Not only have we got Paul Hollywood and the gang back on our screens, but it’s also National Chocolate week – so there’s no better time to list our favourite healthy bakes (with some chocolate thrown in for good measure) that you can still enjoy whilst watching what you eat.
Chocolate is definitely up there with the number one thing we miss when dieting, but by swapping milk chocolate for dark or substituting it with cocoa nibs, you can whip up some tasty recipes for that chocolatey fix, without the calories.
First up is this Cocoa and Cherry Bake, packed with all the good stuff such as hazelnuts, porridge oats and dried cherries, this feels like an indulgent treat.
75g dried cherries
1 tbsp chia seeds
500ml hazelnut milk
200g jumbo porridge oats
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp cocoa nibs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g blanched hazelnuts
fat-free yogurt and sugar-free cherry compote, to serve (optional)
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cover the cherries with boiling water and set aside for 10 mins. Meanwhile, mix the chia seeds with 3 tbsp warm water.
Drain the cherries and put in a large bowl with the soaked chia and the remaining ingredients, except the hazelnuts. Tip into a 2-litre ovenproof dish and scatter over the hazelnuts, then bake for 25-30 mins until piping hot in the middle. Serve with yogurt and cherry compote, if you like.
Next is a true lockdown favourite – Banana Bread. With a few clever swaps, this simple loaf makes the perfect breakfast snack or afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea.
low-fat spread, for the tin, plus extra to serve
140g wholemeal flour
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
300g mashed banana from overripe black bananas
4 tbsp agave syrup
3 large eggs, beaten with a fork
150ml pot low-fat natural yogurt
25g chopped pecan or walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment (allow it to come 2cm above top of tin). Mix the flours, bicarb, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
Mix the bananas, syrup, eggs and yogurt. Quickly stir into dry ingredients, then gently scrape into the tin and scatter with nuts, if using. Bake for 1 hr 10 mins-1 hr 15 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool in tin on a wire rack. Eat warm or at room temperature, with low-fat spread.
Now we all know how important it is to get five fruit or veg a day, but have you considered smuggling them into your brownies? Beetroot is a fantastic addition to these Easy Beetroot Brownies as it keeps them nice and moist.
250g beetroot, cooked and pureed
200g dark chocolate
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a slice tin with baking paper.
Place the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave.
Add the pureed beetroot to the melted chocolate and mix. Add the flour and brown sugar and stir until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared slice tin and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool in tin before slicing.
Dieting doesn’t have to mean missing out on the things you love, it’s all about tweaking recipes and replacing high-sugar or high-fat ingredients for something a little lighter. For more tasty twists on your favourites, check out our healthy curry alternatives here.