Post-Christmas Budget-Friendly Winter Baking
From a registered dietitian
This blog and the following recipes come from registered dietitian Raina Beugelink of Revive Wellness. Revive’s mission is to improve the lives of Canadians through nutrition and wellness coaching.
Christmas baking is a special part of our traditions, but they often involve unique (and sometimes expensive) ingredients and aren’t always nutrient rich.
Come January, we face a dilemma. We’re all conscious of our wallets and waistlines this time of year, and yet we often crave hearty comforting foods that bring a little bit of joy in the dark winter months.
Baking doesn’t have to be very expensive, and it can provide wonderful nutrient content that actually fuels your body. When baking, especially in the winter, here are some guidelines to look for:
Use in-season fruit for sweetening and flavour.
Fruits that are readily available in the winter are things like oranges and other citrus fruits, cranberries, melons, pomegranates, etc. In-season fruit will be less expensive, and fruits in a skin (think citrus, pomegranate and melons) can have a longer shelf-life, meaning they won’t spoil within a day of having them home. They’re also incredibly flavourful this time of year. Summer fruits like berries are less flavourful, are super expensive and can spoil quickly.
Choose high-fibre ingredients.
Baking is going to be more satisfying and filling if it’s high in fibre. Choosing whole grain flours over all-purpose flour is a simple switch. Adding a source of fibre to your regular flour can minimize needing to have two types of flour on hand. For example, throw wheat germ or ground flax seed right into your baking mix. If you have the freezer space, store your wheat germ, ground flax seed or whole wheat flour in the freezer to prevent them from going bad before you can use them all up!
Use plant-based proteins in baking.
Yes, you read that right! Lentils, hemp hearts, flax seeds and chia seeds are all excellent ways to take a muffin or loaf and turn it into a high protein option. This will not only be filling but also help to control your blood sugar levels.
Here are a couple of recipes to try this winter. Citrus hemp heart muffins use both citrus fruit for flavour and hemp hearts to increase the protein content. They are great with a breakfast yogurt parfait or for a quick snack mid-way through the day. Greek yogurt orange cranberry loaf is a recipe that can be made ahead of time, sliced and frozen for a quick side at breakfast. It pairs nicely with hard-boiled eggs and a hot coffee for a hearty breakfast.
You don’t need to shy away from baking in the winter months, but doing it intentionally can save money and provide multiple health benefits to ring in the new year!
About Raina Beugelink, Registered Dietitian
At the start of Raina’s career, she was interested in health and wellness and knew the impact that food could have on one’s energy, vitality and overall health. Raina quickly realized she was passionate about helping people find their “ah ha” moment and empowering them to choose foods that nourished and fueled their body. As people grow and mature, we develop an intricate relationship with food, sometimes very positive and sometimes a little more negative. Working with someone to define (or redefine) their relationship with food and speak the truth about their health is something Raina feels both passionate about and privileged to do. Raina’s areas of specialty include weight loss, shift work, pregnancy and postpartum nutrition.
Citrus Hemp Heart Muffins
PREP 10M | BAKE 20M | ENJOY IN 30M
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup hemp hearts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
½ cup olive oil
6 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, hemp hearts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until combined.
- In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, orange zest, lemon zest, olive oil, orange juice and lemon juice and whisk together until smooth. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk and/or rubber spatula until fully combined (don’t over-mix the batter).
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling each muffin cup no more than ¾ full. Sprinkle each muffin with the extra hemp hearts and bake until the edges are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before serving. These freeze well in a sealed container or plastic bag for up to one month.
Serves 20 (one muffin per serving)
Nutritional analysis per serving:
8 g fat
4 g protein
17 g carbohydrate (16 g available carbohydrate)
1 g fibre
128 mg sodium
Greek Yogurt Orange Cranberry Loaf
PREP 10M | BAKE 1HR | ENJOY IN 1HR 10M
2 cups whole wheat flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
¾ cup orange juice (or juice of one orange, plus water to make ¾ cup total)
1 tbsp orange zest
1½ cups fresh cranberries
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, sugar, egg, orange juice and orange zest. Add flour mixture and stir just until combined. Do not over-mix.
- Add cranberries and walnuts. Stir until combined.
- Spoon batter into a greased loaf pan and bake on center rack in oven until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Allow to cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool fully on a wire rack. Slice into 12 slices and serve.
Serves 12 (one slice per serving)
Nutritional analysis per serving (1 slice):
5 g fat
7 g protein
37 g carbohydrate (33 g available carbohydrate)
4 g fibre
250 mg sodium