In this day and age there seems to be a warning about many ingredients commonly found in food at the store, and it may seem that actually enjoying a health-conscious diet is close to impossible. And even with healthy foods like whole grains and greens in your diet, we all have a sweet tooth and things can get a bit mundane, without the addition of a few treats to indulge in now and then.
You’re right to want to steer clear of the misery for dairy cows and health risks for humans that surround dairy products, but it can be tough to find anything suitably sweet at the store that doesn’t come with at least one dairy ingredient in it. And if you are lucky enough to find a plant-based treat, you may be hard pressed to find one that is actually healthy for you – aside from fresh fruit of course!
The good news is that you can make your own healthy treats at home that will make you forget about all the junk at the store. Here are seven indulgent options you can enjoy at any time on a health-conscious diet:
Banana “Ice Cream”
You can have all the “ice cream” you want when it’s made of bananas! Bananas, when frozen, act as the perfect base for homemade ice cream, and they can be mixed with a ton of different ingredients to create different flavors and textures. To make your own at home, peel a few ripe bananas and break them into small chunks. Place the chunks in a resealable container or plastic baggie and freeze them for at least eight hours.
When you’re ready to make your banana ice cream, take them out of the freezer and put them in your food processor along with chocolate powder or your favorite fresh fruit. Pulse the ingredients until you’re left with a creamy frozen treat that you can’t help but eat every bite of. Try a raw mango soft serve, indulge in a layered banana ice cream cake, or whip up a banana split!
Date truffles make awesome treats on-the-go. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, they’re easy to travel with, and the ways to make them are virtually limitless. Make things super easy on yourself and simply massage some cinnamon into a cup of pitted dates with your hands. Once they’re all soft and gooey, form about a tablespoon at a time into small balls and they’re ready for enjoyment. Head to the kitchen and put together some pumpkin truffles for breakfast, or create a bunch of raw cinnamon chocolate truffles for dessert.
Dehydrated fruit in itself makes a healthy treat that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, but you can take things a step further by creating fruit leather out of fresh fruit. Fruit leather is like a cross between gummy bears and Now & Laters but without all the artificial additives and refined sugar. A basic option is to blend up bananas and maybe a little seasoning, like vanilla extract or cinnamon, and then spreading the mixture out on your dehydrator sheets. Dehydrate the bananas overnight or until it is firm and pliable enough to pull off your dehydrator sheets, yet soft enough to easily chew when you bite into it. You can also use other foods like mangoes that are easy to cut into strips too.
Didn’t you just love digging into those chocolate and vanilla pudding cups as a kid? Talk about the ultimate comfort food! Pudding doesn’t have to be off the menu just because you’ve decided to ditch the dairy. Most fruits with a dense texture, like bananas and persimmons, can be blended alone to make a remarkably sweet and thick pudding treat.
Other ingredients, such as cacao powder and avocados, can be used to shake things up a bit; for breakfast, indulge in some blueberry chia pudding or enjoy an afternoon snack of low-fat chocolate pudding. When you want to impress friends and family with a healthy dessert, make a lively batch of lemon meringue pudding.
The frozen drinks at your local convenience store may look like nothing more than blended up frozen fruit with ice, but the truth is that they’re filled with both artificial colors and flavors that may pose a risk to your good health. But it’s easy enough to make your own at home, so you aren’t missing out on anything the store has to offer.
To make melon slushies choose a watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe, cut it up into chunks, and fill your blender halfway up with it. Fill the rest of the space with ice and blend on high until smooth and frothie.
Oatmeal is a seriously healthy option offering protective benefits to your heart, your overall blood sugar levels, and even your nervous system. But oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast! You can turn it into tasty cookies that are much healthier than the varieties you’ll find on the shelves at your local store.
To make basic cookies, mix a cup of whole oats and a cup of blended oats together in a bowl along with half a cup of water and two or three tablespoons of maple syrup, agave nectar, or date syrup. Add a little cinnamon and drop tablespoons of the oat mixture on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes of until golden brown.
Applesauce is refreshing, filling, and energizing, but the packaged stuff at the store is packed with unnecessary ingredients like sugar, fat, and artificial flavors. It’s so simple to make your own yummy applesauce at home that once you do it, you will wonder why you ever bought the processed stuff in the first place! All you need to do is peel and core your apples and throw them in your blender. Add a little cinnamon for extra flavor, and pulse the apples until they become the consistency of applesauce.
What kind of treats do you enjoy indulging in while maintaining a health-conscious diet?
Lead Image Source: Oat and Cashew Thumbprint Cookies With Berry Chia Jam