Do you find yourself baking more now that you’re confined to your home? Have you turned to fancy cakes and pies? Yeast breads? Or are you like me and prefer easier-to-assemble muffins, quick breads, and cookies that require less finesse but are still just as fun to eat? When it comes to baking, I always opt for simple and stress-free sweets with a dash of good health and nutrition whisked in.
For me, baking is relaxing (just don’t ever ask me to make a flaky pie crust, because it’s never going to happen!), and it also provides an opportunity to add extra fiber, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils to my family’s diet. I don’t aim for sugar free or fat free when I bake, but I do try to boost the nutritional GPA of my treats and sweets. And it turns out that I’m not alone. It’s amazing what you discover when you ask your favorite registered dietitian nutritionists on the web how they add better nutrition to their baked goods. What follows are 30 better baking tips and recipes featuring muffins made with bananas and spinach, brownies boosted with mashed black beans, and cookies crammed with oats and pecans. All 30 tips and recipes below are designed to satisfy your family’s taste buds, health, and well-being.
Muffins and Scones
White Bean Muffins by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean
I added beans to these muffins for a boost of fiber and protein.
Green Machine Muffins by Nicole at Nutrition’s My Life
This recipe is so simple because you dump everything into a blender and is nutrient dense.
Healthy Cinnamon Spice Muffins by Amy at Amy Gorin Nutrition
This recipe uses whole-wheat flour to increase the fiber, as well as Greek yogurt to decrease the fat content.
Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins by Leanne Ray
These muffins are full of nutrient-rich ingredients including peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt, milled flax, white whole wheat flour and oats!
Mini Morning Glory Muffins by Maria at Halsa Nutrition
These Morning Glory Muffins are also a favorite and incorporate both shredded carrots and apples + whole grain flour.
Morning Glory Veggie Muffins by Jenna at Make Healthy Easy
This muffin is more than a treat. It’s loaded with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and fiber to satisfy hunger and keep your energy up. Using white whole wheat flour adds fiber without making the muffins too dense. Ground flax seed is added to increase fiber more and include healthy fats.
Chocolate Zucchini Power Muffins by Sharon at The Plant-Powered Dietitian
You won’t believe the plant power in these mega nutritious, plant-based (vegan) Chocolate Zucchini Power Muffins! They are packed with dark chocolate, zucchini, avocados, hemp, chia, flax, and more—thus, they are rich in healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds, compliments of whole plants.
Classic Banana Muffins by Jenna at Manitoba Flax
I add milled flaxseed to just about everything I bake. You can easily add a scoop to any baked good – muffins, breads, cookies, pancakes, and more for a boost of fiber and omega 3s. You can also use it to swap out some flour, oil, or eggs. This recipes uses 1/2 a cup in place of some flour.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins by Melissa Altman-Traub
These muffins have extra fiber from oats and whole wheat flour, applesauce in place if some fat, monounsaturated fat from canola oil, and reduced sugar.
Blueberry Ginger Spelt Scones by Judy at Live Best
Breakfast (or tea time) tastes good with blueberry ginger scones. This recipe has nutty whole-grain spelt flour, creamy yogurt, wheat germ, juicy blueberries and ginger.
Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins by Brittany at Your Choice Nutrition
These blueberry muffins are made with whole grain oats (making them GF), only 1/4 cup sugar and no oil, but uses Greek yogurt instead.
Double Chocolate Pistachio Bread by Andrea at Beautiful Eats and Things
I decreased the fat content by replacing some of the oil with unsweetened applesauce, and I used low fat Greek yogurt to help tenderize the bread which added an additional amount of protein.
Homemade Whole Grain Zucchini Bread by Rebecca at Nourish Nutrition Blog
Most zucchini bread recipes call for white flour, but I was able to use more whole wheat flour than white flour & still get a tender zucchini bread. Also I swapped white sugar for dark brown sugar, which still gave lots of great sweet flavor and structure while being able to cut the sugar.
Banana Bread With Dark Chocolate Chunks by Melissa Altman-Traub
Here is bread made with cashew yogurt instead of dairy yogurt, half whole wheat flour, and flaxseed instead of eggs plus less sugar and fat.
No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread by Elizabeth at Better Is The New Perfect
This recipe has no added sugar and is sweetened with ripe mashed bananas and dried fruit. It’s packed with nuts, so it has heart-healthy fats. It is flourless, so those who are gluten-free can enjoy it.
Whole Wheat Butternut Squash Banana Bread by Kara Lydon
Comforting, sweet, and satisfying, this whole wheat butternut squash banana bread packs in fruits AND vegetables, whole grains, and nuts for a nutrient-packed breakfast or snack.
Banana Walnut Bread by Judy at Live Best
Banana Walnut Bread is healthier banana bread! Yogurt, whole grains, protein and fiber with less sugar and fat. The best way to use ripe bananas (and reduce wasted food)!
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread by Brittany at Your Choice Nutrition
This protein packed, lower sugar Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread made with Kodiak Cakes mix is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthier way!
Brownies and Bars
Fudgy Black Bean Brownies from me at Liz’s Healthy Table
A can of mashed black beans add a creamy texture to these brownies without the addition of butter. I do use a few tablespoons of oil, but the beans pretty much replace most of the saturated fat. I limit the chocolate chips to just half a cup, and I use the mini chips, so you’re guaranteed to get a few chips in every bite. Stick to the suggested portion!
Gluten-Free Avocado Chocolate Brownies with Prunes and Walnuts by Amy at Amy Gorin Nutrition
These brownies utilize prunes to decrease the sugar content, as well as avocado to remove the need for butter.
No Flour Brownie by KeyVion at The Millers Kitchen
I made this recipe healthier by using extra light tasting olive oil to decrease the saturated fat and add a little more unsaturated fat. I used pinto beans to add fiber. I also used egg whites instead of the whole egg to decrease the total fat.
Pumpkin Muffin Bars by Lexi at To Taste
1/2 whole wheat pumpkin muffin bars + optional dark chocolate chips. Most people save pumpkin bars for fall…but we love them year-round!
Cookies and Snack Balls
Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by Maria at Halsa Nutrition
These are always a hit. They include apple sauce and oats.
Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Cookie by Jenna at Make Healthy Easy
This healthy breakfast cookie recipe is full of healthy fats from peanut butter and seeds. It has a boost of protein from Greek yogurt and peanut butter. It’s easily gluten free (no fussy ingredients) and high in fiber thanks to only using old fashioned oats. They are sweetened with honey and dried fruit.
Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies by Brittany at Your Choice Nutrition
These gluten-free, protein packed soft Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with whole grain oats, chickpeas, natural peanut butter and sweetened with maple syrup.
Apple Cinnamon Granola Bites by Lexi at To Taste
Great alternative to no-bake oat balls or unhealthy granola bars. Made with oats, applesauce, peanut butter, and a dash of cinnamon.
Crisps and Cobblers
Apple, Rhubarb, and Berry Crisp from me at Liz’s Healthy Table
The topping for this fruity crisp is made with oats, pecans, wheat germ, just 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and oil (versus butter). The fruity filling has just 1/4 cup brown sugar, though you can easily cut that back to 2 tablespoons if you prefer a less sweet crisp. I also love to top my fruit crisps with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt versus ice cream or whipped cream.
Vegan Raspberry Peach Crisp with Healthy Crumble Topping by Nicole at Lettuce Veg Out
I’ve used a combination of whole wheat flour and almond flour for a boost of fiber and healthy fats. There’s also some ground flaxseed for a great nutrition boost. Plus, there’s only sugar added to the crumble topping, and not the fruit itself!
Crunchy Pear Cobbler by Bonnie Taub-Dix
Holiday Spice Cake by Christie at Hoorah To Health
This spice cake is made with a pecan crust, which boosts it’s fiber content to 3g per serving