Although I am doing a sugar free month, straight up sugar has no appeal to me, so sweets/candies aren't something I've tried to find a healthy solution for, I normally go for fruit or dried fruit when I need a 'kick'.
What I do love, though, is cake. Mmm, mm! Especially warm. The thing is, cake is basically sugar, other refined carbs and (usually saturated, or worse, trans) fat. The fat+refined carb combo is impossible to resist for a lot of people, and I am one of them! So when I want a treat, I want cake, but I want it healthy.
Here's what I've found:
- You won't miss sugar if there's plenty of flavour going on; think vanilla extract, citrus juices/zests, peppermint or other extracts, coffee, coconut, fruit, COCOA!
- You can add bulk and sweetness with fruit- notably apple and banana, but also coconut (as flour, or you can mill shredded stuff a bit finer, half way to homemade coconut butter), squash and sweet potato.
- Nuts are a good sub for flour too- ground almonds or even other nuts. It's usually easier to chop the nuts up a bit first, then add to the food processor, unless you've got a Vitamix.
- Plenty of fibre will replace the satiety you would have got from the fat- oats, oat bran, nuts again, coconut, and any of the carby fruits or vegetables mentioned above (banana, sweet potato).
- Cocoa powder in baked goods is so rich and flavourful, I find when baked there's no real need for chocolate chips.
- Eggs and protein powder are another great way to add satiety and body to sugar free/refined carb free desserts.
Of course, if you have no time to bake, look no further than the humble banana when you are desperate for a fix:
Stuffed with PB, this simple combo constantly amazes me with its tastiness and craving quashing superpowers.
Banana softserve for ice-cream cravings (pink variety pictured, but I know other people have found it good with nut butter, coconut and cocoa)
What if you don't like banana?
A really lovely apple with PB or just straight up is a good way to hold off cravings.
If it has to be warm, a small bowl of oat bran or oatmeal is a great way to snack if you are peckish before bedtime, right Heather?
Not to everyone's tastes, but I find strained yogurt or cottage cheese a very filling and satisfying treat. Especially with a teaspoon of cocoa powder and/or a sliced banana.
And of course, last but not least, you can't beat a smoothie. Try adding guar and xanthan gums for a creamier drink.
Recipes to try:
I doubled the recipe as I had a whole sweet potato and two eggs to use, I add a teaspoon of orange extract.
Look at the lovely silky batter:
Before going into the oven:
One little cake:
I am off today, woohoo! And again tomorrow for St Patrick's Day. I'm waiting for my dip station to be delivered then it's out into the lovely clear sunny day for a run.
I made 'nutella' for my oatbran this morning (1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, 1 T coconut oil, 1/4 cup cocoa, splash of hazelnut liquer). Much better than the original, although it could have done with more coconut or hazelnut oil as it's a bit thick. But it has a wonderful intense flavour. Actually it was a bit rich for me, even at 9:30 in the morning. My boyfriend loved it on toast though:)