Okay, so if you’ve ever tried low-fat baking you’ve probably noticed that the recipes on offer aren’t the most tempting. In actual fact, most of them feel like they’d have me reaching for the chocolate pretty darn quick… So I wasn’t thrilled when a friend dragged me to a low-fat baking secrets class, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be learning anything useful. Imagine my surprise when she came out with these gems…
Low-fat baking and biscuits don’t sound like they should go together, but they really do. The only change? Instead of using plain flour on its own, use half plain and half wholemeal. Wholemeal flour has 15.8g of fibre in every 150g, which means you’ll stay fuller for longer. It also has higher levels of potassium, calcium and iron.
Cheesecake often calls for cream cheese, but did you know that you can use low-fat ricotta cheese instead? There’s a lot more protein, which will stop you feeling hungry or getting cravings, and you can cut fat by almost 30g for every 100g. It’s much less calorific, and it feels a lot lighter, too.
This is another simple swap – replace any thickened cream in the recipe with low-fat milk instead. You’ll save a massive 700 calories per 250ml, and give the pudding a rich, creamy body but with a lot less fat. Meaning you’ll feel a lot less guilty about having seconds, and you’ll feel a lot fuller, too. That’s without mentioning all the nutritional benefits of milk…
Fruit pies may seem healthy, but they contain A LOT of sugar. Try replacing sugar with Xylitol instead. This is a sweetener that tastes exactly like sugar, but has 40% less calories. It’s even suitable for diabetics, as it doesn’t require insulin metabolism. Xylitol is the main sweetener in sugar-free gum, so most people will be fine consuming it, but it can cause allergies in some cases.
Love pancakes? I do – and now I’ve got a much better way to make them. Swap all that full-fat milk for hemp milk instead! The taste is the same, but hemp milk is naturally low in saturated fat, and very easy to digest. It’s also cholesterol free. It’s a natural choice for people who suffer from digestive difficulties, as there is no soy or dairy, which can cause bloating.
Think brownies are bad? Think again. Ditch the cooking chocolate in favor of raw cocoa powder. Cocoa powder keeps the taste the same without all the added calories and sugar, and raw cocoa powder has avoided processing, so it’s still packed with natural goodness. It has three times as many antioxidants as green tea!
One of the things we learnt to make at low-fat baking class? Coconut macaroons. Not only are these deliciously decadent, but they are perfect for those of us avoiding gluten, too. If you can’t be bothered to cook them, check out ready-made ones from shops. Waitrose stock Seriously Coconutty Macaroons, which contain just 80 calories with 4.7g of fat.
I’m now a total convert – I’d recommend low-fat baking classes to everyone. I’m also having a great time mixing up ingredients in recipes. While some have been a total nightmare, I’ve found that some make hardly any difference to the taste, but loads to the nutrition. It’s definitely worth seeing what works! Have you found any great ingredient substitutions? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried!