The Home Baking Association pronounced February as ‘Bake for Family Fun Month.’ That sounds like a good way to observe the month because when I am snowed in with my family, my children love to bake something yummy. Baking together offers an opportunity to (1) spend quality time together, (2) teach children baking skills, and (3) pass along a favorite family recipe. So how can we enjoy that time with our kids and bake something that is good for us? There are changes you can make to traditional recipes to make them healthier. One of my favorite family recipes, bran muffins, calls for all-purpose flour, but I substitute whole wheat flour for half of the flour requirement to “up” the nutritional value and fiber content.
The American Heart Association recommends these substitutions to reduce fat and cholesterol content in recipes:
- In place of whole milk, use fat-free or low-fat milk, plush 1 T. of liquid vegetable oil per cup of milk.
- In place of heavy cream, use evaporated skim milk or ½ low-fat yogurt and ½ plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese.
- Instead of sour cream, try low-fat unsalted cottage cheese and low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or use fat-free sour cream.
- In place of cream cheese, use 4 T. soft margarine blended with 1 cup dry, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese (add small amount of fat-free milk if needed).
- Instead of butter, try soft margarine or liquid vegetable oil.
- In place of 1 egg, substitute 2 egg whites or ¼ cup commercially prepared cholesterol-free egg substitute.
- Instead of unsweetened baking chocolate, use unsweetened cocoa powder with vegetable oil or soft margarine.
For a list of other ideas for recipe substitutions, see OSU Extension’s fact sheet, “How to Modify a Recipe to Be Healthier.”
Maybe instead of modifying an old recipe, you’d like to try something new. The following websites have healthy recipes available:
If you would like to know more about baking with children, the Home Baking Association offers these tips for success:
- Allow time.
- Always wash hands and countertops before starting and clean up “as you go.”
- Stay safe! Have an adult show how to do age-appropriate baking/cooking tasks.
- Before you start: All bakers read the recipe top to bottom.
- Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
- Use the right tools.
Whatever you decide to bake in your kitchen as a family, you can have some fun and be healthy at the same time.
Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County
Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County