If chocolate is what you're after in your quest for something sweet, look no further than for some dark chocolate. Good quality dark chocolate is both low in sugar and dairy free, or better yet, made with non-refined sugar, using alternatives such as coconut sugar or stevia. The result is something to satisfy your chocolate craving and sweet craving without the sugar and processed ingredients of typical milk chocolate. In fact, dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants from the cacao content and cacao butter contains healthy saturated fat. The key is making sure you are buying raw, organic chocolate that is a minimum of 75% cacao content. Be prepared to spend a little more, but for the benefits to your health, it is totally worth it.
This is probably my number one way to satisfy my cravings for sweet treats, and is a regular dessert of choice in our house. It simply involves placing 2-3 frozen bananas in the food processor and then processing until smooth. You can add in cacao powder if you want a chocolate version, mix with other frozen fruits like cherries or blueberries for a different flavor, or even add in some nut butter and chocolate chips to have Reese's peanut butter cup ice cream. If you want to take things a step further and make more than just one serving, add a can of coconut cream, along with your bananas and choice of flavours and once processed, place in a rectangular pan and set in the freezer to harden for 2-3 hours. Remove about 20 minutes before serving and the result is healthy ice cream you can scoop into a cone like the real deal. Nobody will know there's no dairy involved and that it is much healthier than traditional ice cream.
Yes, you read that right: cookie dough! But probably not the kind you are thinking. This cookie dough is made from chickpeas or white kidney beans and is pureed in the food processor with vanilla protein powder and some fresh vanilla pod. The result is cookie dough that is good enough to eat by the spoonful and healthy enough that you can eat the entire batch. I usually add in a few cacao nibs, almonds or chocolate chips after I whiz it smooth and then like to leave it in the fridge for an hour or two before eating it. If you want to get creative, you can add in peanut butter and oats to make oatmeal peanut butter cookie dough, or add in some ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves to create gingerbread cookie dough. There are lots of options for your healthy cookie dough fix, so grab your can of chickpeas and get started!
You've probably heard of the infamous black bean brownies, and if you haven't you're totally missing out. But I'll let you in on a little secret: these brownies can be made using any bean you like! You can use lentils, chickpeas, white kidney beans, and I've even made them with red kidney beans. The beans lend that gooey filling that is so desirable in brownies, and if you use banana or dates as a natural sweetener, then you will be getting extra nutritional value from these! I like to make mine with gluten free flour options such as oat flour, quinoa flour and coconut flour, as these offer a high protein option that is easier on the digestive system.
My go-to energy bite is a combination of dates, cacao, coconut, almonds, chia seeds and goji berries. The combination of chocolate and dates is irresistible and it tastes so sweet and delicious, it's hard to believe they aren't' t bad for you. Quite the opposite in fact: when made with whole food ingredients like those listed above, energy bites are a great snack or after dinner treat and are perfect as pre or post workout fuel. Better yet, the contents of them mean you are getting your fats, carbohydrates and protein all in one go, making these a snack that is not only healthy, but that will fill you up, while satisfying that sweet craving at the same time. The best part? You can easily make them at home in your food processor - a much cheaper alternative to the store bought options and you get to play around with the flavours!
I know a lot of the time, fruit just won't cut it when you're craving something sweet, but for those times when you want a little something and know you don't have the spare calories for a proper dessert, fruit can be the perfect answer. In particular, tropical fruit, which is higher in sugar and more likely to curb that craving than say, an apple or a pear. Although it is fruit, don't think that gives you free reign to eat as much as you want: it does still contain sugar, and even though it is not refined and breaks down slower than typical table sugar, too much is still not a good thing!
You may be thinking that this is for your salty cravings, but when topped with things such as cacao or date caramel drizzle, you turn an ordinarily salty treat into a sweet delight. Play around with your toppings and experiment with cacao, melted nut butter or homemade date caramel, and sprinkle on things such as goji berries, coconut and cinnamon. The end result is a sweet and salty delight that when air popped or popped in coconut oil is a much healthier option to your microwave or movie theater counterpart and is a great way to satisfy all your cravings in one!