1. Sneak in the goodness
Nothing wrong with a bit of underhand super-fooding. Hide veg where you can - grated or pureed carrots, pumpkin, spinach or courgette will have a pleasing moist texture in muffins and cakes and kids will hardly notice them. If they’re anything like my little ones they’re surprisingly pleased with ANYTHING that looks like a cupcake, even if it is made from carrot and spinach!
2. Sweeten with fruit
Some bakes need sugar to give structure, particularly sponges, but you can usually cut down sugar by at least ⅓ without any bake properties being affected. Apple or pear puree is a great substitute for sugar, adding sweetness from unrefined fruit - you can make your own by mashing tinned pears! Just reduce the oil or other liquid in the recipe to balance the extra moisture. You can also cut down on refined sugar and throw in a bit of dried fruit instead. Fruit sugars are not just empty calories, they’re packed with fibre and minerals like potassium and iron. Dates are a great example.
3. Switch flours
Try replacing white flour with half wholemeal and half white. This small change will boost the fibre, B vitamins and lower the GI. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even try some of the more unusual fours like quinoa or chickpea flour for higher protein. I’m a big fan of also sneaking in a few spoonfuls of ground flaxseed for some Omega 3 goodness.
4. Yes to yoghurt
Yoghurt works wonders as a way of cutting down on butter and oil. It creates wonderful moist muffins at a fraction of the fat. Use it in your bakes every time you get the chance! Not only is it low fat but it’s higher in protein and a source of calcium. Win win!
5. Ditch the sprinkles
Top your bakes with seeds. Seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses. Did you know poppy seeds, for example, are a great source of calcium? Freeze dried fruit like raspberry or strawberry crumbs can create spectacular colourful toppings that are 100% natural and high in vitamin C. Just be sure to put them on after you’ve baked.