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Teen’s guide to healthy cooking

Mum was on a diet, so when 15-year-old Lavanya Saberwal wanted to bake her a cake for her birthday last year, she trawled websites and books for low-calorie ingredients to make a healthy chocolate cake.

Lavanya Saberwal or 'Tia' as she is often called, posing with her cookbook, Bake-a-licious. Photo: Mohd Azhar Aziz

Lavanya Saberwal or 'Tia' as she is often called, posing with her cookbook, Bake-a-licious. Photo: Mohd Azhar Aziz

Mum was on a diet, so when 15-year-old Lavanya Saberwal wanted to bake her a cake for her birthday last year, she trawled websites and books for low-calorie ingredients to make a healthy chocolate cake.

The experience of experimenting with these healthier ingredients inspired the young cook to launch a cookbook for peers her age. “I started to experiment with recipes and then I thought I might as well share them with other teens ... I have a sweet tooth and I think there are other teenagers out there like me. We want to eat healthy yet sweet,” Lavanya said.

After spending weeks perfecting her recipes, Lavanya launched her cookbook, Bake-a-licious, in October.

The book contains 14 of her best baking creations, complete with tips and guidelines on the proper use of cooking equipment. The cookbook is currently sold online at S$10 each. To date, 58 copies have been sold, 47 to online customers and the rest to friends and family.

It was a team effort with the full support of her family — Mum was designer and photographer, Dad took charge of online orders and her younger brother was her toughest critic, she said.

To appeal to youth, Lavanya made her baking instructions “easy to follow” and the design of the book cover was colourful and quirky. She also secretly used her friends as food-tasters. “I had given the (King Kong) cookies to my friends without telling them about the changes I made. (They) said they were tough. So I changed the (ingredients), and after three tries, it came out good.”

With Christmas just around the corner, the Nigella Lawson fan has made plans for a healthier festive spread by using, for instance, whole-wheat instead of all-purpose flour for her gingerbread cookies.

Up next on Lavanya’s menu: A vegetarian- and vegan-themed cookbook.

Bake-a-licious is available via www.facebook.com/bakealicious1 or email bakealicious14 [at] gmail.com.

MOHD AZHAR AZIZ

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