This blog post is in partnership with Ciao Gusto and features their delicious Valsoia vegan friendly and no added sugar oat drink.
Baking with kids can be extremely rewarding. Not only does it inspire them to be creative, but it teaches them that food is made from raw ingredients and doesn’t always come readymade in a packet!
Plus, it’s really fun for kids to eat the food they have made themselves. If your child is a fussy eater, then it’s a simple way to get them to eat foods they might not otherwise.
For example, there are some ingredients I know my kids won’t eat if I make them food, yet if we make a homemade kids pizza together, from scratch, then they will add sorts of ingredients as toppings that they wouldn’t dare try otherwise, and they’ll happily eat them!
However, when it comes to baking sweet treats with kids, you can hit a bit of a conundrum. Kids absolutely love to bake cakes, muffins, cookies and doughnuts, but as a parent you might be resistant because these foods are usually stuffed full of refined sugars and carbohydrates, as well as many other ‘bad for health’ ingredients.
Luckily, you can still create some delicious baked goods with your kids, without the guilt of the terrible ingredients.
There are some simple swaps you can make to ensure your baked goods are healthier than traditional recipes which I’ll cover later on in this post.
Inspired by Ciao Gusto
This post has been inspired by Ciao Gusto who wanted me to create a recipe post with one of their Valsoia products. I chose the Valsoia oat milk as it contains no added sugar and is vegan.
Whilst researching fun recipes to make with the kids this weekend, I discovered some blueberry muffins which called for fresh fruit as the flavour, and my kids have been asking for months to make vegan doughnuts so I found an easy vegan recipe and ordered a silicone doughnut mould online!
Healthy vegan doughnuts
First, we made some healthier vegan doughnuts!
We followed this really straightforward recipe at https://healthylivingjames.co.uk/5-ingredient-gluten-free-vegan-doughnuts/
The recipe is much healthier than normal doughnuts as we used raw cacao powder which is packed full of nutritional benefits and contains no sugar like some cocoa mixes do.
We also used agave syrup in ours instead of the maple syrup, which isn’t exactly healthy, but it holds some nutritional value when compared to other sugar syrups. I do wonder if the recipe would have worked if we’d opted for xylitol instead of a syrup to add the sweetness.
Finally, to make the recipe healthier you can use a brown or wholemeal self-raising flour. Unfortunately our local store only had white self-raising available and the kids were eager to make these today, but I would always normally buy brown or wholemeal.
You can also skip adding the salt in the chocolate topping.
I used the Valsoia oat milk with no added sugar as our plant based milk.
For our first attempt at healthier doughnuts, we didn’t do too badly! We enjoyed them warm and with two doughnuts each, they were gone in seconds!
What looks like sugar on top is also xylitol. We use xylitol in our home instead of white cane sugar.
Healthy blueberry cupcakes
We also made some blueberry cupcakes taking inspiration from a couple of blueberry muffin recipes online and using the ingredients we had available:
https://simple-veganista.com/vegan-blueberry-muffins/#tasty-recipes-24699 and https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-blueberry-muffins/ were the recipes that inspired us.
Not having a muffin tray or large muffin cases, we used cupcake cases instead placed on a regular baking tray, so they spread out quite a lot and didn’t rise up as muffins do… but they taste yummy, so it doesn’t really matter!
And it’s all about the fun of mixing the ingredients together for the kids anyway… and licking the spoon and bowl!
To make this recipe healthier I used brown flour instead of white, pink Himalayan salt instead of regular table salt, xylitol instead of cane sugar, fresh blueberries and organic apple cider vinegar.
I also used the Valsoia oat milk with no added sugar as our plant based milk.
Our mixture made 15 cupcakes and they tasted great whilst still warm with gooey blueberries!
If we make these again then I’d like to buy a muffin tray to see if we can make muffins with the tops and I’d also try using a wholemeal or brown self-raising flour as I used a regular brown flour for these cupcakes.
Top tips to make kids baking healthier
As you can see, you can still bake delicious goodies such as doughnuts, muffins and cupcakes with kids that are not only vegan friendly, but use healthier ingredients too.
Here are some quick tips to make baking with kids healthier:
- Use recipes with fresh fruit as an ingredient or topping
- Switch white flour for brown or wholemeal
- Choose organic ingredients to reduce pesticide traces
- Switch tooth rotting white cane sugar for tooth friendly xylitol
- Avoid adding a pinch of salt
- If you do use salt then choose a mineral salt (avoid table salt which is heavily processed and may contain additives)
- Opt for melted coconut oil as the oil in your sweet recipes (“Coconut oil contains natural saturated fats that increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in your body. They may also help turn LDL (bad) cholesterol into a less harmful form. By increasing HDL, many experts believe that coconut oil may boost heart health compared with many other fats.” Healthline)
- Choose vegan recipes that don’t require animal products to prevent unnecessary animal suffering and therefore only use plant-based ingredients. Plant-based milk such as Valsoia oat milk is readily available nowadays and much healthier for you.
Thanks to Ciao Gusto
Thank you to Ciao Gusto for providing the plant-based oat drink I used in our baking today.
You can stock up on Valsoia oat drink at Ocado and see the rest of their range at www.ocado.com/ciaogusto
Picking up all your favourite authentic Italian food and drink has never been easier with the Ciao Gusto Italian Deli at Ocado.
For the first time, a simple tab brings together over 30 of Italy’s most popular brands, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for – and discover new and exciting ingredients – in just one click!
Ciao Gusto have lots of vegan-friendly ingredients and foods from soya ice-cream by Valsoia to their Ponti jarred vegetables, Noberasco dried fruits, Filippo balsamic vinegars and oils, Barilla pastas, Cirio chopped tomatoes and many more Italian favourites!