We all love to indulge. One of life's little pleasures is to share a treat with friends or family, kick back, and enjoy. I regularly jump on that bandwagon and go all-out with something that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Fast fact: Did you know that you stomach contains around 90% of our seratonin receptors? Thats our happy chemical - which is why food can make you happy (and sad). While I of course love the warm fuzzyiness, I don't get that from smashing a packet of TimTams. In fact, i'm pretty sure my body would retaliate with bloating and feelings of ickyness. You've been there right? So lets have a look at some goodies that both you and your tummy will love...
This of course makes the top of the list. What's indulgence without a little chocolate right? Look for raw chocolate in health food stores with no nasties. I'm a huge fan of Pana Chocolate, Loving Earth, and Rawsome. You can even make your own, if you have a spare 10 minutes and some beautiful cacao powder in the pantry. Raw cacao powder is full of antioxidants, reduces your blood pressure, risk of stroke + cardio vascular disease, AND boosts your mood. #win!
Creamy and delicious, this is not just a great accompaniment to your tacos. The amazing fats in this wonderful fruit keep you hair, skin and nails looking beautiful. 1 serving (100g) comes in at 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and a whopping 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, making this a low-carb friendly plant food. You'll also get a daily dose of potassium (more than a banana!) and will be able to absorb the nutrients of the other foods you consume at a better rate - making other parts of the meal more nourishing for your body.
if you select the healthier varieties, cheese can be great for your body! Rich in calcium, vitamin B, and minerals, cheese can help to strengthen strengthen bones, teeth and also prevent the body from diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer. Cottage Cheese is my cheese of choice - its really high in protein, and makes for an amazing snack when dolloped on aforementioned avo. You can also add it to smoothies (see my Raspberry Cheesecake version) for a thick-shake that resembles McDonalds. Goats cheese is another great option - again high in protein to keep you satiated, but also goes easy on the digestive system and contains 1/3 fewer calories than it's cheesy counterparts.
Nut butters are packed with protein as well as potassium — which lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. It also contains fiber for your bowel health, healthy fats, magnesium to fortify your bones and muscles, Vitamin E and antioxidants. It has to be 100% nuts though - salt, oil and sugars are out, so make sure you read that label.
Sorry, not the Ben & Jerry variety. But while you may miss the caramel fish swimming in a sea of marshmallow, i've got a far more delicious alternative. Skin and freeze a banana, then blend it up. That's one delicious banana ice-cream right there. Add cacao nibs and a spot of peppermint essence for mint choc-chip, or go crazy for salted caramel with the addition of sea salt and a few medjool dates. Check out my high-protein version here. It doesn't get any easier!
Make it grass-fed, and you're devouring a good dose of Vitamin K, which is important for optimum heart health. The myth about saturated fat causing heart disease has been thoroughly debunked - studies show that there is literally no association between the two. Butter also contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and well, it's crazy delicious. I don't need to sell it to you right? Swap your processed margarine for this, stat.
I used to love the shoe-string ones covered in salt. Yup. I even used to buy the microwave ones so I could tuck into some in under 2 minutes, whenever the mood took me. But now, i'm much more educated about food and the impact it can have on your mind and body, so again, swapped for a healthier version. I love sweet potato fries baked in the oven - such a simple way to enjoy a huge hit of nutrients, including beta-carotene for eye health, vitamin C for immunity, and magnesium for anti-stress vibes.
Red meat can be high in saturated fat comparative to it's white counterparts, but opt for a lean cut (such as eye fillet) from a good source. Try to go for organic, free-range beef to avoid ingesting artificial hormones, and get up to up to 5 times as much Omega-3 as meat from grain-fed cows. The high levels of protein can help you build lean muscle, which in turn increases your basal metabolic rate (rate at which you burn calories, even at rest). Just go easy on the fries / crumbed stuff - you'll undo all your hard work!
A rich source of Vitamin A, iron, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folates, these nuts are packed with nutrients to nourish and satiate your body. Enjoy a handful with your dinner, use crushed to coat chicken, or add to smoothies to 'up' your nutrients. Don't like these creamy nuts? You can also soak + blend them for an amazing cheesecake - bet you like them now, don't cha?!
Okay, so not all cookies are healthy. In fact, none are. But when you can't find a healthy version of the things you love, you merely have to create it. There's no way I can go without cookies. My 25 Calorie Cookie continues to be the most popular recipe on Pinterest. You can also check out these Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies or enjoy cookies in the morning *controversial* with these Healthy Muesli Breakfast Cookies. If you really can't get it together in the kitchen, try my no-bake DIY Protein Ball Mixes for all your cookie dough needs.
Just remember, as with EVERY food, it's all about balance and moderation, but don't shy away from these traditional treats, they're loaded with healthy goodies.