Healthy d-Baking with Guest Joan Bailey

Guest Post by Sally Marchini – Dietitian

One of our wonderful community members and ex volunteer, Joan Bailey, has type 2 diabetes. She also has two young daughters who both have coeliac disease. Joan loves to bake them yummy, homemade meals and treats for their lunchboxes. She also works hard to control her blood glucose levels and remain fit so that she’ll be healthy to look after her family in years to come. And she also enjoys the food that she creates for the rest of the family. This means that she needs to consider all the diabetes factors in recipes as well as making them gluten free and delicious.

In today’s blog Joan demonstrates how she does this and explains that often these healthier options are even more delicious than the original recipes. If you’re not gluten free, don’t worry as Joan has included gluten containing options too in her tips for healthier swaps 🙂

Over to you Joan:

Thanks Sally. I hope this blog highlights that for those of us who enjoy baking that it is still possible!

Today many low glycemic index (GI) recipes are available but sometimes a family favourite is hard to give up and obviously we still want to enjoy them at the end of the day.

So the only option is to identify the potentially high GI, high fat and high sodium elements within the recipe and swap them for diabetes friendly ingredients.

I personally think that taste-wise the healthier versions can taste even nicer and be more filling and satisfying!

Making the conversion

As we’ve learned through listening to Sally and other dietitians, when converting a recipe for diabetes the main components that should be addressed are the carbohydrate components (the sugars and the flours) as well as the total and saturated fat levels and the salt (sodium) content.

Once you get the proportions correct and the correct substitutions it is easy to do.

It does take a bit of trial and error, so it’s a top idea to write things down as you go.  And just like anything you do, the more practice you get, the better you’ll be at making your original ‘guesstimations’ for the substitutions.

Beginning with a Brownie recipe

Let’s start with a basic brownie recipe and look at converting each component. This table shows what a difference the changes can make!

Original recipe Amount of Nutrient Substituted with Amount of nutrient % Difference
1.5 cups self-raising flour (337g) Carb = 246g 1.5 cups chickpea (besan flour) plus a teaspoon of baking powder (225g) Carb = 104.4g -57.6%
½ cup sugar (225g) Carb = 224.5g ½ cup Stevia Carb = 0g -100%
1 cup water 1 cup water  
¼ cup cacao ¼ cup cacao  
1 tblspn vinegar 1 tblspn vinegar  
60mL full cream milk Per 100gFat Total = 4.4gSaturated = 2.9 60 mL low fat milk Per 100gFat Total – 1.2gSaturated 0.8  -73%-72%
1 tsp vanilla essence 1 tsp vanilla essence  
6 tblspns sunflower oil Per 100gFat Total = 100gSaturated = 11g 6 tblspns low fat yogurt Per 100gFat Total = 0.3gSaturated 0.2g  -99.7%-98%

Now, this table took me a little while to put together, but I think it’s quite an eye opener as to the enormous differences we can make to help our health and wellbeing, just by making a few minor changes to the original recipe.  And the taste also lived up to expectations! My girls certainly enjoyed them – they didn’t last long!


Some other helpful ideas for your recipe conversions

  • Instead of icing sugar try low fat Philadelphia cream cheese thinned out with milk and sweetened with Stevia (cocoa – optional)
  • For pizza bases/pancakes/crumpets/muffins try swapping the plain white flour with chickpea flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour and spelt flour (for those who aren’t gluten intolerant). Coconut flour is also low carb, but I find its flavour spoils the flavour of the finished product.
  • Use low fat yoghurt! It makes a great alternative for mayonnaise, sour cream, ordinary cream and can directly replace oil in baking. Here is the link to an article that talks more about it.
  • Rolled outs and ground seeds also make an excellent substitution for flours. The calorie content does needs to be considered when using ground nuts and seeds. If one cannot have oats rolled quinoa could also be used. Love this Teresa Cutter recipe for Oatmeal Scones for when a special treat is in order.
  • I have not found a good replacement for syrups. I have tried dissolving Stevia in hot water and letting it cool down. (2tsp stevia to 1 cup water) this can be used in baking but the texture is not the same as syrup.
  • Sushi can be made with cauliflower rice or even quinoa if you wanted the low GI carbs
  • Quinoa can be substituted for couscous to provide a lower carb amount (due more protein in the grain).

And now back to dietitian, Sally!

Wow Joan!  Thanks so much for making such an effort to demonstrate just what a difference a little bit of thinking in your cooking can achieve. Those girls of yours are certainly fortunate to have a Mum who looks after them with good food for their wellbeing too!

Please add your comments below if you have other suggestions/tips that you’ve discovered that might interest some of our readers.

Sally 🙂

Sally is owner of her private practice (Marchini Nutrition), and has had type 1 diabetes for close to 40 years and coeliac disease for many years too.