Sweet Treats Done Right
By Kari Oakley
No one wants to be in a state of perpetual dieting. Calorie counting, watching every single morsel that goes into your mouth, and saying no to temptation after temptation at your summer gatherings can wreak havoc on your mood.
Getting in shape and looking your best doesn't always have to be nutritional drudgery, however. If you are willing to dig deep, get a little creative, and spend some time experimenting in the kitchen, it is possible to have your sweet treats and stay on track.
Here are some wonderful ways to infuse your favorite sweet flavors with nutritional goodness so that you can have the best of both worlds. You might have to invest in a few new kitchen tools to whip these babies up, but it will be worth it in the long run, as you'll have remained faithful to your fitness regimen while savoring some sweet treats done right.
Protein Shake? Ice Cream Shake? Smoothie?
Which is it? Is it a protein shake? A malt, a smoothie? The best part about blending treats is that you can add vitamins, nutrients, and supplements into your concoction to boost your health benefits while sipping on something smooth, creamy and delicious. Slipping some French vanilla protein powder into an orange and banana smoothie will trick you into thinking that you are sipping cocktails on a tropical island. Adding an antioxidant-rich supplement like carrageenan to your blended confections will aid in improving digestive health and fortifying the immune system. Why not look for a double whammy? Look for a protein powder option that includes this dietary supplement for maximum nutritional benefits, and you'll be getting the most bang for your buck.
Do It Yourself Popsicles
Why buy the sugar-packed, nutritionless popsicles at the grocery store? Instead, make a "do it yourself" version at home where you control the ingredient list. Start with fresh fruit, water or cream, honey, and even natural chocolate. Blend up your desired ingredients, throw into popsicle molds, place in the freezer, and wait for frozen magic to transform your ingredients into a delicious, healthy popsicle. For an unusual treat, consider blending up your favorite salsa ingredients and freezing for a refreshing savory version of a popsicle that can almost be enjoyed as a meal!
There is lots of hype around the sneaky chef movement--you know the one. Moms everywhere sang the praises of Jessica Seinfeld as they added spinach puree to banana strawberry smoothies, sweet potato puree to macaroni and cheese, and even spinach and blueberry puree to brownies. It may sound disgusting, but the flavor of rich chocolate really does mask any strong taste that the vegetables and fruits might have, leaving you with nutrient-packed brownies that are chocolatey, soft, chewy and delicious.
Decadent Desserts? Yes, Please!
One of our favorite go-to desserts that doesn't derail Mama and keeps the kids on the right track is a Vegan Chocolate Raw Cheesecake. Before you say "bleck" and stop reading this article, serve it up to your kids and see if they don't gobble it right up. With a sumptuous blend of avocado, coconut oil, honey, and cocoa powder, this silken cheesecake sits atop a decadent crust of pecans, almonds, coconut, honey, and coconut oil. If you don't tell them what the ingredient list is, they'll never know they are eating a healthy snack! The combination of healthy oils, fats, and omega and antioxidant-rich nuts is the perfect combination for vibrant health while you are splurging on this delicious treat.
There are so many delicious options for "sneaking" healthier foods into your decadent treats that there is no longer any reason to feel deprived of some of your favorite foods. Whether you choose to incorporate a few of these in your dessert arsenal, or if you go all out when redesigning your new and healthy lifestyle, you are sure to find some desserts and sweet treats that leave you satisfied without sabotaging your success. Here's to healthy and delicious eating!