Reduced fat doesn’t have to mean reduced flavour, whether you’re preparing a sweet treat for a weeknight or hosting a dinner party for big group of friends.
According to the most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey by Public Health England, most people in the UK eat more than their recommended amount of saturated fat, which has been linked to higher LDL-cholesterol levels. It’s been found that replacing saturated fat in the diet with unsaturated fat can lower cholesterol levels. Learning about saturated fat and unsaturated fat can help you make wiser food choices – and you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of ways to swap saturated fat for unsaturated fat and still eat delicious meals.
- Fruit – an easy way to reduce the amount of fat in your baking is to replace half with a fruit puree, like prunes, apples or mashed bananas. However, this method doesn’t work for every bake as it can make the overall consistency denser or alter the flavour. That’s fine for brownies or biscuits, but not an airy Victoria sponge. Another healthy swap that can work well in brownies are sweet potatoes, giving them a rich caramel flavour.
- Egg whites – although eggs have plenty of healthy elements like protein, the yolks do contain more saturated fat. You could try swapping one of the whole eggs in your recipe for two egg whites, which will still bind your cake and contain plenty of protein.
- Yoghurt – you can try baking a delicate orange, cinnamon and yoghurt cake with a pre-tested recipe, or substitute half the fat from a standard cake recipe with low- or non-fat yoghurt. On the other hand, if your recipe asks for sour cream, you can swap all of it with yoghurt. Using plain Greek yoghurt won’t up your sugar intake and may also make you feel fuller for longer as it’s high in protein.
- Non-stick – using non-stick baking trays, frying pans or cake tins means you can use less oil to stop your cakes, waffles or pancakes from sticking. It’s still a good idea to use some, and to check the manufacturer’s advice before baking. Having good non-stick products is also a great way to save time, as it makes cleaning much easier! Just avoid using scratchy metal sponges, as they can damage the surface.
- Avocados – this smooth fruit contains ‘good’, unsaturated fats. Innovative ways to use avocado include blending it to make a silky, rich chocolate mousse or key lime pie filling. It’s a great option if you’re catering for vegan guests, and is also high in antioxidant vitamin E, which helps to keep skin and eyes healthy.
- Seeds – rather than extra sugar or butter, add seeds to finish off your baking. Roughly blended almonds can make a delicious crumble, while sunflower seeds make a delectable flapjack topping. They’ll add a complex, nutty edge when toasted and contain fibre, an important part of any balanced diet. Like avocados, seeds and nuts are also sources of unsaturated fats.