healthy savoury muffins with seeds and chilli in

Whether it’s for a friend’s birthday, afternoon tea or just any excuse to get the stand mixer out, if you love to bake, it’s a guarantee your friends and family are reaping the benefits too.

But if you’re concerned that a healthy lifestyle and a baking habit don’t go hand in hand, think again. You can still enjoy your bakes guilt-free with these simple swaps that are not only lighter than traditional cakes, they’re also full of nutritious ingredients – so you can tuck into them without having to worry about empty calories.

BISCUITS

These gluten-free lemon millet biscuits created by our good friend Anna Jones aren’t just for the gluten intolerant – they’re real all-rounders. A doddle to knock together, the desiccated coconut and lemon zest really shake things up both on the flavour and texture front.

And for the chocolate fiends among you, give some dairy-free chocolate and nut cookies a whirl – they’re still a treat, but with the added bonus of containing nutrient-rich pecans, high in the mineral manganese, which we need to keep our bones healthy.

cookiesdairyfreeThese dairy-free chocolate and nut cookies are a real treat, but they’re rich in nutrients!

MUFFINS

These delicious sweet potato muffins from Jamie’s latest book Everyday Super Food are jam-packed full of the good stuff. The sweet potato and chilli contain an abundance of vitamin C to help protect our cells from damage and the protein from the eggs, cheese and seeds help to keep us fuller for longer – making these a great breakfast option.

Or for a sweeter variety, how about some dairy-free apple muffins? The apple and cinnamon go super well together and the chopped hazelnuts add a lovely crunch. As well as being lighter than your standard muffin, these are dairy-free too – perfect if any of your family or friends are lactose intolerant.

GRANOLA

For a lighter on-the-go snack, give the shop-bought granola bars a miss and bake your own at home. Packed full of fibre-rich oats, these nutty bars are not only filling, they’re easy to make, too. Jools’ gorgeous granola is great to whip up in batches, then store in an airtight container until needed. Do what Jamie and Jools do at home and sprinkle it over yoghurt and porridge for a lovely sweet crunch.

granolaThese gorgeous granola bars are perfect for an on-the-go snack

BREAD

Melt-in-the-mouth banana and honey bread is a lighter alternative to cake, great for tackling those sweet cravings. Serve warm for breakfast or enjoy with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Not only is this rustic-looking soda bread lighter than many of the shop-bought varieties, but choosing wholemeal flour over white is better for you as it contains more minerals, iron, phosphorus and vitamins. Winner!

CAKE

And finally, if cupcakes are your thing, try some gluten-free apple, almond and cardamom versions – they’re super-simple to make. The spicy-sweetness of the cardamom really adds a beautiful depth of flavour, and at only 145 calories per cupcake, you can devour them without having to worry about calorie overload.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a chunk of chocolate cake as a treat every now and then, but with plenty of lighter alternatives out there, there’s really no reason why you can’t nurture a baking habit the healthy way, too! For more baking inspiration, check out our afternoon tea ideas.