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Healthy baking: 6 simple low-sugar recipes

Tamara Willner
Written by

Tamara Willner

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

4 min read
Last updated April 2024

Baking can be extremely therapeutic to do alone or a fun activity to do with family members or children. With the current environment where the majority of us are finding ourselves with more time at home, it can be a great opportunity to practise our baking skills.

Traditional baking recipes for sweet treats tend to contain a large amount of added sugar. This is completely fine if we’re searching for an occasional treat to make or maybe even a celebration bake, like a birthday cake.

However, regularly eating baked goods that are high in added sugar can have negative effects on our health. On top of this, evidence suggests that a lower carbohydrate diet is the most effective to improve our health and lose weight. As sugar is a form of carbohydrate, being mindful of the amount of sugar we consume can help us follow a lower-carb diet.

Reducing the amount of sugar in our baked goods doesn’t mean that they have to taste boring! The dietitians here at Second Nature have combined all of their favourite, lower-sugar, sweet, healthy baking recipes to bring you 6 delicious, simple options.

All of our recipes are lower-sugar, lower-carbohydrate, and don’t contain artificial sweeteners either, as these might increase your appetite and taste preferences for sweet food. We’ve included a mixture of bake and no-bake sweet recipes. Click on the links below for full recipes!

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1) Banana bread

A family favourite – this delicious banana bread is a lower-carb, lower-sugar option that everyone will love. You can make this as one loaf or as separate muffins, by spooning the mixture into cases in a muffin tin.

The almond flour gives a delicious, dense texture and combined with the pecans, oats, and bananas, make this bake high in fibre. Fibre keeps us feeling fuller for longer, reducing our chances of snacking.

Second Nature tip: try a slice of this banana bread with a small spoon of natural, unsweetened yoghurt and a few blueberries or raspberries on top.

2) Anzac cookies

Popular in Australia and New Zealand, these oaty cookies are lower in sugar than traditional ultra-processed cookies and are great for sharing. Consider making a big batch on the weekend and having a cookie for a snack or when you’re craving something sweet.

Anzac cookies

Second Nature tip: add some dark chocolate chips to the mixture before baking if you’re craving chocolate chip cookies.

3) Mug cake

This chocolate mug cake recipe is a great quick option if you’re wanting an indulgent dessert or snack for one, but want to stick to your healthy eating plan. In just 15 minutes, you can make a healthy, rich dessert, without eating large amounts of sugar.

The mug cake is naturally gluten-free (make sure to use gluten-free oats if you opt for oats instead of ground almonds), and can easily be made dairy-free and vegan by using milk alternatives and the chia ‘egg’. A chia egg is simply made from water and chia seeds. Once combined, they become thick and sticky, like the texture of an egg.

Second Nature tip: slice up a few strawberries and enjoy them on top of your mug cake to add some extra textures and flavours. You could even add a teaspoon of peanut butter!

4) Apple tart

Another family favourite, this crumbly tart is a lower-carb option compared with traditional tarts. With the classic, warming flavours of apple and cinnamon combined with the impressive look of this tart, you can’t go wrong.

apple tart

Second Nature tip: serve a slice of this with a tablespoon of cream or natural, unsweetened yoghurt rather than ice-cream, to keep the sugar content low.

5) Naked fruit crumble

If you love fruit crumble but want to stick to your healthy eating goals, this naked fruit crumble is a great option! It’s higher in protein and fat than traditional crumble, which keeps us feeling fuller for longer.

If you make a large batch of this crumble, you can use any leftover as granola on top of yoghurt or fruit for a new breakfast option.

Naked fruit crumble

Second Nature tip: you can swap the peaches in this recipe for apples, nectarines, berries (to make a compote), or any fruit you have available!

6) Bounty Easter eggs

These delicious chocolate and coconut bites are a great alternative to chocolate Easter eggs. If you like Bounty bars, these could satisfy your craving with a fraction of the amount of sugar!

This recipe is great if you’re making something for the family to share – just make a big batch and keep them in the fridge all week to grab when you want a small, sweet bite.

Bounty easter eggs

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6 August, 2022

Thanks for your continued updates. I started second nature last sept/oct and have not looked back I have maintained a loss of 1st 10lb. My feel good factor has never been better in a number of years, along with confidence and something not usually talked about, a good bowel performance. I am thoroughly enjoying the recipes as have never really consistently cooked meals from scratch. Thank you.

I have recently found a no bake cookie recipe which is a super snack when needed and so easy. Equal portions of mashed banana mixed with peanut butter add coconut. Tablespoon of dough, into a ball onto grease proof, flatten in to cookie shape. Refrigerate for 30mins. Keep in fridge. Yummy.

Another one for a luxury dessert. 232gms of blended banana mixed with365gms melted dark choc. Place in a greased6/7” round tin. Refrigerator at least 1hour.

Please could I check if the pea and mushroom courgeccine in the lower carb recipe book is 1 carb serving or is this a mistake?

Looking forward to more of your updates and recipes. I keep recommending second nature!


27 August, 2022

Hi Jan,

Thanks for your lovely comment, we’re pleased to hear you’re doing so well! Congratulations on the changes you’ve made and the hard work you’ve put in – that’s wonderful to hear you’re feeling good and your confidence has improved. The deserts you’ve mentioned sound delicious, we’ll have to try these!

You’re correct – that’s an error in our recipe book. This has been flagged to fix in in future prints, we apologise for any confusion caused. The Pea and mushroom courgeccine is carb free.

Thank you sincerely for recommending our programme, it means a lot! If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to write to us at 🙂


8 April, 2022

I noticed alot of your recipes has nuts or the use of almonds flour. I sm allergic to nuts. What can I used as a substitute or replacement?


17 April, 2022

Hi Gloria,

We’d recommend trying oat flour (ground oats) in place of almond flour. However, keep in mind this will raise the amount of carbohydrates in the recipe.

For more information on our programme, you can take our health quiz here, or email with any questions 🙂

Keith Webster

7 March, 2022

I was a alcoholic
I dont eat cake
Try to keep away from fatty food or pastry
Is there a better option or do I not eat puddings etc which I am happy with

Laila Rahman

30 December, 2021

Really yeammy.


30 December, 2021

Its good recipe. Thanks


30 January, 2022

Hi Laila,

So pleased you’ve enjoyed these recipes 😊

Our programme includes an extensive catalog of delicious and healthy recipes, as well as a meal planner tool to help you plan your meals each week.

If you’d like to learn more about our programme, you can take our health quiz here, or email with any questions 😊


5 December, 2021

I can’t eat bananas – can stewed apple or something similar be used instead?


13 September, 2021

The banana bread doesn’t keep well and as I’m on my own this is annoying as it’s very wasteful. I wondered if it would freeze.


30 September, 2021

Hi Sheila, I usually cut it into slices before freezing, then defrost as I go!


20 September, 2021

Hi Sheila,

You can freeze the banana bread to save for later 🙂

Pauline mills

22 August, 2021

Mouth watering can’t wait to try them .

Margaret Crawford

21 July, 2021

I know this is unreasonable of me but it annoys me immensely to have Anzac biscuits called cookies.


5 December, 2021

Nope…they should absolutely be called Anzac biscuits and according to the Australian Department of Veteran Affairs never, ever referred to as cookies.

Brenda Gascoigne

20 July, 2021

These recipes look divine and will be trying not to eat them, but will have to share with the family, then it’s less of the temptation to eat them all

Joan Keating

11 March, 2021

Very attractive & impressive choice of recipes….must begin a shopping list!

Mandy Ward

10 March, 2021

I like coconut, but it doesn’t like me – too high in salicylate. What could I swap for coconut oil?

Amanda Hammond

26 October, 2020

Hi wanted to make healthy cookies ,but the Anzac ones have banana ,coconut and peanuts in ,wich i can not eat ,any other cookies without these in .Thank you .

Alexis Chase

3 February, 2021

I’m allergic to nuts. I can’t eat bananas and coconut which I dislike anyway. The only meat I eat is beef but only minced as I dislike eating flesh. I tolerate fish but I tend towards vegetarian food.

Judy Bird

28 September, 2020

It would be helpful if you stated the carbs per portion of the various recipes.

Amy Groome

2 October, 2020

Hi Judy, thanks for your comment! The reason we don’t provide this feedback is that it can be misleading for those with diabetes due to the fact that we don’t include all carbohydrates in our method for counting carbs, only starchy carbs that are above 15g/100g. Sorry for any inconvenience caused!

Amy Groome

2 October, 2020

Hi Judy, thanks for your comment! We’ve had feedback that for those with diabetes it’s misleading because we don’t include all carbohydrates in our method for counting carbs, only starchy carbs that are above 15g/100g. Apologies for any inconvenience caused!

Margaret Kyte

26 August, 2020

Could you please let me know what the carbs are for the Anzac cookies

Amy Groome

2 October, 2020

Hi Margaret, thanks for your question! There is one carb serving per 2 cookies. Enjoy!

Norma Acker

21 April, 2020

Please where are the recipes . I would like to try them.

Tamara Willner

24 April, 2020

Hi Norma, if you click on the underlined words or the photos of the recipe you want the link will take you to the full recipe. Happy baking!

Norma Acker

21 April, 2020

Thanks for the tips .I love baking so I am going to apply these tips .

Karen Hutchinson

12 April, 2020

Could i have the recipes please😋

Tamara Willner

14 April, 2020

Hi Karen, thanks for your comment! All of our recipes in this guide are available if you click on the title of the recipe or the photograph underneath. Happy baking!

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