So, you want to make/eat baked goods and maintain low carb lifestyle? Good news, it is totally possible! I am a firm believer that you can show your love, hospitality and good will through baked goods. Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked goods wafting through the house?
Just because you’ve made the choice to lower your sugar and carbohydrate intake doesn’t mean you have to give up baking! The best part about committing to a low carb lifestyle is that there are so many great alternatives to sugar sugar (insert tune of The Archies song). Since I started my journey in low carb eating, I have constantly been experimenting in the kitchen with baked deliciousness. I should also mention that I live with a 28-year old with the palate of a 3 year old when it comes to what he calls “sad food”, so any recipe that passes his test is considered a win for me! What I’ve learned so far is to always have a key few ingredients in the pantry for when you find yourself with the urge to get baking.
Here are some must have items that every low carb baker should have on hand at all times:
Most recipes call for flour, and hello we all know flour is packed full of carbohydrates. There’s about 76g grams of carbohydrates per 100g of all purpose flour. Thankfully, there are some amazing flour alternatives that in addition to having a lower carbohydrate content, are packed full of additional health benefits. The two most popular flour alternatives for low carb bakers are coconut and almond flour. Each have their added benefit and I think that any old pro’s will have a supply of each in the pantry! Here’s a quick little overview of the differences between coconut and almond flour:
Made from ground, blanched almonds
High in Vitamin E
High in Magnesium
Slightly more expensive
Great for savoury baking
Made from ground coconut meat
SUPER high in fibre
Great for sweet baking
The best way to get started using flour alternatives is to try out recipes that already call for flour substitutes. It can be tricky to get an approximate conversion right at first, and as with normal baking there are so many factors that go into a successful recipe. Once you get used to seeing how the ingredients react with each other in recipes you’ll be on your way!
Ok. Let’s talk about sweeteners that aren’t sugar. So, as we are learning about the harmfulness and addictive qualities of sugar, the market is responding with all these “natural alternatives”. To be completely honest they all sound like scary chemicals with big names. Xylitol, Erythritol, Stevia… and those are only the most popular. There are so many different options out there that are vying to solve this huge problem. When it came to baking with these alternatives I had NO idea where to start. Just like flour alternatives, I think it’s really important for you to try out what works for you. My favourite, and a very popular alternative is Swerve. The reason I like to use swerve is because it looks like sugar, bakes like sugar and tastes the right amount of sweet. One of the big benefits of Swerve is that it comes in two different forms: granular and confectionary. This goes back to what I said about how it bakes like sugar. The granular is great for baking and even caramelizing, and the confectionary is the perfect ingredient for a buttercream icing. Plus Swerve measures about cup for cup of what regular sugar does. So substituting it in your recipes is really easy!
While having these ingredients in your pantry will not automatically turn you into a low carb master chef they will definitely get you on your way!
I also added a freebie of my favourite one minute chocolate mug cake! I make this at least once a week and it hits the spot when I’m craving something sweet!