When we hear the word ‘baking’ it often stirs up thoughts of calorie-rich cakes or desserts.
However, it’s very possible to bake some super-healthy dishes, using nutrient-dense ingredients to compliment your healthy diet.
Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares her top three healthy and delicious bakes.
Bread is not generally thought of as providing protein. It’s categorised as a carbohydrate, which doesn’t keep us feeling full for very long. However, whole grain bread always contains good amounts of fibre, which slows down absorption and ensures sustained energy release. But there are still a few tweaks you can make to improve things still further.
Spiced oat bread contains eggs – a perfect protein – loads of fibre, plus some B-vitamins to keep you going all through the day. Egg yolks are also a great source of iron, so you’ve got a great basis for a breakfast, especially when on the run.
All you need is some oat milk, eggs, porridge oats and baking powder. You can also add mixed seeds and adding some spices will also give this bread a tasty zing! Or you can use cinnamon which is great for blood sugar balancing.
It’s always a dilemma; trying to find healthy snacks to eat, especially when you’re busy. This is where just a little forward planning can really help.
Flapjacks, which are totally delicious and sustaining, can often be sugar and calorie laden. However, it’s perfectly possible to bake some energy-boosting flapjacks that are healthy and won’t damage your waistline.
Oats, which are slow releasing carbohydrates are the key ingredient. If you’re sensitive to gluten, then you can always use the gluten-free variety. It’s also good to include flaxseeds, which are loaded with healthy omegas. Additionally, pistachios are a great source of healthy fats and are packed with minerals such as potassium and magnesium. The essential omegas are needed for healthy skin and hair, plus trace minerals such as magnesium are essential for hormone balancing – you’ll glow inside and out!
For sweetness, you can add a little honey, but dried fruits such as dates and raisins will really get your taste buds going. Dried fruits are also a great source of fibre and energising iron.
These delicious flapjacks keep for a while if tightly stored, so once they’re made, you’re never going to be without that mid-meal ‘pick-me-up’.
Oats are one of the best starts of the day, so whilst you’ve got the oats out of the cupboard, why not make up a batch of healthy granola for a great breakfast? You just need to add some energising coconut oil, a little honey, pumpkin seeds (which are a great source of omega-3s), some dried fruit and cinnamon. This recipe also works well with walnuts chopped on the top and then lightly baked in the oven.
Evening meal bakes
What to eat for dinner is the daily conundrum for most people. However, just as it’s great to have plenty of breakfast and snack options in the cupboard, it’s easy to bake a tasty dish that will store in the fridge for a few days.
A meat-free lasagne is very cost effective, especially as it’s going to last a few days. It’s packed with antioxidants, protein, fibre and gut-friendly foods and herbs. Lentils, spinach and mushrooms are key ingredients. Also add some canned tomatoes (full of the antioxidant lycopene), rosemary, garlic, natural yoghurt and onions (all good for the digestive system). Adding some ricotta cheese will also provide additional protein. If you’re gluten sensitive, you can always use gluten-free lasagne.
It should take no longer than 20 minutes preparation time and you’ll have a warming dish to come home to in the evenings.
Baking can also help to de-stress your mind – another wonderful health benefit of making more healthy bakes this autumn.
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