Photographed By Janelle Jones.
If You Love…Cookies and Brownies
“It’s usually the butter that's the main calorie culprit (or worse, hydrogenated oils, a.k.a. trans fats), but even just soy, corn, or canola oils that might be genetically modified, too, aren’t going to be healthy for you,” says Sarma Melngailis, founder of NYC's Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck
. But, of course, the white flour that’s typically used is to blame, too. “Pure virgin coconut oil is, by contrast, a very healthy oil, and while it still contains calories and fat, it’s digested differently than typical oils and has been touted by some as a product that speeds up your metabolism,” says Melngailis. “Also, there are now a lot of great alternatives to white flour on the market, including quinoa flour, chickpea flour, raw oat flour, and more, which are far better for you than refined white flour.”
And, it's pretty intuitive to realize that when it comes to baked goods, bigger is not always better. “The best thing you can do when it comes to baked goods, if baking yourself, is to make them in mini-sizes, so right off the bat you can save around half the calories,” says Keri Gans, RD, founder of Keri Gans Nutrition
in NYC and author of The Small Change Diet
. Next, swap out sugar and other processed and calorie-dense sweeteners for small amounts of yogurt, applesauce, or egg whites. “These give the same texture with less fat,” says Gans. Also, there are ways to punch up the nutritional power of those baked goods. “One-hundred percent whole-wheat flour adds some extra fiber, while nuts provide some healthy fats,” says Gans. And, if all else fails, opt for biscotti over the plate of chocolate-chip cookies. “Biscotti typically has far fewer calories,” she says.