We can’t have a whole month dedicated to strategies for Feeding Your Family without also talking about treats. I mean let’s be real. We all need treats now and again.
The best part though is we can incorporate treats that aren’t complete sugar-bombs and still offer some health benefits. Here are some of my family’s favorite treats; next to dark chocolate birthday cake of course!
Banana Ice Cream (vegan)
- Take 1 (or more) large bananas, slice them into coins, and freeze in an air-tight container until solid.
- Blend the frozen banana in a high-powered blender or food processor until smooth.
- Add in optional ingredients if desired (walnuts, almond butter, cacao powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, etc).
- Can enjoy as is or return to freezer to let it solidify a bit more.
Berries with Shaved Dark Chocolate
This one is best in summer when berries are in season and at their peak.
- Combine a variety of fresh berries in a bowl.
- Add shaved pieces of dark chocolate by grating or thinly slicing a bar of chocolate (70% or higher is best for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits)
Brownie Bites (vegan & grain-free)
This one is such a favorite in our house that I dedicated a whole blog post just to this recipe. You can find it here.
Fruit Salad with Mint
This one is always a crowd-pleaser, with kids and adults alike. It’s also a great one to bring to a potluck.
I always try to choose one fruit from each color group not only to increase the healthy factor but also to make it a beautiful rainbow of fruit.
Top with chopped mint for a fresh and fun twist.
- Red – strawberries or raspberries
- Orange – tangerines or melon or apricots or peaches
- Yellow – pineapple or banana or mango
- Green – kiwi
- Blue/Purple – blueberries or blackberries
Berry Coconut Milk Popsicles
Recipe from Rebecca Katz:
- In a small saucepan combine ⅔ cup each strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries with ⅓ cup raw sugar and ½ tsp ground cardamom
- Cook over low heat, stirring regularly, until the berries are soft but not falling apart yet.
- Remove from the heat and stir in 1 can of full-fat coconut milk.
- Using a pitcher pour the mixture into popsicle molds, evenly distributing the berries.
- Freeze for at least 4 hours.
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Recipe from Eating Well Magazine:
- Soak 16 dates (pitted and coarsely chopped) in 1 cup of hot water until they soften (~5-10 mins). Then drain.
- In a high-powered blender or food processor blend the dates plus 3 ripe avocados, 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ cup pure maple syrup, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth.
- Refrigerate until cold (~3 hours).
Poached Pears with Saffron Broth
Recipe from Rebecca Katz:
This one is sophisticated and will impress your dinner guests but yet is surprisingly easy.
- In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the following ingredients and bring to a boil — 4 cups pear nectar, 4 tsp maple syrup, zest of 1 lemon, 4 inches fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ¼ inch pieces, generous pinch of saffron
- Place 2 ripe pears (peeled, cut in half, seeded, stemmed — use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and stem) flat side down into the pan.
- Place a piece of parchment paper over the pears and cover with a small plate to weigh them down while they simmer.
- Lower the heat and simmer the pears until tender.
- Remove the pears, return the liquid to the heat, bring to a lively simmer, and cook until syrupy (~10 mins).
- Serve pears with syrupy broth drizzled over.
Take Home Message
Treats can absolutely be part of a healthy eating plan. It’s about balance and enjoying the true sensual pleasure of food; including sweets.
The trick however is to find the pleasure point without sacrificing your health from toxic loads of sugar.
Use some of these ideas to round out your toolbox of healthier treats you can offer to your family and guests alike.