18 May

Written by Lizzie on May 18, 2012

Love a cupcake? Me too. Trying to drop some pounds for bikini season? Me too. Baking is a fun pastime that can help you relax, treat your family and friends to something yummy and it can do wonders for your well-being as it works great as a creative outlet. Problem is, once you’ve made the decision to get fit, oodles of red velvet cakes and gooey brownies are not exactly going to help your case. Whichever way you look at it, butter and sugar are not conducive to those abs of steel you’re lusting after. It might be time to say goodbye to that piping bag… just for a bit.

I’ve been scouring the interwebz for a little healthy eating inspiration and in doing so I’ve managed to stumble across a few recipes that mean I don’t have to put my mixing bowl back in the cupboard just yet. Switching a few ingredients out can lead to a much lower trans-fat and calorie count per portion, so you can still enjoy the baking process and enjoy the spoils too! Better yet, these home-bakes are a much less costly alternative to those packaged healthy eating solutions from the supermarket. Let me share my findings…

Low-Fat Brownies. Yeah, ok, like that’s possible. Well apparently, according to the guys at BBC Good Food, it is. At just 191 calories per serving these babies don’t scrimp on chocolatey goodness but they do use buttermilk and mayonnaise (sounds gross right? I know, but they’re yummy!) in place of butter to shave off the bad stuff. Try them out for a indulgent snack without the guilt.

Pineapple Coconut Bites. If you squint a bit these might even look like cupcakes! The addition of whole-wheat pastry flour and olive oil shreds the fat content of these treats while using honey instead of regular sugar maintains the sweetness. These come in at a minuscule 101 calories each and have a crumble-esque quality that’ll fool you into thinking you’ve been truly naugty. Plus the pineapple counts as one of your five a day, right? Right?

Breakfast Muffins. This option is not only a low-fat and nutritious alternative to the first meal of the day or a mid-morning snack, but it’s also a great way to trick your kids into eating breakfast. Send them to school on these and there will be no need for those processed, sweet, break-time snacks or lunchbox fillers. It’ll also save you time in the morning as they’re the perfect on-the-go day starter. Use the additions on the website for a little variation to save you getting bored!

Sticky Toffee Pudding. The King of Desserts, in the eyes of your waistline and cholesterol level – he’s the baddest of all the bad guys. But he doesn’t have to be. Use dates and maple syrup to sweeten and you can even serve up with greek yoghurt to help you avoid custard, cream and other pitfalls. At 339 calories per serving it’s not a perfect diet option but it’s a pretty good alternative to the sugar packed, fat filled original.

Almond & Honey-Butter Cookies These nutritious alternatives to your afternoon tea break biscuit use only honey to sweeten and ground almonds to replace the bulk of the usual butter content. Canola oil is also used and is a great alternative to other fats, popping up time and again in low-fat recipes. These bites come in at less than 100 calories each and are chock-a-block with natural ingredients.

If you try any of these recipes out be sure to give us a shout, either in the comments or over on Twitter. We’d love to know how it went. Happy baking and good luck if you’ve embarked on a healthier lifestyle, you can do it!

You can follow Lizzie on Twitter now @LizzieShopScoop

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