I have a sweet tooth. I wish I could say that I eat wholesome, organic, good for you foods all the time but that's just not the case. I eat really great food 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time I leave room for the sweet stuff. A few weeks ago I started wondering if there was a way that I could still eat really well, nutrient wise, but also fulfill my sweet tooth. I started reading up on the Paleo lifestyle and have discovered an entire menu full of sweet treats that are nutrient packed and use only natural sugars to sweeten the item. I've been experimenting with several recipes and today I'd like to share my top 5 favorite "healthy" treats with you. These treats contain no dairy, white sugar, or wheat and are loaded with healthy fats and are surprisingly indulgent. Not only are these treats good for you but they also contribute to helping that little baby grow and develop. I hope these recipes are a hit in your households! My toddler didn't know the difference and my husband is just as satisfied with the healthified versions of his favorite treats.
1. Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream" Can I just say WOW. This "ice cream" is sure to have you believing that you're eating the real, full fat version. I added coco powder to mine and everyone went crazy over it. I'm also not a fan of almond extract so I substituted it with vanilla extract and it was perfect! This recipe is great for those of you that may be lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. The base of the recipe is coconut milk and almond milk. Coconut milk and almond milk both have a number of nutrients that are both good for you and your baby.
2. Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread I am a banana bread snob. This recipe is the closest I've come to finding a banana bread that tastes like the real banana bread with white flour. I added pecans to this recipe and it came out tasting very close to my beloved white flour and crisco based banana bread. The great thing about this banana bread is that the only sweetener in it is the bananas. The riper the bananas, the sweeter the bread. This bread is full of healthy fats from coconut oil, nuts and almond butter. These fatty acids are great for the development of the fetus.
3. Dark Chocolate pieces I eat Chocolate at least once a day, sometimes several times a day. This is the best chocolate I've ever eaten. It literally melts in your mouth the second you put it on your tongue. I didn't do anything to this recipe and it's perfect. I actually have a batch in my freezer that I turned into chocolate bark. It's in a million pieces in a Christmas tin right now. I may or may not have opened that tin up 2 or 3 times today for a little nibble. This recipe is rich in coconut oil which is a pregnancy super food. Coconut oil is loaded with anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which can help prevent colds, flu and other viruses. This is helpful when you don't want to be taking over the counter medications and also strengthens the immune systems of the pregnant mom and unborn baby.
4. Pumpkin Spice Latte With this past week being the first official week of Fall, I'm seeing pumpkin spice latte's everywhere I go. I am coffee obsessed and so I just had to try this one. I love it because you can control the sweetness and it contains no artificial colors or flavors. It's the perfect afternoon treat once the weather starts to get a little cooler. You can also make this treat decaf. This recipe allows you to use either coconut milk or almond milk for the base of the drink. Almond milk contains more calcium than cow's milk and is a great way to easily consume calcuium during pregnancy. While you are pregnant your baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth, grow a healthy heart, develop a healthy heart rhythm, build nerves and muscles, and calcium contributes to helping develop blood clotting abilities.
5. Magic Cookie Bars If you've never had a Magic Bar don't waste your time making the regular version. These Magic Cookie Bars are healthier than the other type made with white sugar and are just as good if not better. My first bite into one of these bad boys transported me to another universe, yes, that's how good they are. I didn't have coconut palm sugar on hand so I substituted in honey and that worked just fine. I also doubled the crust recipe because I like a little thicker crust and don't like having to spread it too thin (OK, really I just like to taste a little too much of whatever I'm making before I bake it so I didn't have enough when I transferred it to the pan!). This recipe is also heavy on the coconut oil, milk, butter and flakes. I mentioned some of the benefits of coconut oil above but I also want to mention that coconut oil can also relieve morning sickness, heartburn and constipation. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid which is supposed to stimulate milk production during pregnancy and after having the baby.
Those recipes above are now my "go to" recipes when I'm craving something sweet but don't want to fill my body with white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Remember to eat these treats in moderation just like you would with any other treat because these aren't necessarily low calorie treats, they are just healthier alternatives to the real deal using wholesome ingredients. Your babies will thank you for choosing health! Luckily you don't have to trade in taste for a healthy treat anymore.