can buy cinnamon supplements for blood sugar control! Personally, I would rather get my daily dose of cinnamon in cinnamon raisin bread.
I don’t know many people who don’t love chocolate. It is so delectable, and as an added bonus the cacao powder that is added to baked chocolate ingredients has many health benefits. Unsweetened cacao powder has 21 times more antioxidants than green tea, and 19 times more antioxidants than blueberries! It is also a wonderful source of magnesium, which is a vital mineral for muscle and nerve function. Additionally, cacao is a great mood booster because it is rich in serotonin and dopamine. Certainly, knowing the benefits of cacao I am going to be adding it to a lot more baked goods.
Baking brings back found memories of childhood, and it results in yummy goodies. If you use these ingredients in your baking, your yummy goodies with be healthier for you. Remember though, using these healthy ingredients does not give an excuse to have sweets with every meal. As healthy as these ingredients are, baked goods should still be considered an occasional treat. What is your favorite thing to bake?