Written by Sidney Hopkins, Nutrition Instructor at Camp Shane Arizona

Nothing says “weekend at grandmas” like her warm chocolate chip cookies! As much as we love baking for our families, it can be difficult to keep our consumption of those high-sugar baked sweets at the recommended levels. Along with watching our portion sizes, here are a few ways you can “health-ify” your signature baked goods to make it a nutritious part of your family’s diet.

Include Fruits and Veggies

Think carrot cake, with extra carrot. Try throwing in some fresh blueberries, pumpkin puree, banana, or even experiment with zucchini muffins. If you add a fruit, cut most or all of the added sugar in the product so it’s not overly sweet.

Use Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat is higher in fiber than bleached flour. Plus the texture and taste is fuller, giving your biscuits that satisfying taste that doesn’t leave you with cravings! Look for recipes where you can replace a majority of the white flour with wheat.

Experiment with Less-Common Flourshealthy recipes

Rice flour is great for a crumb, buckwheat flour for muffins, and almond flour for cookies. Unfortunately you can’t sub an alternative for wheat flour using the same ratio. All types of flour behave differently so find a recipe that you trust with your new flour and go from there!

Use Greek Yogurt to Replace Dairy

Greek yogurt has changed the cream cheese and sour cream world with it’s high protein content and thicker texture. Baking with it makes your product more nutritious, as well as maintain a tender texture (think vanilla Greek yogurt frosting on that carrot cake!) When you can’t substitute Greek yogurt for dairy, choose low fat options since dairy tends to be high in saturated fat- the kind of fat that Americans get plenty of in their diet.

Try Swapping Butter for Applesauce or Heart-Healthy Oil

Using applesauce in fruity muffins to replace butter has been popular for years. If you haven’t tried it, yes, it works and tastes good! Find a recipe using applesauce so that the ratios are correct. If you’re not keen on using applesauce, you can replace butter with equal parts oil. Choose a light-colored, plant source oil like coconut oil or olive oil for optimum nutritional value.

The Camp Shane Team

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