Guilt Free Chocolate Bites

cookieI just realized my favorite ‘guilt free’ easy to make treat is not on my blog!  Oh the horror!!!

Enter:  The Three Ingredient Cookie

So easy and so yum. I literally have one most days after lunch.  I’m actually quite devastated on days we are out of them.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 bananas (don’t have to be old but can be)
  • 1 C quick oats
  • couple of handfuls of chocolate chips (about 2 tablespoons)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mash the bananas.
  2. Add in the oats and chocolate chips
  3. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

YUM.

There are a lot of “two ingredient” things floating around out there. Most of these require a box of cake mix and a can of pie filling. I love that these “two ingredients” are natural and healthy. I feel zero guilt popping this into my mouth. I think the original recipe says you can make 16, this batch made about 12.  Each one has about 58 calories.  Yep. That’s it!  So have two!

But seriously – think about it, if I ate 6 cookies, I’ve had: 1 banana, 1/2 cup of oats, and a tablespoon of chocolate chips. Can’t beat that!

Just a note, I usually store mine in the fridge and then heat up for about 10 seconds before enjoying after my lunch.

A Special Sweet Chocolate Treat

PrintI tried out the blender muffin. I’ve been seeing them all over pinterest so why not try it right?

The one I tried?  Of course a Double Chocolate Muffin and it did not disappoint.  But best part? If you have a hankering for a sweet – THIS is the one.  With only 80 calories and 6 grams of sugar, you won’t kill your progress nutritionally if you’ve been looking for a little indulgence.

These are great for lunch boxes and after school snacks too -the perfect size for little kiddos!

So here’s what you need:

1 medium banana, peeled
1 large egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Here’s what you:

Preheat the oven to 400.

Put everything in a blender except chocolate chips

Blend on high until smooth and then hand mix in the chocolate chips.

Fill the mini muffin pan (pre-greased) about 3/4 of the way.  I was able to make 19 mini muffins!

Bake for about 8 minutes (maybe 10 but mine were READY at 8).

Remove, cool, and enjoy!

Now if you are ok with a few more calories, I think a few more chocolate chips would have been good. A few of my mini muffins didn’t have any (boo hiss) so maybe 1/2 cup if you are able to stand it.  You can even sprinkle some on top.

Hope this snacks satisfies your sweet tooth and makes your whole family happy!

Yum!

 

Original recipe here: http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/05/flourless-double-chocolate-peanut-butter-mini-blender-muffins.html

Got the Munchies??

In our last few days we discussed some ideas for emotional eating or stress eating or eating out of boredom. You can check out the topics here and here and here.

Some of you mentioned you weren’t eating so much because of stress but because of boredom.  I get it. I’ve been there. (Not gonna lie I’m kinda struggling with it while I type this). So I thought it might be a good idea to give you a list of some things to reach for instead of the cookies, cheese its, ice cream, or chocolate bars (I mean that is my major problem!) These will provide the crunch or sweetness you need without setting you way back!

1.  cucumbers – high water content keeps ya fuller longer!

2.  apples- high fiber and low calorie.  Only about 100 calories in a medium and it takes about 120 calories to digest it!

3.  celery – only 3 calories/stalk.  Did you know celery can reduce risk of ovarian cancer in women?

4.  asparagus – 1/2 cup cooked asparagus has about 20 calories and it is a natural diuretic and flushes out the body?

5.  watermelon – MY FAVORITE!!  One cup has about 80 calories but consume carefully because of the naturally occurring sugars!

6.  broccoli – 25 calories in 1/2 cup and has as much vitamin c and calcium as an orange! The plant based protein builds lean muscles!!

7.  mushrooms – mushrooms contain about 22 calories but it takes over 30 to digest!

8. leafy greens – spinach is just 4 calories in a cup but the power it has is amazing!  Greens prevent osteoporosis , cancer and heart diseases!

9.  bell peppers – these are nutrition powerhouses.  They contain potassium, folic acid, lycopene and fiber.

10.  summer squash – full of fiber and only 15 calories in a cup

11.  zucchini – manganese in zucchini helps to process fat, carbohydrates and glucose in the body.

12.  green teas – green tea is a complete calorie free beverage when taken without sugar. It contains ECGC, an antioxidant that reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer. It also revs up the metabolism, aiding you burn maximum calories.

13.  carrots – have a low glycemic index to help manage blood sugar.

14.  lettuce – a great source of iron and magnesium

15.  lemons – high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants in lemon promote immunity and fight infections.

16. cauliflower – one of the lowest calorie foods and full of anti-inflammatory characteristics

 

So next time you get the munchies – pull this list out and try something!!!

Quick Tricks for Fighting the Sugar Cravings

Few ideas for helping you fight sugar cravings!!

1. Avoid trigger foods. If you know something makes you crave sweets – don’t eat it. I have trouble after Italian food…I always want chocolate so when I do have Italian food, I have a good 2 ingredient cookie on hand to fight the craving.

2. Of course prep healthy snacks in advance so you can fight it.

3. Try to fight the craving with fresh fruit.

4. Avoid artificial sweeteners (I’m working on that…) but they do trigger a craving for more sweet food because they are actually more sweet than normal sugar

5. Try drinking water first and see if that helps

Sugar Intake Info

You guys know that I am trying to really learn a lot about sugar and start reducing added sugar in my kiddos’ diet.  So I did a little research today and wanted to share it with you.

Ok first of all – sugar is “natural” because it does come from a plant but so does high fructose corn syrup. Although it is natural, it has been highly processed so the nutrients that were naturally there have been stripped away.

Foxnews studies show that health experts recommend we eat no more than eight teaspoons of sugar a day. But on average, Americans consume four times that much. That means we are eating on average 32 tsp of sugar a day! Yipes!

New York Times Magazine states that sugar is likely the “dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.”

Ok so those numbers are scary – but what do we do? Going back to my motto of REALISTIC PRACTICAL and DETERMINED.

Let me be real here. My kids drink apple juice. My text for nutrition counseling last night said that giving kids apple juice is basically the equivalent nutritionally of giving them sugar water. Realistically – they don’t like water and won’t drink it without a splash of apple juice in it. In my quest to cut back on their sugar – it is a slow process. I have replaced a lunch glass of juice with milk. I am also trying to introduce orange juice with pulp – the pulpier the better because it means it contains more nutrients. Side story – ANYWAY point being – it will be a slow process for me.

What I know is that:
1. Any processed foods contain sugar and sugars themselves have been processed to have no nutritional value. So I am on a quest to cut it out as much as possible.
2. Sugar is addictive (like for real scientifically) so the more we have it, the more we want it. I don’t like anything having control over me like that and I feel like, if I can break this addiction for my kids now – it will be better for them down the road. Will I never allow them to have sugar – NO! I just want more knowledge on it and moderation so that I know how much they are getting.
3. The problem with sugar isn’t so much sugar itself but the quantity we consume. The America Heart Association recommends that children get 3 added tsp of sugar a day, women get 6 and men get 9. This isn’t the naturally occurring sugar in fruit (because nature also puts the right amount of fiber in there to balance that sugar) but added sugars in foods.

Example: fruit snacks – one pack has about 2 3/4 tsp added sugar. One pack has almost all sugar the kiddos need (my kids would eat 2 of these a day!)

So sugar not so bad – just watch your intake!

For me – I am going to try and limit our sugars to honey and maple syrup. I know these are still sugars but remember – I have to be realistic. I think brown rice syrup is also a good option but I haven’t found that yet. I know that honey and maple syrup still have some sugar qualities but they are less processed and have more vitamins/nutrients than the other sugars. Still, it is important to watch the intake here too.

I think the major thing is – the more food you can personally make yourself, the less sugar gets put in your food. That isn’t always practical though right? We have to do what works for us.

I hope this info helps. For me it is something to work towards but not something that will be done over night.

Right now I am working on snacks and getting as little as sugar as possible in our foods!

Honestly I thought brown sugar was a great alternative but my research is showing me it is basically the equivalent of white table sugar so I am currently learning how to get the brown sugar out of my recipes and add in honey/syrup.

Hope this little bit of info helps and motivates you too.

Beat the Sugar Craving

One way to beat sugar cravings is to be sure you are getting some good fat in your diet. The good fats in your diet trigger the same area of the brain as the “not so great” carbs like treats, lattes, muffins, cookies, and cakes.

So be sure you have some avocado, coconut oil, peanuts, nut butters (in moderation) to help FIGHT THE CRAVINGS.

If you struggle with these cravings at night -try adding in a bit of one of these foods to your dinner!