Healthier baked items


Sweet and savoury baked items can add variety to a menu, but it’s important to make sure that healthier options are provided for children.

Six mini vegetable frittatas on a board

Try some of these simple suggestions to make the baked items on your menu healthier.

Tip 1. Replace butter and cream with healthier options

Butter and cream are high in saturated fat which is unhealthy for children. Replace butter and cream with healthier polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils and margarine.

Tip 2. Use small amounts of oil or margarine

Use small amounts of any polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oil or margarine in recipes. Examples include canola, olive and other vegetable oils.

Tip 3. Use small amounts of sugar

Baked items should contain 5g or less of added sugar per serve. Added sugars include brown sugar, caster sugar, icing sugar, raw sugar, white sugar, coconut sugar, golden syrup, honey or rice malt syrup.

For example, if you are making 12 regular sized muffins, include a maximum of 30g of sugar in the recipe (2 tablespoons). Consider replacing some sugar with fruit.

Tip 4. Include some wholemeal flour

Wholemeal flour adds fibre and other vitamins and minerals. Replace at least half the white flour in your recipes with wholemeal flour.

Tip 5. Include some fruit and/or vegetables

Adding fruit and vegetables to baked items can help children meet their daily requirements for these foods.

Fruit and vegetables also add extra flavour as well as fibre and other vitamins and minerals. You can try grated carrot or zucchini, berries, apple or banana.

Tip 6. Limit portion sizes

Offer smaller serves (e.g. mini muffins) to help ensure that children don’t fill up too much on these foods.

Tip 7. Serve with healthier sides and toppings

Fresh or canned fruit, yoghurt, custard and ricotta cheese are tasty sides that can be served with baked foods.

These add flavour and variety to the menu and are healthier choices than other common items (such as honey, jam, cream, chocolate spread and icings).

For more information please phone 1300 22 52 88 or email

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Written and reviewed by dietitians and nutritionists at Nutrition Australia, with support from the Victorian Government.

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