You don’t have to give up on delicious, sweet treats to live a healthy life; you can always find a tasty and more nourishing alternative to them. We have so much at our fingertips, some ready-made to eat and some you can whip up in minutes. It really is that simple!
Let’s start with the typical go-to’s and help get your creative juices flowing…
1. Swap white bread for whole grain, whole wheat or ancient grain bread.
You might feel like comparing bread made with flour to bread made with flour is like apples for apples, but it’s not quite that way. While both are made with wheat, it’s the way our bodies digest these breads that is quite different. White bread made with a polished, bleached and refined grain undergoes very rapid digestion. The carbohydrates from the white flour are broken down into sugars and released quickly into the bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels (which can also be compounded by what’s actually on your white bread too). Whole wheat, whole grain or ancient grain (spelt, kamut, buckwheat etc) bread, on the other hand, are rich in fiber that slows digestion and the release of sugar into the bloodstream, leaving us feeling fuller and more energized for longer.
2. Swap standard commercial chocolate bars for Fudgey Peanut Cacao Balls.
I mean, who doesn’t love a peanut chocolatey treat right? The ingredient list on a standard commercial bar (e.g. Sugar, Roasted Peanuts, Glucose Syrup, Milk Solids, Cocoa Mass, Vegetable Fat, Cocoa Butter, Salt, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Egg White, Natural Flavor) packs a pretty solid punch of refined sugars, giving you a fast peak of energy as your sugar levels rise but then a drastic fall. This fall is when many people end up going back for more, either more sugar, more food of any sort or perhaps if they feel low, then another coffee hit for the afternoon.
When you choose or make a quick snack like my Fudgey Peanut Cacao Bites instead, you’re giving your body good sources of natural sugars from whole fruits, teamed with fiber and combined nutritious sources of protein and fat in peanuts and almond meal. You’re also enjoying valuable sources of magnesium for energy, nervous system support, muscle relaxation and blood glucose regulation, healthy fats to cool inflammation in the body (rather than amp it up as excess intake of refined sugars can) and choline for brain function and cognition. What a combo!
To make them:
FUDGEY PEANUT CACAO BALLS
Makes approximately 16
- 1 cup pitted dried dates
- ½ cup natural peanut butter
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 3 tbsp nut milk or soy
- ⅓ cup peanuts, finely chopped for coating
- Opt: 3 servings protein or collagen powder
Soak pitted dried dates in ½ cup boiling water for 10 minutes to soften. Add dates, peanut butter, almond meal, cacao powder and nut milk to the food processor and blitz to a dough. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes if you have time or be prepared from some sticky rolling! Scoop 1 ½ tablespoon measures of the pb choc dough and place on a plate. Pop your chopped peanuts into a bowl for coating. Roll each measure into a ball, coat with chopped peanuts and repeat. Place in the fridge or freezer to set and enjoy! (PS. These are actually more delicious from the freezer and then just SLIGHTLY defrosted. Also, great when you feel like a treat, have totally forgotten you had them there and find them! Win.)
3. Swap lollies/candy swapped for homemade jellies..
I’ll own it; this one may be a push initially, but ONLY until you get into the Sunday swing of making jellies at home from all-natural grass-fed gelatin powder, fresh pureed fruit or juice, vanilla and a touch of honey or rice malt syrup. When you make them yourself and get into the hang of it, your taste buds will begin to down-regulate sugar, and before you know it, you’ll start enjoying these far more than the sugar-laden lollies you once did. The bonus with homemade jellies/gummies is that not only are they quick, easy, and fun to make, but they also contribute valuable amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to your diet.
BERRY COCONUT JELLIES
- 1 cup mixed frozen raspberries and strawberries
- 1/4 cup coconut milk or cream
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoon gelatin powder (use grass-fed gelatin)
- 1/2 cup water
Allow berries to defrost, then blitz with coconut milk or cream so it forms 1 cup liquid (if you need to top it up, do so with some extra coconut cream or milk). Place in a saucepan with honey or maple and vanilla and heat on medium. Combine gelatin powder and water in a bowl and mix with a fork, then set aside. Once the berry coconut combination is hot, remove it from the stove and whisk in the gelatin. Pour into a lined tin of preference and set in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. Slice and enjoy from the fridge.
4. Swap traditional caffeinated soft drinks for Remedy Energy
It’s definitely not breaking news that traditional soft drinks or soda are chock full of refined sugars, with some boasting almost 10 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Let’s not forget the standard ‘energy’ drinks loaded with sugar and caffeine too. However, there haven’t been healthier, tastier, sugar-free options on the shelves to choose from until recently when *BREAKING NEWS* Remedy Drinks released Energy into the world with a full-blown sugar free *bang!!!!!* .
Remedy Energy is a 100% real, flavor-punching naturally caffeinated drink and the perfect, guilt-free replacement for sugary soft drinks. Energy comes in various delicious flavors, including Berry Blast and Tropical Twist so you can satisfy your sweet soda cravings without the sugar load. Want a break from caffeine? Remedy Kombucha Orange Splash can help give your gut some love and has that classic orange soda taste. Head to your local supermarket, or shop online to try!
5. Swap fruit juice for whole fruit.
While fruit juice may seem ‘healthy’ because ‘it has fruit!’ the reality is that store-purchased fruit drinks and juices are a fast way to increase your intake of hidden sugars without the benefit of nutrients found in a piece of whole fruit. On the other hand, when you snack on whole fruit in place of fruit juice, your intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber increases. Yes, of course, both fruit juice and whole fruit contain the fruit sugar fructose, but the fiber present has a beneficial effect on your blood glucose levels and your overall intake of good quality nutrients from nature’s source too.
6. Swap packet cookies/biscuits for a batch of home baked.
Sometimes it’s easy to open a packet of cookies and unintentionally eat more than just one. The sugar in packet cookies, combined with the refined flours and oils, generally means a bit of melt-in-your-mouth (minimal need for chewing and processing the cookies) moment, so it feels easy to eat many instead of just the one. Rather than fall into a repeat trap of cookies by the packet, make a batch of wholesome cookies which minimize unnecessary ingredients such as refined sugars, thickeners, stabilizers, and preservatives. With a base of almonds in these cookies, you’ll also up your intake of healthy fats, cool inflammation, support heart and brain health, and dim those sugar cravings.
ALMOND OLIVE OIL COOKIES
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ cups almond meal
Heat oven to 350ºF and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, vanilla, maple, egg, baking powder and almond meal and mix. Divide into 10-12 balls, then flatten gently onto the tray using the fork to press down.
Bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes.
Cool on the tray and enjoy!