Things you can put in your baked goods to make them healthier

Lianne Frick/Senior Staff

So, your parents and elder peers have warned you about the temptation of sweets in college. Maybe they’re all too familiar with the “freshman 15” or are simply looking out for your wellbeing, but get this: Baked goods don’t have to be bad for you. What?! Yeah, you heard us right. While you may think this is a bunch of bologna, it really can be true. Little did you know, there are simple, inexpensive changes you can make to what you put into your baked goods. These little changes may help reduce the guilt you feel while shoving that cookie in your mouth (yeah, we see you) or trying to prevent the looming freshman 15. So, without further ado, let us at the Clog tell you about those easy ingredient swaps and additions so that you can make and eat all the baked goods, guilt-free.

Swap out white flour for whole-wheat flour

This is probably one of the easiest and most beneficial changes you can make to what goes into your baked goods. Whole-wheat flour is inexpensive (not much more than white flour) and easy to find at the grocery store, and it’ll add a lot more fiber to your baked desserts. While it may make your baked goods a lot denser than usual, the whole-wheat flour will help keep your dessert consumption to a minimum as it fills you up faster.

Use half the normal amount of sugar and add vanilla extract and cinnamon instead

You may be wondering how you could possibly bake any sort of dessert without a buttload of sugar. Well, we at the Clog are here to tell you that that’s not necessarily the case. While you could theoretically replace all of the sugar in your baked goods with ingredients such as vanilla extract and cinnamon (and even nutmeg), baby steps are important. So, try your recipes using half the normal amount of sugar and substituting the rest with vanilla extract and cinnamon. We promise you’ll still have a sweet treat — minus the guilt (and freshman 15).

Swap out butter for avocados or applesauce

Sure, you could swap out butter for olive oil or other unsaturated fats, but if you choose that route, you run the risk of getting soggy cakes and cookies by the end of your baking process. Using thicker ingredients such as avocado puree and applesauce will ensure that your baked goods include less unhealthy fats and don’t turn into a wasted pile of mush.

Add vegetables like zucchini and carrots

If you’re not sure about swapping staple ingredients for healthier options, one of the easiest things you can do is add vegetables such as zucchini and carrots. Shred the vegetables thinly and mix them into your brownie batter, cake batter or even cookie dough, and voila, you’ve got a healthy (but still sweet) treat. Bonus: You can hardly taste the vegetables, but at least you know that you’re still eating them.

Chia or flax seeds for eggs

What?! Yep, that’s right. You can actually swap out chia or flax seeds for eggs in nearly any baked good — cookies, cakes and muffins included. We don’t exactly understand the science behind this one or how exactly it works, but take it from us — it does. To convert your seeds into an egg substitute, use about a tablespoon of chia or flax seeds and mix them with water, then let your pseudo-egg cool in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. Add to your baked goods and avoid that high cholesterol!

Swap out chocolate chips for cacao nibs

Making chocolate chip cookies but want to avoid regretting eating them later? Never fear, because cacao nibs are here. But, what are cacao nibs, you might ask? Well, they’re basically way healthier versions of your run-of-the-mill, semi-sweet chocolate chips. Cacao nibs are essentially raw, unsweetened chocolate, meaning they’re lacking all the extra bad stuff (i.e. sugar) included in normal chocolate chips. Plus, they have loads of antioxidants in them, which means that you’re not only cutting out extra sugar, but you’re also receiving some sweet health benefits too.

Happy healthy eating, Bears!

Contact Chloe Lelchuk at [email protected].