When you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t necessarily think of baking. Usually, you’re so determined to cook healthier meals for yourself that baked goodies are the last food that comes to mind. You can theoretically cook healthier foods, but the first ones that come to mind are desserts and other unhealthy treats.
However, the good news is that you can have your cake and eat it too. We spoke with The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFTand Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFTauthors of The Nutrition Twins vegetarian cure, which helped us uncover some of the best cooking habits you can adopt for weight loss. They show us that you can still cook when you’re losing weight, as long as you follow these best cooking practices.
When you are hungry, everything around you looks delicious and it is very tempting to eat everything around you.
“It’s hard enough to resist countless snacks of delicious raw dough and mouth-watering ingredients like chocolate chips when you’re not hungry, but start cooking when you’re hungry and you’re done,” says The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll be looking to soothe a cranky stomach with high-calorie foods that make it too easy for you to consume a day’s worth of calories before your baked goods are even in the oven.”
It might not seem like the most common baking hack out there, but it’s great for trying to lose weight!
“One of the best ways to save calories when baking without losing flavor is to replace high-calorie butter and oils with mashed prunes,” says The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll replace unhealthy fats while improving texture and adding moisture and richness to everything from baked goods, appetizers and entrees to desserts.”
The Nutrition Twins suggest that for every half cup of oil you replace with mashed prunes, you’ll save nearly 600 calories.
How much should you trade? The Nutrition Twins explain:
- Replace ½ cup oil in recipes with ¼ cup oil and ¼ cup prune puree
- Replace 1 stick of butter with ½ stick of butter and ½ cup prune puree.
“We love Sunsweet prunes because of their high levels of antioxidants and acidity that add a delicious tart caramel flavor,” says The Nutrition Twins.
Let’s be real, who doesn’t like to eat a piece of raw dough to make sure it tastes good? But as tempting as it is, it’s important to minimize your tasting.
“While you ideally don’t want to do any tasting while cooking to avoid consuming excess calories, sometimes finding the perfect taste and texture is key,” says The Nutrition Twins. “Just be sure to keep your 3 flavors small because they can still cost you upwards of 150-200 calories, depending on the food.”
According to The Nutrition Twins, a few extra, bigger bites when you’re not careful can suddenly result in you consuming more calories than you should for an entire meal…or even two.
Another unusual swap, beans still do the work for tasty and healthier baked goods. The Nutrition Twins suggest using white beans instead of butter in white cakes to cut calories. “You use the same amount of cooked white beans as needed for the butter,” says The Nutrition Twins. “The calorie savings would be almost 1,400 calories per cup! So for every cup of butter you replace with white beans, you save almost a day’s worth of calories.”
Cutting calories isn’t the only benefit of including beans in baking. “Beans, such as navy beans, provide fiber and protein to keep you satisfied, so it’s no surprise that studies show that people who eat them and other beans tend to weigh less and have a smaller waistline,” says The Nutrition Twins. “Plus, your vegan and lactose-free friends can also enjoy these dishes.”
For a unique yet delicious bean-based baked treat, try The Nutrition Twins Chickpea Blondies.
This out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality can help eliminate any further temptation.
“The aroma of baked goods can be quite appealing, but if it’s sitting there staring at you too, it’s even harder to resist,” says The Nutrition Twins. “It sounds trite, but out of sight, out of mind, it can save you from consuming hundreds of unwanted calories.
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and earned a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more