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what do you bake when you are...

trying to eat healthy? And what does your typical daily menu look like when trying to eat healthy?

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  1. i don't associate eating healthy with baking -- unless it is some "health" muffins.

    cakes and the like are out, right?

    veggie casseroles are good, and they can be made lighter. summer is a perfect time to enjoy the abundance of squash, corn, tomatoes, eggplant. each one of those makes a fine casserole. a little onion, sauteed, blend in with the chopped veg, sprinkle in a little broth or water (or half-n-half, depending), add salt and pepper, and any herbs, then sprinkle with some bread crumbs and parm. bake it up! maybe add in some chopped bell peppers for extra flavor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal

      I agree which is probably why I do very little baking.

    2. I bake a banana bread, with pecans, cherries, blueberries or whatever fresh fruit is around. Healthy enough for me!

      1. I bake bread. A slice of bread with dinner doesn't seem decadent. Sometimes I bake cookies or muffins and bring them into the office.

        1. There are healthy-ish fruit cobblers and crisps. I guess an angel food cake is better than other cakes - serve with fresh berries of course. Bakes apples and pears, and grilled peaches and pineapple are also pretty good.

          1. Whole-grain bread. Not right now, because it's just too damn hot. But replacing refined carbs with whole grains is always a good thing.

            As far as the daily menu goes, Michael Pollan said it: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

            2 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

              Yep, and I've cut out.almost.all.red.meat.period. For me...not saying everyone should do this (just lost my 57 year old brother to colon cancer in May and our dad died of it) And I've started to include sea vegetables...I eat a sheet of nori every day. I hardly bake anything except sweet potatoes!!! (too hot, here in SWFL to be baking right now)

              1. re: Val

                Sorry to hear of your loss, Val.

            2. When I really want to have a baked good, I make a variation of these: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

              No gluten, no dairy, no sugar (if you leave out the chocolate). I change out the fat, and add veggies in lieu of coconut.

              Depending on your definition of healthy, you may find other recipes of interest at 101cookbooks, and delicious savory delights as well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: maxie

                These sound great! I will make these a nd sub flax seed meal for the almond meal since we have nut allergies in the family!

                I will buy whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour from now on. Can I sub it for everyhthing? Can I use it to make roux?

                ANd finally, we are getting zucchinis from the garden so I will be looking for moist, nut free zucchin bread and use applesuce for the fat, right?

                1. re: maxie

                  I made the linked recipe, Nikki's Healthy Cookies, today. Looking at the ingredients, I decided an egg was needed for binder (later read the comments on that blog and there were several mentions that they fall apart, so my instinct steered me well). My measurements erred on the generous side. I also added 3 Splenda packets and a glug (maybe 2 Tbsp) agave nectar. A heaping amount in my smallest ice cream scoop was closer to 3 tsp than the 2 in the recipe, so the 24 cookies on the parchment sheet took 30 min to brown well, but I made the remaining 12 in a mini-muffin tin with paper liners. Same amount of dough per cookie but these browned better and I would recommend baking them this way over the larger parchment-lined baking sheet. I think they are not bad but unless I have aging bananas to use up, wouldn't rush to make them again. They score higher in terms of health than taste, IMO. The eggless original version is probably good as far as vegan recipes go, but I do have a sweet tooth and rarely enjoy vegan dessert items.

                2. I bake all the time and I consider my diet pretty healthy, although I do not completely eschew sugar or fat -- I just try to consume them in moderation.

                  Here's what I do: I substitute most or all of the white flour in every recipe with whole wheat pastry flour. I usually cut down on the amount of sugar by one third to one half. I concentrate on fruit desserts (someone mentioned cobbler, which is a favorite of mine) and I use very little sugar because the fruit usually has plenty of flavor. I usually cut down on the amount of fat called for as well.

                  Another good way to bake more healthfully is to make tea breads and use a lot of fruit and/or nuts, whole grains and oats, and not too much sugar. I also love cookies and make them frequently, with most of the modifications noted above, and I tend to make small-sized cookies and practice portion control.

                  The more you make yourself, and the less you buy pre-made baked goods, the more you can control what goes in there and get to know what you like, and what healthy substitutions work for you.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: visciole

                    This is my M.O. too - although I admit that I have trouble with portion control when it comes to baked goods, so I don't bake all the time. Freezing is a great tactic - make a batch of something, eat a couple, freeze the rest and pull them out when you "need" a treat. I made these zucchini muffins recently and they're terrific. I have them in the freezer now, and when I am craving a delicious baked good, I pop one out, let it thaw on the counter or else in the micro and sit down w/a cup of tea. http://www.semisweetonline.com/2010/0...

                    As for "trying to eat healthy" - it helps to approach it as a lifestyle choice, rather than an effort you make for a brief period . . . think of limiting processed foods and go for lots of fruits, veggies, & whole grains. Your diet should be varied, and most of all, you should enjoy your food! Cooking for yourself is probably one of the best ways to healthy-up your diet . . . like visciole says, then you're in control of what's going in your body.

                    Good luck!


                    1. re: visciole

                      Replacing white flour with whole wheat is one of the best things you can do when baking certain breads, cakes, pizza dough. etc. Obviously, this won't work with angel food cake, but in general, you can have your cake and eat it, too. And I totally agree with the suggestion to reduce the sugar. Many recipes call for far too much sugar (2 cups for zucchini bread? Please!!) I also recommend trying other flours, such as bean flours, in place of wheat flour. I've made some really nice shortbread with garbanzo flour.

                      1. re: Isoldamay

                        I'm not sure what zucchini bread recipe you're referring to - but the one I reference above only calls for 1 1/3 c. (2 loaves) and it's just enough to make it sweet, but it's definitely not over the top . . . .


                    2. are you willing to use xylitol or Splenda?

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Emme

                        I would be interested in xylitol, a customer deals in it and I've always wondered about how it would work in baking.

                          1. re: Emme

                            Textures come out the same? Using special recipes?

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Some people get gastric distress from xylitol, so I would tread lightly. Also it doesn't have the same properties as sugar. It absorbs moisture and kills yeast. I would imagine baking success would vary from product to product. Disclaimer: I have only read about it and used it in very small quantities in beverage applications.

                              1. re: maxie

                                It has a slight cooling/minty aspect too, no? I really wonder how it would work. Sugar is so important for texture and browning.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  xylitol makes people runny. 'nuf said.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Gotcha, no go then ;-). (Your riposte on the thread on car bombing in AU is needed btw, I can't wait to see it.)

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      that's your decision of course, but personally, i find the least upset with xylitol. i like stevia as well, but find xylitol bakes better. i haven't done "special" recipes. i've used it in cookies, muffins, and my own egg white - almond milk custards...

                                      1. re: Emme

                                        I'm still intrigued. Cup for cup substitutions?

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          roughly... i tend to taste too...

                      2. honey wheat bread, which I then eat a slice of as a snack. I love homemade wheat bread with some (GASP!) country crock spread (yeah, I know..) or even ev olive oil, jam, etc

                        I have used this recipe:


                        and it just about always doesn't rise in the oven as much as I'd like (many have this problem with this recipe) but is still yummy, especially after being popped into the toaster!

                        1. When I want to be healthy? I bake the same things when I am trying "not to be healthy". Only difference is I just eat less of what I bake.

                          I don't believe it's "healthy" to ever deprive yourself of anything.

                          Eat everything, but in moderation; otherwise, eat nothing at all.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I agree with you completely. We go around just once so why deprive yourself.

                            2. I like quiches. Leftovers are good hot or cold. (I prefer cold) Quick breads (w/o yeast as I've yet to master that skill). Cakes are usually put into cupcake tins. They don't dry out as much.

                              I do bake probably once a week, except when it's so hot. I don't usually have a problem w/ portion control as mentioned by Ipsedixit. If the portion is more than I'll eat in a week, neighbor gets first dibs as he's a happy guinea pig. A cupcake after lunch is actually a highlight of a mid-day meal in a hectic day.

                              I had a problem w/ the Xylitol as mentioned above. SEVERE blah, blah, blah. you don't want to know the details. I shy away from those options. I will cut the sugar in a recipe after I've made it the first time, if I think it needs it.

                              1. I make cookies... they are easier to share than a cake or pie. I bake tons of them (per ususal) and hand them out to my friends in ziploc bags. This way I get to enjoy just a few of them but still get to bake.

                                I don't use any sugar or fat substitutes in my baking... I never feel that the texture/taste is the same. I'd rather have the real thing in moderation. I also try not to eat any sweets that I don't make myself.

                                1. I bake whatever I want, keep enough for me and the Beast, and give the rest away. Very rarely do I have more than one or two pieces from a batch of anything except bread.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    Sorta my m.o. also, love sweet stuff but don't eat much of it. Mrbushy gets his "fair" share, which is bigger than anyone else's, then the neighbors get the rest. Healthy baking for me is baking with fruit, so, apple pie is healthy.;))

                                    Heh, heh, one guy, who lived next door, was the recipient of many big slices of chocolate cake last fall and winter; he moved away quite suddenly without saying goodbye, and we were wondering for a time whether my baking (or the quantity of) had anything to do with it.

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                      Hahahaha I love it! I sometimes wonder if people just take a look at and bin what I give them, but if they do at least it's not me wasting food.

                                    2. re: buttertart

                                      Me too. I just made one of my 10 lb apple pies (it's in a foil turkey roasting pan) that I froze last November. For my son before he goes off to college. But we had two nights for the family, and the rest went to my office. My office gets a lot of pseudo-leftovers.

                                    3. Breakfast : piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Bowl of fruit. example

                                      Lunch: No more than 1cup to 1.5 cups of leftovers from supper the night before (meat/carb). Side salad

                                      dinner: 1/2cup of carbs, small piece of meat (cooked whatever way I want. Sometimes two pieces if it's fish!), and half the plate is vegetable. To which I'll cook 2-3 different kinds in one meal to mix it up.

                                      Snacks, 2/day: usually a small bowl of whole grain cereal with some milk (morning) and a banana in the afternoon

                                      Dessert. 1/2 cup of icecream or 2-3 cookies.

                                      No juice or sugarly pop. Usually just water and tea throughout the day. Sometimes I'll have a diet rootbeer at supper. And I have one cheat daya week. But, I don't do the cheat day until I'm at the weight I want!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: livetocook

                                        That sounds like a diet that is reasonable. How much have you lost. Have you been able to follow this diet for a long time and lastly, does your cheat day make you gain back the weight you lost?

                                        1. re: lilmomma

                                          I had lost a bunch of weight "the wrong way" when I first dieted. Went from 190-145 back in 2001. When I was at 145 I started eating this way and walking daily and lost another 15-20lbs. Right now I'm back at 142 only because I had a baby. She's 15months now and I've found myself in a bit of a rut. I know I need to get out walking more and cut back on my meal choices but, I'm kind of "Meh" about it. haha. Oh well, I'm sure before next summer I'll get outta this funk. I can't go another summer with 3 pairs of pants that fit properly. And I'm not buying new when I have so many great outfit!! LOL

                                          Oh and to answer your questions (D'uh), I ate like this for 2 years no problem. The cheat day added about 2-3lbs that'd be gone by the end of the week (and hence the next cheat day was upon me). I'm sure it was water weight from the sodium consumed. It was a good thing, to eat what I did those days, b/c it made me realize how I don't want to eat all the time. I'd feel sluggish and normally felt pretty gross by the end of it..haha.

                                          I honestly think the key is not to cheat until you've gotten to the weight you want. It's easy to add that day and then fall back into the rut you may have had before. I spend years eating really, really well so it was a welcome to have the cheat day, if only to say, okay that's why you eat well. :) Oh and also, it reaffirmed that I only ate what mattered. I didn't put something into my mouth unless it was really, really worth it.

                                      2. When I try to eat healthy (I'm always TRYING, heh) I still bake. The rule is I can't just buy cookies, cakes, pie, etc. I have to make them. This has two advantages--1) I actually have the activity of baking, which is more fulfilling physically and mentally than opening a packet and 2) it weeds out casual snacking--only if I reaalllly want it will I bake something, esp. if it's complex like a torte or croissants.

                                        Similar thing with Coke. I can have it, but I don't keep it in the house. Since I work from home, I think I have actually gone out to get a Coke twice in 5 years. If I had it in the house, I'd drink one every day--and did when I worked in an office that gave out free soda. That doesn't mean I never have it--usually at the movies or with pizza.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dct

                                          You forgot a third advantage - it tastes better!

                                        2. Gluten-free and flour-less brownies:
                                          15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
                                          3 eggs
                                          1/3 cup butter, melted
                                          1/4 cup cocoa powder
                                          1/8 tsp. salt
                                          2 tsp. vanilla extract
                                          1/2 cup + 2 Tbl. cane sugar

                                          1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
                                          1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

                                          Butter 8-inch square baking dish. Preheat oven 350°F
                                          In food processor: puree black beans, eggs, butter, cocoa, sugar, salt and vanilla.

                                          Remove blade. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.
                                          Bake for 30-35 minutes until just set in the center. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                            Hi Cynsa, are these really good? As good as regular?

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              hehehe. of course it's not as good as 'regular' but it is certainly surprisingly 'good' and healthful.

                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                I've always had the philosophy "what good is healthful?" :)

                                                And no, I don't weigh 300 lbs.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  -this is 'good' for my friend on a restrictive gluten-free diet. It's allowed for celiac disease.
                                                  -for some, eating healthy or 'healthful' is controlling sodium/fat/carbs in moderation.
                                                  -for my type 2 diabetes, it's weight management-exercise-meds; fortunately I LIKE whole grains, soy, yogurt and all veggies - unfortunately, I also LIKE carbs, shortribs, bbq, fried anything and all this spikes fbg numbers skyward. No - I do not have a Sweet Tooth, but my DH has a big one. chortle here.

                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                    Guess I'm lucky that I don't have to watch what I eat, except for an allergy I developed several years ago - to beef, of all things. And I love beef !

                                          2. Carrot bread, Zucchini bread, and a muffin with prunes and oatmeal. Another one with bran.
                                            Quiche, using more egg whites, loaded with vegetables. I'm not too sure how healthy that is though, I don't claim to be a nutritionist, but it's better than a cheese and ham omlette.
                                            French bread. No oil or butter, little bit of salt. Can use wheat flour too. Low calories and low fat.
                                            Even though I prefer baquettes this one goes into the breadmachine, so there's less heat in the kitchen.

                                            When I make cooked oatmeal, sometimes I'll make extra. Add spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and whatever you like, nuts, seeds, cranberries or cherries, or blueberries and flaxseed. Cut into bars for a quick snack. Quite easy and waste not want not.