There is no doubt about it – including lots of raw fruits and vegetables in your diet is an essential component of every healthy diet. They’re extraordinary nutrient density makes it easier for your body to fight off inflammation as well as infections, they are the right choice for weight loss and maintenance, and they keep the body hydrating for optimal performance throughout the day.
While whole cooked foods are a healthy addition to any diet, cooking tends to destroy some of the nutrients in the food which is something you don’t have to worry about when it comes to enjoying raw meals. But this doesn’t mean that you have to fill your plate with nothing but raw carrots and green salads at each meal. Incorporate some healthy grains and a few dehydrated treats into your day too!
Dehydrated foods offer all the benefits of keeping your food raw, while giving you the satisfaction and comfort of a cooked meal. This is because dehydrated foods don’t typically get heated above 116 degrees F, which is said to be the point where nutrients start become affected.
Here are five fantastic dehydrated-treats that are worth incorporating into your overall diet:
1. Raw Vegan “Granola Bar” Crackers
Full of apples, walnuts, and flaxseeds, there is no shortage of flavor or fiber in these fun crackers. The cinnamon included in this recipe helps to maintain health blood glucose levels, and may even inhibit the growth of tumor cells. And you’ll love the punch of chocolate you get with each bite. After throwing all your ingredients together, they’re ready for the dehydrator.
2. Healthy Bread
Buckwheat is a hearty and satisfying grain that makes awesome raw vegan breads, wraps, and crackers. It also happens to help reduce inflammation within the body. Combined with garlic and caraway seeds, this unique Raw Black Bread is the perfect addition to an evening meal of soup or a fresh green salad. There’s some mixing involved before the bread makes it into the dehydrator, but the process is well worth it.
3. Kale Chips
Kale is packed with a powerhouse of nutrition such as calcium, iron, and the vitamins A, C and K. It’s also known to provide a punch of antioxidants that help to fight off disease. Turning kale into habanero kale chips will make you feel like you’re eating junk food but without all the guilt. The habanero spice may just increase your metabolism a bit too! Kale chips take just minutes to prepare and then it’s just a matter of setting and your dehydrator and waiting.
4. Vegan Jerky
There is no one specific way to make satisfying vegan jerky – you can use tofu or tempeh as the base and flavor it in a variety of different ways to suit your personal preferences. Barbecue sauce, spicy mustard dressing, and vegan Worcestershire sauce are all excellent options. Add in a little bit of salt and pepper, set your dehydrator for an overnight run, and you’re good to go. You’ll want to marinade your jerky for a few hours before dehydrating it if possible.
5. Dehydrated Fruit Snacks
One of the healthiest ways to use your new dehydrator is to simply dry some fruit pieces in it to make your own fruit snacks. You can simply cut your fruit up into even slices or pieces then put the in the dehydrator until they’re completely dry and store them in a reusable container afterward. But why not get a little fancy and give your taste buds a flavor party to enjoy? Consider sprinkling coconut sugar on the fruit before it goes in the dehydrator, or roll it around in some cinnamon. The options are limitless!
Remember – the key is to maintain a balanced diet of whole fresh raw fruits and veggies, healthy cooked grains and starchy veggies, and a few dehydrated treats too. This tactic is sure to keep cravings and unwanted weight away!
Lead Image Source: Vegan Feast Catering/Flickr