Just because you’re trying to lose weight, doesn’t mean that you have to give up your sweet tooth. There are lots of delicious, easy to make sweet treats that fit right in with your healthy weight loss plan. We’re talking more than the simple, “just make a smoothie!” advice. Everyone here at VeraVia loves a delicious smoothie, but sometimes you want something a little more decadent–to treat yourself or to share with others.
Here are our 5 favorite sweet and healthy treats that you can feel good about.
Homemade vegan ice cream
Ditch the store-bought variety and leave the extra sugar and preservatives in the freezer aisle. Homemade ice cream is smarter for healthy weight loss because you have greater control over the ingredients you use. Affordable ice cream makers have taken over the market. DIY ice cream no longer requires packing your product in pounds of salt and sitting down for hours of churning. With the press of a button, you can generate your own healthy ice cream or sorbet in under an hour. Replace dairy with coconut milk and use honey, stevia or maple syrup as a sweetener in place of sugar. Get creative and experiment with fun flavors like coffee coconut, pumpkin spice or lavender banana.
Peanut butter & granola balls
These bite-sized snacks combine creamy peanut butter with a jolt of crunch for a satisfying afternoon pick-me-up or an after-dinner treat. Homemade granola is very easy to make—choose your favorite recipe and be sure to use maple syrup, honey or agave in place of brown or white sugar. Add your favorite nuts and dried fruits and feel free to munch while you’re preparing your peanut butter balls.
To make the balls, combine 4 tablespoons of peanut butter (smooth works best) with 2 tablespoons of syrup or honey and a splash of milk (about 2 tablespoons). Then stir in about 4 cups of your prepared granola. Using wet hands, spoon out chunks of the peanut butter-granola mixture, molding it into 1” balls. Drizzle more milk into your mixing bowl if your mixture gets too sticky, and continue to wet your hands with milk or water if you have trouble forming the balls. Place your balls on a parchment-covered plate and refrigerate for at least an hour before enjoying.
Dark chocolate covered strawberries
Chocolate covered strawberries are not only delicious, they’re impressive. But here’s the secret: they’re actually quite easy to make. As a bonus, dark chocolate has antioxidant properties that can help protect against heart disease. To prepare your chocolate covered strawberries, buy a basket of organic strawberries and a bag of dark chocolate chips–look for over 50% cacao. Wash the strawberries, keeping the stems intact, then dry each one thoroughly. Using a double-boiler, heat up a cup of chocolate chips, stirring frequently and keeping an eye on the chocolate’s consistency. When the chocolate is melted and smooth, carefully grab a strawberry by its stem and dip it into the chocolate, rolling it from side to side to achieve your desired coverage. Set the strawberry on a plate or baking sheet covered with parchment or wax paper. When you have finished dipping your strawberries, place them in the refrigerator for at least an hour before digging in.
A tip: over-heated chocolate can become clumpy, so keep your heat as low as possible and add more chocolate chips as needed.
Greek yogurt parfait
Yogurt isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Skip the fruit flavors and go for the basics: plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. Not only is Greek yogurt an excellent source of calcium, potassium, and vitamins B12 and B6, plain Greek yogurt contains probiotics and contains about double the protein of other yogurts. Don’t worry about this treat getting boring: do as the Greeks do and add a drizzle of honey. Then top with your favorite fruit (we love blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or bananas) and sprinkle on a handful of homemade granola for some crunch.
Healthy chocolate mousse
Chocolate mousse is perfect for special occasions. Replace heavy cream with a large ripe avocado to cut down on fat without sacrificing the mousse’s creamy texture. Using raw cocoa powder helps you get those dark chocolate antioxidant benefits, and coconut milk or almond milk is easier on your digestive tract. Swap out sugar with stevia and top with toasted almonds, toasted coconut or frozen berries.
There’s no need to give up sweets on your path to healthy weight loss. Get creative and seek out alternative recipes that don’t rely as much on sugar or fat as traditional desserts. As with everything sweet, remember to enjoy in moderation. Bon appetit!
Looking for more guidance on nutrition? Contact us today to schedule your stay at our wellness retreat, where you’ll get a personalized nutrition plan to meet your needs.