I’ve never understood the term healthy cake. Even when I was younger I remember questioning the concept. ‘Surely it’s still just cake that doesn’t taste as good as cake?’.
I was right.
Any one food within a diet cannot be deemed healthy or unhealthy. Where it sits within the rest of your day is far more important. For example 1 vegetable in a day made up of otherwise processed, sugar and salt laden, high saturated fat content meals, does not make a ‘healthy choice’. Likewise, 1 brownie in a day made up of wholegrains, vegetables and lean protein, does not make an ‘unhealthy choice’.
It is what we do most of the time, that is for more relevant and has a bigger impact than what we do some of the time.
Let’s look at your healthy cake alternative. Let’s say it contains 150kcal per piece. Consuming 1 ‘healthy’ cake everyday Monday-Friday would result in 750kcal across the week. Let’s say 1 ‘unhealthy’ cake contains 300kcal. You could eat one of these on 2 days of your week (600kcal total) and still be consuming less than if you had a ‘healthy cake’ everyday. Still with me?
Now what else is important is not to confuse ‘low calorie’ with ‘high nutrients’. The ‘healthy’ label has lots of different meanings now. When something is deemed healthy for being ‘low calorie’ it probably contains sweeteners and other things in place of typical ingredients, keeping the overall calorie content low. When something is deemed healthy for being ‘high nutrient’ it probably contains foods like nut butters, coconut oil, dates, etc in place of typical ingredients which are high calorie, nutrient dense but still contribute to an overall high calorie containing end result.
Before you start panicking about calories from high nutrient sources; this is not a bad thing at all. Getting calories from nutrient dense sources is preferable, this is basically what we want. But you have to be aware that the ‘healthy cake’ you’re snacking on at your desk at 3pm on a Tuesday still contributes to your calorie intake! It doesn’t get to be excluded cos someone whacked a ‘guilt free’ label on it.
There is absolutely 0 benefit from labelling foods as healthy and unhealthy. Sometimes you might want a piece of banana bread made with oats and coconut oil. And other days you might want a chocolate and sugar filled brownie. That decision is up to you. They both have a place in a healthy diet. Just understand what choice you’re making and why.
On that note. Here’s a recipe for Carrot Cake Bars. They contain oats, coconut oil and carrots, as well as sugar and flour. So good luck trying to label this one.
Carrot Cake Bars.
Combine 3 eggs, 50g of sugar and 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil in a bowl and whisk. Grate in 2 carrots and 1/2 an apple (I only had half an apple, you could use a whole one to save waste, I’m not being weird with the half thing.). Stir til combined.
Add 150g oats and 75g plain flour, 1 tsp of baking powder and fold through. Add 1 handful of sultanas, 1 handful chopped walnuts, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. I also added some coconut shavings her cos I love em, but that’s optional.
Pour in to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake at 180C fan for 35 minutes.
Allow to cool. Top with cream cheese and cinnamon.
*Originally published March 20th 2019.