Tips for Healthy Baking

4ab1f7175d877f1ace06da2090d9b3fbI’m not going to tell you to skip butter. This article is not about being gluten-free or vegan or even low calorie! I just wanted to write about saving yourself from eating a whole cake right after you’ve baked it. I want to talk about being a good baker while saving yourself a few calories (and a few pounds, even, overtime). So, without further ado, I present you my tips for healthy baking:

  1. Have a Snack
    I highly recommend eating something before you start baking. Something filling and maybe even healthy. Today I baked a chocolate cake. I had lunch but I was still a little hungry so I had almond butter on toast as a snack. This keeps me from eating all the batter. Also, later, when I eat the cake/whatever baked good it is i’m making, I’ll know that I’m enjoying it for how good it is, not just because I’m hungry.
  2. Drink Water
    Stay hydrated. You know what they say about people confusing dehydration and hunger? Well, I don’t know how much truth is in that, but I can at least attest to keeping myself full of water to stop eating. If i’m hydrated, i’m more focused and more happy. I also am not adding calories to the process by drinking milk or cocoa or something like that. You can have tea or coffee, but personally I add sugar to mine and sugar=calories. Which is what we are trying to avoid, right?
  3. Lick the Spoon
    But not the bowl. I am huge advocate of testing your recipe before it goes in the oven. Raw egg? I’ll risk it (always have). I taste my cakes, cookies, bread, all of them, to get a good idea if I’m on the right track. Bread dough and cornbread batter is not that appetizing (unless you’re hungry) but I do it for the sake of the end result. The times I’ve skipped this step I have regretted it. The key is to test your batter, maybe multiple times as you tweak it, but don’t lick the bowl. Once you are done with a bowl, put it in the sink and add water. Or give it to the kids roommates to attack. Same thing goes for the beaters.
  4. Do the Dishes. Right Away.
    I do the dishes right away for two reasons: 1. It gets them out of the way and done so they are not looming later (I was raised that way), and 2. It prevents me from licking the bowl and burns calories (yes, I count that as one).
  5. Pretend you’re a Professional
    Why? Why would I do that if I don’t care how it looks as long as it tastes good and I’m the only one eating it? Because everything will be cleaner and you will sneak less. I pretend I have to follow the health code (mostly, taste testing not included). This means keeping the counters clean, no five-second rule, no licking the bowl, and keeping my hands very clean (no licking fingers). It’s small, but it helps.
  6. Eat
    As soon as your cake or cookies or whatever you are making is cooled and totally done (frosting, assembling, etc) eat it. But don’t eat it all in one sitting (unless you made a one-man crepe or something). Do make a big deal about it. The longer I spend making something, the bigger a deal I make about eating it (e.g. Thanksgiving). So when I bake, I get all ceremonial. I make coffee or another fun drink to go with it (champagne, hot cocoa, even tea), arrange it beautifully on a plate, and take my time to savor it. Sometimes I go for 2nds, and that’s OK. It’s when you go for the the 2nds every time, or the 3rd or 4ths, or lie to yourself about what one serving is, that is when you get into dangerous territory. Enjoy your hard (or maybe easy) work. Savor it and praise yourself.

I can only guarantee that these steps will save you calories if you usually get a little too intimate with your batter or dough. I have no proof, or weight loss results. This is simply what I do to save myself from gaining weight with my favorite hobby. Bonus tip: Share your goodies (queue song). More for them=less for you (and that can be a good thing).