I always tell clients to stay away from the sweet stuff, but let’s face it, sometimes you just have to indulge a little bit. The secret to incorporating your favorite sweets into your lifestyle is to find real food versions with healthier ingredients. This way, you can actually get some nutrition out of your desserts instead of just refined white flour and sugar. And remember, treats are meant to be just that, a treat! We should not be replacing good nutrition for sweet foods on a daily basis. Instead, incorporate these foods as something different to enjoy once in a while.
Here are some suggestions to make your treats nutritious and delicious:
Reduce the sugar in the recipe by ⅓ or even ½.
A lot of the time, you don’t need as much sugar as the recipe calls for. You can even replace sugar with fruit substitutes like homemade apple sauce or medjool dates. This way you add sugar, but also fiber and vitamins and minerals as well.
Use other flours.
There has been a lot of information out there concerning the dangers of highly processed, refined flours. And it does look like more and more people are growing intolerances to them. So, try to replace white baking flour with coconut flour, almond flour, or a gluten-free oat flour. These flours are far superior nutritionally to your run-of-the-mill conventional flour. (If you use these flours, you may need to use things like arrowroot or xantham gum to act as a binding agent in your recipes).
Don’t be afraid to use raw cacao.
People automatically assume that eating anything chocolate is bad for them. However, eating cacao in its raw unprocessed state can offer a ton of nutrition including magnesium, manganese, calcium, zinc, and copper, antioxidants called flavanoids, monounsaturated fats, and most of the B vitamins! So a little chocolate can go a long way.
Use raw honey as a sweetener.
Raw honey is also packed with nutrition and can act as a very good anti-bacterial. Use it to sweeten organic-grass fed yogurt or add it to your favorite granola bar recipe. Find a recipe for granola bars here.
Add fruits to your recipes.
Don’t be afraid to add various fruits to your baked goods. You can add blueberries, bananas, other mixed berries, dates, figs, apples, and more. This will obviously add more nutrition to your snack or treat.
Add nuts and seeds to your recipes.
Add some protein and good fats to your treats with almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, or chia seeds.
If you are gluten and dairy free don’t despair, the taste can still be there. Here is a great recipe for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding you can try.
As you can see from the above, you don’t have to avoid your favorite muffins, cookies, and chocolates. You just have to find a better way of making them. Have your cake and eat it too, I dare you!