National Baking Week: How to add a healthy twist to your kitchen habits

Today marks the start of National Baking Week, a celebration of everything baking with the aim of encouraging more people to get their cook on.

Britain’s fascination with baking has surged this year as more people adjust to spending an increased amount of time at home while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. But rustling up your favourite Sunday treat or watching your homemade bread prove to perfection does not have to come with the risk of unhealthy traits.

In our latest blog, Velocity Football catering lead Dan Craddock explains more about how you can add a healthy twist to your baking regime.

At Velocity Football, we understand the importance of students maintaining a healthy and balanced diet to ensure they can reach their full potential both in and outside of the classroom. It is why we hired Dan to lead our catering team this summer to provide our students and colleagues with healthy eating options and help develop improved eating habits.  

This year marks 13 years since National Baking Week was launched. And with more people baking now than ever, we asked Dan to list his top three tips for making baking healthy at home.

  • Try baking your own bread

In Britain, we consume 11million loaves of bread each day – the majority of those are shop bought. But is there a healthier alternative?

Dan said: “Bread makes a significant contribution to the amount of salt we consume. Though manufactures have reduced the volume of salt they are using to produce loaves, baking bread at home is still a much healthier choice – and it’s fun too.

“Consuming more salt than the NHS’s’ recommended volume of salt per day – six grams (or one teaspoon) – can increase a person’s risk of stroke, heart failure, and osteoporosis.”

  • Think fruit and veg

We all love a carrot cake, but why don’t we use vegetables more regularly when baking to benefit our health?

Dan explains: “Fruit and vegetables add fibre and sweetness to our baking. Apples, berries, carrots, and beetroots are excellent examples of fruit and vegetables than can reduce the volume of sugar you use in a recipe as they are naturally sweet.

“The right fruit and vegetables can also ensure your cake is deliciously moist – no one likes a dry banana cake!”

  • Bake with unsaturated fat

Using unsaturated spreads as a replacement for butter not only has health benefits, but taste benefits too.

“Spreads can be swapped for butter in the majority of baking recipes,” said Dan. “It’s healthier for the body, and a simple trick that everyone can execute. Oils are a good replacement too but be careful when using oils as liquids can sometimes unbalance cake mixture.”

Dan joined Velocity Football in the summer after working as restaurant manager and food and beverage manager at a host of five-star Michelin Star accredited restaurants and hotels across the midlands, London and south-west.

More than a month has passed since the educational programme officially launched its first academic year, and Dan has been delighted by students’ response to the improved menu.

“It’s excellent to see motivated youngsters not only enjoying their studies, but also their lunches that are cooked using fresh ingredients while they train or study,” said Dan. “Our blended fruit and vegetable juices have been a real hit among students between sessions, and the nutritious contents will certainly help them to reach their very best potential during their time with us.”

Dan’s healthy banana bread treat:


  • Two eggs
  • 120g of Greek yogurt
  • Two ripe bananas
  • Six tablespoons of honey
  • 50g of coconut sugar
  • 60g of oats
  • 1tsp of baking soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 150g flour
  • 120g dried fruit/nuts

Three steps to tasting:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c (gas mark four) and in a bowl beat the two eggs before whisking in the yogurt, banana (make sure it’s mashed), and sugar. Then stir in the oats, baking soda and cinnamon before combining the mixture together by spooning in the flour gradually. Add in the dried fruit/nuts once everything has combined.
  • Tip the mixture into a loaf pan greased with unsaturated spread to avoid the mixture sticking while it bakes.
  • Bake the contents for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and then leave to chill in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring the loaf to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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