When it comes to afternoon or morning tea – I’m all over it like white on rice. I love a treat with a cuppa. It keeps me sane and satisfies both my taste buds and a nostalgic need from my childhood, having grown up in a family that worship at the altar of tea and cake.
Some of my friends and colleagues seem to think I have the willpower of Victoria Beckham near an all-you-can-eat-buffet. In fact my will power would be pretty rubbish, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve figured out the key to me sustaining a healthy eating plan is to never feel deprived. To continue to satisfy my cravings for certain foods and food related rituals, but to find healthy yummy substitutes that nourishes both my body but also my soul.
Since ditching sugar a few months back I have experimented and surfed the net for ideas of tasty treats that send my yumminess dial souring up without defeating my health and fitness goals.
Pretty much every day I indulge in a tasty treat of some sort with a cup of Earl Grey or a long machiatto. Here are few recipes from my favourite tasty treats collection that indulge my cravings without sabotaging my health and expanding my waistline.
Banana, Blueberry and Coconut Pancakes
These pancakes are DELISH – I discovered them while surfing the net for a pancake that didn’t require any grains (I do eat some grains but limit the amount). Although they are conventionally a breakie option I also prepare them in advance to have as a snack treat later in the day spread with a little nut butter.
Ingredients (Serves 1 person)
- Half a banana
- 1 Tablespoon of coconut flour
- Half teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
- Half teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Small amount of coconut oil to fry them in
- Half cup blueberries (if not in season I use organic frozen blueberries)
- 1 tablespoon of coconut threads
- Splash of coconut milk
- Mash the half banana and then add the vanilla extract, whole egg and egg white and beat mixture until combined.
- Add the coconut flour, baking powder and mix well until the mixture is smooth. If mixture seems too dry add a splash of coconut milk (it should be like a thick batter).
- Heat a frying pan over a moderate heat and melt a little coconut oil to fry the pancakes in.
- Pour the batter in the pan dividing the mixture into 3 separate small pancakes. They keep their shape and cook better this way than if they were 1 big pancake (which breaks too easily). Flip pancakes after about a minute to cook on the other side. Make sure pan isn’t too hot as they burn easily.
- Serve with blue berries, coconut threads (toasted in a dry pan) and a drizzle of coconut milk. Delish!!!
Tip re blueberries – if blueberries are out of season I use frozen organic blueberries that I heat till defrosted in a pan.
Chocolatey Bliss Balls
These balls are a great little treat to have with a coffee for the chocoholics out there. I have taken them into work as my offering when there is a pot luck morning tea and colleagues often mistake them for chocolate truffles and can’t believe it when I tell them that they are sugar free. They are so popular I get requests for them now.
Ingredients (Makes 14 to 16 balls)
- 1 cup of sultanas or dates
- 1/2 cup of almond meal & 1/4 cup of flax meal
- Grated zest of half an orange plus the juice of half the orange
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder
- 1 scope of vanilla protein powder (you can sub this out for a tspn of vanilla extract if you don’t use or have protein powder)
- Coconut threads
- Put all ingredients apart from orange juice and coconut threads in a blender and whizz for a few mins until the mixture is like a very thick paste and starts to ball up – if it’s too dry to mould into a ball add splash of the orange juice.
- Shape mixture into small balls about the size of a walnut .
- Toast coconut threads in a dry pan until then roll balls in the coconut.
- Place balls in fridge for about an hour to harden.
Did you know???? There are several health benefits of the cacao such as:
* Assists Cardiovascular health – Improves circulation, helps regulate blood pressure
* High in Magnesium – Helps reduce restless leg syndrome, reduce menstrual cramps and PMT
* High in Sulphur – Builds strong nails and hair, promotes great skin and detoxifies the liver
* Essential fats – Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat
Peanut Butter Protein Cookies
This is a real ‘go to’ recipe for me. I discovered it in an issue of ‘Oxygen’ magazine (one of my fave mags) a while back and have slightly adapted it. I find these a great little snack to carry around in my bag so that I have something when I’m on the run and ensure I avoid that 3pm muffin run. They are sugar free and gluten free. My kids love them and anyone of my friends that has tried them has asked for the recipe.
Ingredients (makes approx 12 cookies)
- 1 egg,
- 1 cup of natural crunchy peanut butter (Chose a brand that has no add sugar, minimal salt and no preservatives or emulsifiers. A good nut butter will often have oil separated on the top).
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (or you can use choc – I like the Red 8 protein powder)
- 1/2 cup of almond meal
- 5 drops of stevia (if you prefer it a bit sweeter you can add a tablespoon of raw honey or pure maple syrup instead)
- 2 teaspoons of Chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- Half teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
- Optional – If I want them a little sweeter I will sometimes add some finely chopped dates or chunks of 85% dark choc.
- Beat the egg in a mixing bowl then mix in all the other ingredients until you have a dough. You can at this stage add in some chopped dates or 85% choc chopped up.
- Roll into balls and place on a baking tray (flatten slightly).
- Bake in oven for 10 to 12 mins (or until golden brown) on 180 degress celcius. Leave to cool and enjoy.
Great tasty snack that’s easy to make, low g.i. gluten free and high protein.
Raspberry, Zuchinni and Coconut Muffins
I got the recipe from the fabulous Kat Loterzo’s of Woman Incredible and Dream Life Project. They might sound a little unconventional, but the marriage of zuchinni, raspberry and coconut really works and they won’t leave you with the sugar spikes and muffin top that conventional muffins can cause.
Ingredients (Makes 9 muffins)
- 2/3 cup sifted coconut flour
- ¼ teaspoon pink or grey sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 washed and grated medium size zucchini
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup macadamia nut or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- Mix coconut flour, zucchini salt and baking soda
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, oil and vanilla and blend well. I use a stick blender Combine all ingredients and blend further
- Gently fold in frozen raspberries
- Distribute into muffin tray (makes 9 large muffins)
- Bake at 180° for 20-25 minutes
The texture is slightly denser to normal muffins and don’t be put off by their slightly uglier appearance – they taste great.
So there are a few ideas for some morning/arvo tea snacks, that will hopefully prove to you that there are tasty treats out there you can indulge in that also keep your sanity and cravings in check, without diverting you from your body, health and fitness goals. They are pretty quick and easy to prepare, but if you find that you just don’t have time to make these here are some options for some quick snacks you can eat on go which require minimal effort.
- Apple slices and celery sticks with nut butter
- Natural Greek yoghurt (full fat always!!) with some flax meal or LSA mixed in, cinnamon and some berries – you can also add protein powder to this.
- Banana sliced with a smear of almond butter on each one
- Make a trail mix with raw almonds, coconut threads, brazil nuts, goji berries and cocoa nibs.
“Long term sustained change does not come from deprivation or fear; it comes from kindness”
As much as I am committed to eating food that sets me up for optimum health, kick ass energy and a taut toned bod – I also want to ensure the food I chow down on nourishes my soul and my spirit. I believe the key to maintaining a great physique and healthy lifestyle is to find that balance where you are being kind to your body whilst not feeling like you are depriving the mind. I recently heard a great quote (and for the life of me I can’t think where) which went something like this – “long term sustained change does not come from deprivation or fear; it comes from kindness”. The kindness part is kindness to yourself, your body, mind and soul. When we eat rubbish foods that do not nourish, restore and fuel our body, as much as we might get comfort from it for a split second, deep down we usually know we are not really being kind to ourselves and self sabotaging our long term health, goals and happiness.
A healthy lifestyle is often viewed as a restrictive lifestyle but in my view it’s the very opposite. It’s all about perspective huh. Think of a healthy eating regime by what it gives to you, rather than by what it takes away from you. I never feel deprived or hungry because I consider my eating to be abundant with tasty, pleasurable food that repairs, revives and energizes me but also lifts my spirits and comforts my soul.