Print Edition: July 15, 2015
Student budgets can be brutal. They make you question every dollar you spend, and there are so many different factors to consider such as tuition, entertainment, personal care, food, and so on. While McDonald’s value menu items can make a whole meal under $5.00, and chocolate bars are usually $2.00 or less, an organic granola bar costs upwards of $3.00. On a limited budget, it is easy to lose track of maintaining a well-balanced and healthy diet.
When I first started attending university, I didn’t think much would change. I love baking, and continued baking in my spare time. I went out with my friends, had amazingly rich, decadent desserts and meals; I was having a good time. Eventually, my pants started to feel a little tighter and I knew things had to change. I still wanted to enjoy my snacks and baked goods, but going out all the time was paying a toll on my bank account. I turned to my trusty laptop and began scrolling through health food blogs.
There were several commonalities I noticed in my browsing, one of which really hit me hard: whole eggs were rarely used! As a baker, this seemed strange to me but after experimenting with several of my favourite cookie, muffin, and cake recipes, it turns out that the bloggers were right: eggs are pretty unnecessary.
Eggs are delicious. They can be prepared in so many different ways and have so many different purposes. But they are also quite fatty, high in cholesterol, and the yolk contains the bulk of the calories in the egg. Egg whites are the most nutritional portion of the egg and are high in protein with very little fat. There are only 17 calories in one egg white, compared to 75 calories for one regular whole egg. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually eat just one egg for breakfast.
I began using only egg whites in my baking, or completely substituting the egg for something else. Some of my favourite egg replacements are bananas, apple sauce, coconut oil, tofu, and ground flax seed. All these replacements depend on what type of food item you are making and how many eggs you are replacing, so do your research before you start baking or cooking. Generally, if you are making baked goods, such as muffins, breads, or pancakes, using bananas or apple sauce as the egg replacement is the best option. They are low in calories and add extra fruity flavour.
Play around with recipes and see what you can create without eggs. It will take some time experimenting, and you might have a few flops, but this is truly one of the easiest ways to keep enjoying your treats while cutting out unwanted calories. Try out my favourite mug cake recipe if you ever are craving something doughy and delicious!
Customizable Mug Cake Recipe
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
2 tbsp. milk or your choice of milk alternative
1-2 tsp. of honey or agave syrup
4 tbsp. of flour or your choice of flour alternative
1/4 tsp. baking powder
A handful of your favourite mix-ins
Mash your banana in a separate bowl. Combine all ingredients in a coffee mug. Try to use a larger mug as your batter will puff up a lot while it is cooking. Fold in your mix-in ingredients (I love using blueberries, but if you were looking for something sweeter you could try chocolate chips or a spoonful of peanut butter). Microwave on high for two minutes. If your cake still looks sticky on top, keep microwaving for 30-second intervals until the top is dry to the touch. Let your mug cake cool for a few minutes before diving into regret-free delight!