Saturday, January 25, 2014
The Best Candy Store Ever
After over six months of ups and downs during this food and wellness journey, I finally feel like my taste buds are really changing for the better.
Instead of craving processed junk food when I'm in a slump, I've found comfort in foods that not only curb my craving but also energize and restore my body and my mood. Here are a few of my favorite go-to sweet treats.
Dates. Oh, dates. They are nature's candy bar. Creamy and sweet like caramel, they go great with anything (chopped up in granola, blended in a smoothie, cooked down and poured over fruit). Rich in fiber and minerals, they can instantly boost your energy levels and make a great pre-workout snack. Just remember to take out the pit! Nobody wants a busted molar in the name of hunger, right?
Cashews. Honestly I do not discriminate when it comes to nuts, but cashews just seem a little more decadent than, say, almonds or walnuts. Because of their creamy texture, they're a great snack when you're craving a decadent treat. Cashews are great for your skin and also have a lower fat content than most other nuts.
Figs. Date's sweet little brother. Filled with seeds, figs have a great texture: chewy, crunchy and creamy. Similar to dates, they're my go-to topping for oatmeal or granola. Thanks to a high fiber content, figs can reduce cholesterol and are incredibly heart-healthy.
Coconut. How amazing is coconut? I love it in all forms (oil, butter, chipped, milk, water, fresh) but shredded coconut is my favorite for a dessert-like treat. One of my favorite combinations: mixed fruit topped with toasted coconut and a drizzle of date syrup (for an easy date syrup recipe, click here). Coconuts are wonderful for your skin and hair and are filled with electrolytes, so reach for coconut water after a workout instead of other energy drinks filled with chemicals.
Cacao nibs. If you're not a fan of super dark chocolate, cacao nibs probably won't be your cup of tea. But for me? They do the trick. They're bittersweet and crunchy, so I almost always complete a smoothie with cacao nibs sprinkled on top. Cacao nibs are a raw food and contain polyphenols, a compound that keeps your brain and heart healthy as well as act as an antioxidant for your body.
Berries. Bite-sized and tasty, berries are another great meal topper. I never allow my fridge to be berry-free, so I keep our house stocked at all times. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are my absolute favorites. Among other benefits, berries are full of antioxidants and may also help lower blood pressure and kick many types of cancer's butt. Nice.
Not pictured: Bananas. Oh man, bananas are my best friend. Frozen, they make a great soft serve and smoothie add-in. They're great on the go and keep me energized during a workout. I love you, you golden God.
What are your favorite natural sweet treats? Any combinations I need to try? Leave them in the comments below.