When you’re trying to lose weight, you may not necessarily think about baking. Usually, you’re so set on cooking meals that are healthier for you that baked sweets are the last food items on your mind. You can theoretically bake healthier foods, but the first ones that come to mind are desserts and other unhealthy treats.
However, the good news is that you can have your cake and eat it too. We spoke with The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure, who helped us discover some of the best baking habits you can have for weight loss. They’re showing us that you can still bake when you’re on your weight loss journey, as long as you follow these best baking practices.
When you’re hungry, everything around you looks delicious, and it’s very tempting to eat whatever is around you.
“It’s hard enough to resist countless nibbles of delicious raw dough and tempting ingredients like chocolate chips when you’re not hungry, but start baking when you’re hungry and it’s game over,” says The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll be looking to settle a grumbling belly with calorie-dense items that make it all too easy to consume a day’s worth of calories before your baked goods have even made it into the oven.”
This may not sound like the most common baking hack, but it’s great for when trying to lose weight!
“One of the best ways to save calories when baking without losing flavor is to swap out calorie-dense butter and oils for prune puree,” says The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll replace unhealthy fats while improving the texture and adding moisture and richness to everything from baked goods, appetizers, and entrees to desserts.”
The Nutrition Twins suggest that for every half cup of oil you replace with prune puree, you’ll save nearly 600 calories.
How much should you swap? The Nutrition Twins break it down for you:
- Replace ½ cup of oil in recipes with ¼ cup oil and ¼ cup prune puree
- Swap 1 stick of butter for ½ stick of butter and ½ cup of prune puree.
“We like Sunsweet prunes because of their high levels of antioxidants and acidity which add a delicious tangy caramel flavor,” says The Nutrition Twins.
Let’s be real, who doesn’t love eating a piece of raw dough to make sure it tastes good? But as tempting as it is, it’s important to minimize your tasting.
“Although you ideally don’t want to do any tasting during baking to avoid consuming excess calories, sometimes it’s essential to nail the perfect taste and texture,” says The Nutrition Twins. “Just be sure to keep your 3 tastes small, as they can still set you back over 150-200 calories, depending on the food.”
According to The Nutrition Twins, a few extra and larger bites when you’re not cautious can suddenly result in consuming more calories than you should for an entire meal…or even two.
Another unusual swap, beans still get the job done for tasty and healthier baked goods. The Nutrition Twins suggest using white beans instead of butter in white cakes to cut back on calories. “You use the same amount of cooked white beans as butter is called for,” says The Nutrition Twins. “The calorie savings would be Nearly 1,400 calories per cup! So for every cup of butter you replace with white beans, you save nearly a days worth of calories.”
Cutting calories isn’t the only benefit to including beans in baking. “Beans, such as white beans, provide fiber and protein to keep you satisfied, so it’s no surprise that studies show that people who eat them and other beans tend to weigh less and have smaller waistlines,” says The Nutrition Twins. “Also, your vegan and lactose-free friends can enjoy these dishes too.”
For a unique yet delicious baked treat using beans, try The Nutrition Twins’ Chickpea Blondies.
This out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality may help eliminate any extra temptations.
“The aroma of baked goods can be luring enough, but if it’s sitting there, staring you down too, it’s even harder to resist,” says The Nutrition Twins. “It sounds trite, but out-of-sight, out-of-mind can save you from consuming hundreds of unwanted calories.