Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baking Till You're Skinny


Sorry to yank your chain, but you won't catch me touting any kind of magic cookie diet here.  Baking generally involves things like flour, butter, oil, sugar, etc.  Nothing evil per se, but a diet high in carbs (especially refined flour like all purpose, which basically just turns to sugar right along with all that sugar already in it) and fat isn't going to lose you any notches on your belt.  Not to make you feel guilty about consuming cakes and cookies and pies and whatever your part of your brain responsible for survival instincts that respond to body fat storing foods heart desires!  On the contrary.  Dessert should be a part of everyone's life!  If dessert is banned from your diet, then it's not a diet (as in, the way you eat...like all the time), it's just a temporary way of eating.

Unless you just don't like desserts, in which case, I don't even want to know you because that is just against nature!  If this were neolithic times you would be dead, and so you're dead to me.  Makes sense, right?

That's all just a wordy way of saying everything in moderation!  Me, wordy?  But you generally don't bake 2 cupcakes or 1 slices of pie, do you?  That's just silly!  So you're faced with eating an entire pie, and if you haven't developed some seriously iron-clad willpower, your entire pie will be gone far sooner than you might hope.

My willpower is more like aluminum foil.

So how do I bake a pie and only manage to eat 2 or 3 small slices?  Ahem, that's over the span of days thankyouverymuch!  I have some tricks up my sleeve.

As I said in my last post, Husband is my first line of defense.  When I bake something he really likes, like say, muffins, they usually don't last long enough for me to really pig out on them.  But what if you're not married?  Or your spouse refuses to help you (how selfish!)?  Or you come to realize it's not really fair to Husband's waistline when you expect him to scarf down everything you take out of the oven so you don't eat it yourself? Or what if Husband expressly asks you to stop baking so much for the love of our scale!

If no one at home will help you out (ugh, selfish!), it's time to become to most popular girl at work!  Most office environments have break rooms of some kind, right?  Share your kitchen triumphs!  Not only will you gain brownie points (Ha!  Get it?), but also it invites co-workers to strike up conversation about your hobby, and who doesn't like being the center of attention chatting about food?  And if you don't work in an office, or you hate your co-workers and don't want to feed those lame losers, how about your neighbors?  Drop off a goody bag to the couple next door.  You have friends, right?  Invite some over to help you eat whatever is looming on your kitchen counter.  It's amazing how much more social I am when I have baked goods around.

The thing with moderation is it's all about portions.  Eating a dessert that is a few bites in size is obviously going to do a lot less damage to your overall calories for the day than eating half a cake.  But when I'm craving sweets, and I'm holding the knife in my hands, I don't always cut the size of slice that I should.  I know this about myself, so I take steps to prevent myself from pigging out.

Yes, one side of my brain plots deviously against the other.  I blame you, sugar!

When I bake up a pan of brownies, and they're all nice and cooled, I cut them into teeny tiny bite-size pieces, rather than the huge bars you might buy at the grocery store.  Then I put them away!  When I want dessert at the end of the day, I grab one of my small brownie squares, rather than trusting my aluminum foil will to cut an appropriate piece.  This works for cakes, bars, and pretty much anything solid baked in a pan.  When I bake muffins and they are particularly huge, I cut them in half before storing them.  When I bake cookies, I make sure to make them as small as possible, so they come out of the oven all nice and portioned for me.

In some cases, you can bake only what you want to eat right then and freeze the rest.  Remember when I said it was silly to only bake a slice of pie?  Well I didn't really mean it.  I like to keep you on your toes.  Slice and bake cookies, scones, and pie dough (for pocket pies!) all work well.  Also, did you know that a full freezer is actually more efficient than an empty one?  Apparently it's easier, from a power consumption perspective, to keep a lot of frozen food frozen than it is to keep an empty space at a freezing temperature.  So really, by freezing your doughs, you're being green.  Good for the environment.  You are welcome planet earth!  I expect some kind of rebate check from the government any day now for my services.

Really what it comes down to is calories, right?  There is no expressly evil food (except margarine.  I hate you, margarine!).  Don't give up chocolate for a year unless someone is paying you to!  If you know you have a slice of pie waiting for you in the kitchen, take a few less bites at dinner.  Don't sacrifice healthy, nutrient-dense foods for what is essentially empty calories.  Just find a good balance.  You'll be happier.  Also, baking rocks!  Total therapy.  Am I right?

[Also, when I know I really want to pig out on something I shouldn't, I just try and work out a little more that day.  Calories in, calories out!  But that's another post...]

Oh, and that muffin up there?  At the tippy tippy top of this monster of a post?  Me wordy?  That recipe is in the queue, but I can tell you there may be fresh blackberries, brandy, and crumb topping involved.

1 comment:

  1. Good tips :) I think you've inspired me to bake something for the inlaws this weekend!