With these nourishing ideas, there need be no guilt about baking.

Poor old baking. It can get a bad rap, especially as we become better informed all the time about how to live for optimum health. For a great many people, gluten is out; dairy is seen as a monster by others; and sugar has pretty much had its day.

In the absence of that holy trinity, can baked goods still bring the joy they once did? Yes, is the answer. A resounding yes.

We are a nation that loves to bake – how else can we explain the wild success of Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off? – and that needn’t change any time soon. Whether you are among the 600,000 vegans in the UK or one of the 8.5 million people who don’t eat gluten or a person simply with an eye on good nutrition, there are baking recipes that will suit you.

Here, we’ve trawled the archives of the most healthful food writers around and uncovered the tricks to nutritious baking.

Blackberry, Lemon And Almond Cake

Amelia Freer

By nutritionist Amelia Freer’s own admission, this cake takes some time but the showstopping result is worth the effort. Her clever use of ground almonds and chia seeds ensures tastiness without any need for sugar. If the titular blackberries aren’t in season, you can easily replace them with blueberries or raspberries. Find the recipe here.
Photo: Jen Rich

Apple Crumble


Crumble may be old-school but that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. In this recipe, seeds, spices and maple syrup pack in flavour and nutrition all at once. The granola topping doubles up as a fab breakfast. Top tip: if you really do want to be healthy, serve your crumble with natural yoghurt, not lashing of the cream your granny gave you. Find the recipe here.

Pop And Rock Bars

Lucinda Miller

Lucinda Miller is a magician in the kitchen. She makes healthy food that children and adults all devour. Her take on rocky road is bursting with polyphenols from the cacao and cranberries and protein from the tahini and nuts. Best of all? These bad boys will store in the fridge or freezer for up to three months. Well, they would in theory – but in practice they’ll be gobbled long before. Find the recipe here.

Chocolate Banana Bread


Walnuts, cinnamon and mashed bananas are the secret weapons in this recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website, Goop. It is totally vegan (including the chocolate chips), though you’d never know to taste it. The author says her family haven’t spotted the fact that it lacks a speck of their beloved dairy. Find the recipe here.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Deliciously Ella

Ella Mills turned to plant-based eating to address a debilitating illness she suffered at university. She still loves a sweet treat, though, and has worked out effective ways to create healthy ones. These gooey cookies use coconut sugar and almond milk in place of the traditional ingredients. They are insanely good. Find the recipe here.

Chestnut, Carrot And Ginger Muffins With Pumpkin Seeds

Jasmine Hemsley

Wellness guru Jasmine Hemsley has used carrots and chestnut flour, the two stars of this particular show, in her baking for years. Here, they combine to make exquisite muffins that are as good at breakfast as they are for a snack or a pudding. She recommends a steaming cup of ginger tea as an accompaniment. Find the recipe here.

Clementine, Honey And Olive Oil Cake

Amelia Freer

The ground almonds in this fragrant cake make it richer and more dense than a traditional sponge. Sweetened with honey, not sugar, it is a pleasure to eat. Freer suggests that it fits easily into the Christmas category but our mouths are watering at the thought in June just as much as they would be in December. Find the recipe here.

Vegan Flapjacks

BBC Goodfood

All you need to do to make a foodstuff sound dreary is stick the word ‘vegan’ in front of it. These flapjacks are anything but dreary. What is not to like about nuts and dried fruit that are bound together by golden syrup and coexist in little squares of joy? Find the recipe here.

Salted Caramel Crack Brownies

Anna Jones

Anna Jones, the woman responsible for so much of our enjoyment of healthy eating, says: ‘Find me someone who doesn’t like these and I’ll deliver you a batch myself.’ In this case, the proof really is in the pudding. We have rye flour and coconut oil to thank for the fact that they aren’t as sinful as they taste. Be assured: they are the treat that crowns all others. Find the recipe here.

By Becky Ladenburg
June 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.