The other day we put out a post with the recipe for our Lemon & Blueberry Buckle with Empower Bar Streusel (missed it? Click here!). Given that we always bake with blood sugar balance in mind, we wanted to pass along some suggestions for making your pantry more beneficial. While baking is a modality meant for indulging, savoring and celebrating, there can be those baked goods that are not only delicious, but nutritious as well!
With a few staples, you will be able to make simple substitutions to any recipe, while increasing the nutritional benefits to boot! Here are the items in our pantry:
- Sweeteners: As you know in our bars, we only use two types of sweeteners: monk fruit and coconut nectar. We also love the granulated version of the latter, coconut sugar. Coconut sugar can replace white and brown sugars, while the nectar is a liquid (think instead of honey, maple syrup, etc). Coconut sweeteners are not only lower on the glycemic index, but also consist of vitamins and minerals. Other examples of liquid sweeteners that you can include are honey, maple syrup, yacon syrup, blackstrap molasses and even mashed banana.
- Flours: Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Flour, Almond and coconut flours are grain-free go-to’s. Hazelnut meal is another good option. We highly suggest keeping baked goods gluten-free, and there are many options to choose from: brown rice, buckwheat, chickpea, amaranth, teff, quinoa, and ground oat flour. If gluten-free isn’t something you worry about, we suggest spelt flour. It’s an ancient grain chock full of nutrition and more easily digestible.
- Fats: Try coconut oil and ghee. If you can tolerate dairy, grass-fed butter is a high-quality, nutritious ingredient (containing B vitamins and butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid which is anti-inflammatory and good for the gut). Nut butters of any kind are always great to hand on hand (for so many reasons). If you ever want to cut down on the oil used in a recipe, try subbing a bit of unsweetened applesauce or canned pumpkin.
- Milks: Opt for full-fat coconut milk (in the can) or nut milks. There is an abundance of dairy-free milks that come in a carton nowadays, from oat to hemp to macadamia, so the possibilities are endless! Studies show that cow’s milk negatively impacts insulin levels in the same way as refined carbohydrates, so when it comes to hormonal balance, choosing dairy-free milks matter!
- Other: Chia seeds and ground flax are great additions to baked goods. They add a source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and a host of vitamins and minerals. 1 tablespoon of either mixed with 3 tablespoons of water equal one egg, if you are needing egg-free. Lastly, upgrade to a high-quality pink Himalayan sea salt and make sure your spice cabinet is well stocked! Spices are necessary when it comes to flavor. Those we love in baked goods are cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cloves and vanilla.
Fun fact! The recipes for the Empower Bars and V Bars were created with these nutritional upgrades in mind!