One of my favorite books that really simplifies how to eat real food is Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. I love what he has to say about junk food.
Rule #45: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
Let’s be honest. If every time we wanted fries, baked goods or ice cream we had to cook them ourselves, we would eat a lot less of those foods. It would truly be a treat when we ate them instead of something we can easily do every day thanks to modern food manufacturing.
In college, I was given the nickname “Betty Crocker” by a group of my husband’s fraternity brothers and roommates because of all of the baked goods I made for them, including my specialties of cookies and cream brownies and half-inch thick chocolate chip cookies.
Now that I’m focused on nourishing my body (and my friends and family) with wholesome, minimally processed or refined foods, I take a different approach to baking.
As I’ve learned more about how to cook and bake in a healthier way, I’ve discovered that a variety of foods found in nature are sweet, minimally (if at all) processed AND delicious, including fruit, dates, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, applesauce, and blackstrap molasses, to name a few. They are great substitutes to use in recipes that call for highly refined white sugar.
Like any sweet treat, these are meant to be enjoyed occasionally, not every day, because the more sugar we consume, the more our bodies will crave. In fact, many of us are literally addicted to it. Two of the keys to curbing a sugar addiction are to minimize our sugar intake and make sure we are eating enough nutrient-rich whole food at regular intervals, so our bodies feel nutritionally satisfied.
Many of the sweet treat recipes I prepare will often include fiber, which helps the sugar in the food release more slowly into the bloodstream, giving your liver more time to metabolize the food.
I like to think of food choices on a continuum of “Good, Better, Best.” All of these options are better choices than grabbing a box or bag of sweets with long lists of ingredients we can’t pronounce.
Here are links to 5 of my favorite tried and true sweet treat recipes!
- Homemade Rolos (oh she glows) – I LOVED Rolos growing up. I made these last night for dessert, and they were gone by the time we finished playing Catchphrase! I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips because they only have 3 ingredients and are gluten, dairy, and soy free (you find them at Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and MOMs). oh she glows is one of my absolute favorite blogs. Angela posts so many amazing and delicious recipes – from baked goods to side dishes and salads – and I’ve tried about a half dozen of them and will feature them in future posts.
- Chocolate Mint Truffles (Mind Body Green) – I made these for multiple holiday parties this year, and they were full of minty goodness. They’re vegan and don’t contain any processed sugar, but no one will know!
- Peanut Butter Granola Bars (The Family Vegan) – This recipe is from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook, which my hubby gave me as a gift for Christmas. We have already made 10 delicious recipes from the book this year, so I can’t recommend it enough!
- Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies (Fast Paleo) – These are a great gluten and dairy-free alternative to chocolate chip cookies, and they are delicious! An alternative option is to use half raw honey and half maple syrup instead of using only honey. Sometimes I also do half peanut butter and half almond butter instead of only almond butter. I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips in these as well, but you can skip the chips altogether, if you prefer, and add cranberries instead!
- Banana Bread Muffin Tops (oh she glows) – I just made these for the first time last week, and I really enjoyed them with walnuts and raisins!
Unfamiliar with some of the ingredients? Just do what we do, and buy them off of Amazon. They are usually cheaper there than anywhere else, and we get free 2-day shipping with our Amazon Prime Membership!
I would love to hear if you end up trying any of these recipes. Feel free to share them, and stay tuned for more!