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A person pulling a baked tart out of the oven.

It’s the season for cozy nights in, fires in the fireplace, extra blankets, and our favorite of them all: fall baking. We just can’t get enough of the way the house smells when something delicious is in the oven. But do your old standby recipes fit your healthier lifestyle? Or, are you under the misconception that you need to give up all baking to stay on track with a healthy way of eating?

With some easy and enjoyable adjustments (and a dose of healthy moderation), there can be room in a well-balanced diet to enjoy fall treats. Here are some tips to transform your favorite recipes into ones that are healthier but still taste great. Plus, three of our favorite better-for-you fall recipes to get you started.

Making Room for the Sweet Stuff  

Baking doesn’t have to be associated with body-fat gain. To make it part of a healthy eating plan, it really comes down to two things: moderation and modification.

First of all, we realize that these indulgences are just that — indulgences. Baked goods — even healthier and homemade ones — probably won’t do you any favors as a nightly ritual. But we can all treat ourselves on occasion and own the decision to eat the foods we choose. We suggest eating with intent and savoring every bite.

Also, don’t skip food earlier in your day to “allow” yourself to go overboard later. As a general rule, eat normally, healthfully, and sensibly, then decide when you want to also enjoy your favorite fall indulgences.

Swap Your Sugars

Baked goods, for all of their “goodness,” are usually full of excess carbohydrates. They typically offer little in terms of necessary nutrients for their high calorie count.

Since sugar is often the biggest culprit, one of the best ways to modify recipes to make them healthier is to adjust the sugar source or amount. Consider trying one of these options:

  • Add fruit. Sweeten your baked goods with a natural sugar that also packs a nutritional punch, such as dates, dried fruits, or fresh fruit purées. Fruit also brings extra fiber and vitamins to the dish that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
  • Cut back. If you aren’t up for trying a natural source like fruit, simply reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. A lot of times, we can get away with half the sugar and still have the recipe be tasty and rich.
  • Experiment with alternative sweeteners. These won’t impact your blood sugar to the same degree as regular sugar. They include options such as stevia, erythritol, or xylitol. It may take you a couple attempts to perfect the amount you prefer or adjust to the taste.

Flip Your Fats

Oftentimes, baked goods also contain certain unhealthy fats, such as unstable oils. These oils are highly processed and can be inflammatory, as well as result in a number of other negative health effects. Skip the margarines and processed vegetable, soybean, and canola oils in favor of healthier, heat-stable fats, such as:

  • Coconut oil
  • Pastured butter
  • Light or extra-light olive oil
  • Yogurt (this substitute is best in recipes like savory dips, soups, and others that can stand an increase in moisture)

If you’re not ready to update your own recipes just yet, check out these three favorites from our Life Time Training team.

Better Fall Bread

Holiday Spice Bread

Makes 12 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Slices of holiday spice bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tbs. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup powdered sweetener of choice (like stevia)
  • 2 tbs. honey or maple syrup
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 bread pan.
  2. In small bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In large bowl, beat the eggs, butter, coconut oil, sweetener, honey or maple syrup, and extract.
  4. Beat in the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour into the greased pan.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it tests done by sticking in a fork or toothpick until it comes out clear.
  6. Cool for about 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Cool completely before serving and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Info: Calories: 160 | Protein: 4 grams | Fat: 13 grams | Carbs: 7 grams

Better Fall Muffin

Almond Butter Muffins

Makes eight servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Four almond butter muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbs. honey or stevia (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a muffin pan or insert cupcake liners.
  2. Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a blender. Pour the mixture into the muffin pan and sprinkle with a few chocolate chips if desired.
  3. Bake for about nine to 11 minutes, until the edges are brown. Let cool for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Nutritional Info: Calories: 245 | Protein: 9 grams | Fat: 17 grams | Carbs: 16 grams

Better Fall Dessert

Fruit Crisp

Makes eight servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

A baking pan filled with a fruit crisp.

Ingredients

For the fruit filling:

  • 5 peaches, sliced and pitted (may also use apples to substitute)
  • 2 tbs. agave nectar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbs. almond flour
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the streusel topping:

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil spray.
  2. Combine the filling ingredients and pour into the baking dish.
  3. Combine the streusel ingredients and mash with the tines of a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about the size of peas). Crumble on the top of the fruit filling.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 205 | Carbs: 14 grams | Fat: 14 grams | Protein: 4 grams

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Training Facebook group.

The
The Life Time Training Team

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