Oh how we all love a little sweet something once in a while. As a Dietitian, I try and educate my clients on the balance between reaching for something sweet and deciding if it is really necessary. The last thing we want to do is over indulge in something sweet and then feel sluggish after the seven minute sugar rush we experience. So how do we find that balance? There are many “tricks of the trade” that work to avoid sweet cravings. One of the best things to do is eat small meals every couple hours that have a complex carbohydrate and a protein so that you do not have the blood sugar swings that often cause sweet cravings. But what about when you are bored or watching TV and a commercial comes on that is screaming “go get something sweet”! I say make a change…go into a different room, fold laundry, drink water, hop onto the computer and look at our website, go brush your teeth, cuddle with your spouse, take a walk, anything! The sweet cravings often come when we are bored, anxious, or nervous and it is best to change up the routine. If you wait ten minutes and still need something sweet try fresh fruit first. If that doesn’t work perhaps a food made with agave nectar or dark chocolate will do the trick. These are both better for you than white processed sugar in many cookies, cakes and ice cream products on the market. Dark chocolate (60% cacao bean or higher) is full of powerful antioxidants. Agave nectar (sweet like honey and found in the same section as honey in the grocery store) has a low glycemic index and will not raise blood sugars like other sweet foods will. Watch your portions though, small amounts are the key. Enjoy a few recipes below from Nancy to get you going. Until then, grab a piece of fruit and go enjoy a walk now that it is getting a bit warmer!
Gluten Free Apple Crisp
- 2 Cups Finely Chopped Toasted Almonds (to make an almond meal)
- ½ Tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- ½ Tsp Nutmeg
- ½ Cup Canola Oil
- ¼ Cup Agave Nectar
- 1 TB Vanilla Extract
- 5 Medium Apples, Peeled and Sliced
- Greek Yogurt for Garnish
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the apples in a 2-3 quart glass-baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine the oil, agave and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into the dry to make a topping. Sprinkle the topping over the apples and cover and bake at 350° for 30 – 40 minutes. When apples are soft and their juices bubble, remove cover and bake 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm topped with a dollop of the Greek yogurt.
Dark Chocolate Tea Truffles
Okay, this is not health food – indulge in just a couple for a real treat!
- 8 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 60% Choc Liqour), chopped finely
- ¾ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 TB Unsalted Butter
- 2 TB Very Strong Brewed Black Tea
- ½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Heat the cream and the butter on the stovetop until it comes to a boil. Immediately remove it from the heat and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let it stand for about 5 minutes to soften the chocolate, then whisk the chocolate and the cream mixture together. Be patient, it will get smooth. Add the tea.
Pour the mixture in a 9 x12” pan and cover it really well with plastic wrap. (Fats like butter and cream pick up off odors in the frig very easily, so you really want it well covered.) Place the pan in the frig for at least 8 hours, or overnight – or until it firms up.
Place the cocoa powder on a plate. Remove the chocolate from the frig. Using a teaspoon, scrape the chocolate mixture into a small ball and place it in the cocoa mixture. Roll it around until it is coated, and then place on another plate. At this point you can return them to the frig, or serve them right away.
Apricot Stilton Stuffed Strawberries
Fruit plus sweet cheese – how can it be better? Take 1 or 2 out of the fridge for a sweet treat!
Hull and slightly core ripe strawberries. Cut a cold, large wedge of Apricot Stilton, (or any other soft flavored cream cheese) into small cubes. Let the cheese soften to room temperature and then stuff each strawberry with the cheese.