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Sweet tooth? Get your fix with these 4 healthy treats

Whether you’ve hit a 3pm energy slump, are feeling the stress from work or simply need a pick-me-up, each of us feel the need for something sweet from time to time. It’s hardly surprising: one of the reasons that eating sugary treats feels so good is because it triggers the release of a chemical called dopamine (sometimes called the “feel-good hormone) into our bodies.

Sugar has gained a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to health. Like all things, however, it’s fine when it’s consumed in moderations, and there are a few ways to reduce your sugar intake and increase the nutrient density of your foods while still satisfying your sweet tooth.

Here are a few recipes to do the trick:

Chia Pudding

This is a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert that’s easily customised to suit your cravings. The chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and fibre to keep you feeling full, while honey and fresh fruit like bananas or berries add sweetness and nutrients. This recipe also travels well, so it can easily be made in a container or glass jar and brought with you to work.

Ingredients:

● 2 tablespoons of black or white chia seeds

● ½ cup of almond, coconut or cow’s milk

● Honey to taste

● Fresh fruit to serve

Method:

● In a jar or small bowl, combine your chia seeds and milk

● Whisk or stir until thoroughly combined

● Cover and leave to soak in the fridge overnight or for 6 hours

● Once set, stir in honey and top with fresh fruit

Yoghurt Berry Parfait

Low-fat Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium, although some people find it difficult to eat on its own. This recipe adds plenty of sweetness and texture, as well as antioxidants from the berries. For extra sweetness, stir a little maple syrup or honey into the yoghurt before you begin.

Ingredients:

● ½ a cup of high-protein, low-fat greek yoghurt

● ½ a cup of fresh berries

● Cinnamon to taste

● ¼ cup of granola

Method:

● Start by spooning ½ of the yoghurt into the bottom of a jar, glass or small bowl

● Sprinkle with cinnamon, add ½ of the berries and ½ of the granola

● Repeat for the next layer

Dark chocolate bark

Sometimes, only chocolate will do. This recipe takes high-quality dark chocolate and combines it with toasted nuts, seeds and dried fruit for added nutrients. You can easily separate the recipe out into individual portions. It also makes a great snack to share with the kids or your coworkers.

You can use whichever nuts, seeds and dried fruit that you prefer or happen to have in the house. Here are some tasty combinations:

● Hazelnut, sunflower and dried apricot

● Cashews, pumpkin seed and dried cranberries

● Almonds, sesame seeds and dried dates

● Pistachio, flax seeds and dried figs

Ingredients:

● Two blocks or 180-200 grams of 70-90% cacao dark chocolate

● 2 tablespoons of seeds

● ¼ cup of chopped nuts

● ¼ cup of chopped dried fruit

Method:

● Line a small baking tray or large plate with baking paper. Make sure that it’s flat with a rim so that the chocolate doesn’t overflow

● Put the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and melt it in the microwave, using 20-second increments and stirring between each

● Spread the chocolate over the baking tray using a spatula or the back of a spoon

● Once spread evenly, top with the nuts, seeds and fruit

● Put in the fridge until fully set

● Using your hands, break into small pieces

Peanut Butter Banana Cups

Just like your favourite chocolate peanut butter cups from the store, this homemade version perfectly combines PB and chocolate. Here, we’ve swapped the milk chocolate for antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and added bananas for fibre, potassium and natural sugar.

Ingredients:

● Two blocks or 180-200 grams of 70-90% cacao dark chocolate

● 1 large banana

● ¼ cup of smooth peanut butter

Method:

● Set out paper cupcake cases on a plate or small baking tray

● Put half of the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and melt it in the microwave, using 20-second increments and stirring between each

● Spoon a layer of chocolate into the bottom of each paper case, place in the freezer to set

● Put your banana in a small bowl and mash with a small fork

● Add your peanut butter and stir until thoroughly mixed

● Take your cases out of the freezer and dollop a small amount of the banana mixture into each one

● Place the cups back in the freezer to set

● Once they are firm, use the same strategy as above to melt the remaining chocolate

● Spoon the melted chocolate over the cups until the banana mixture is fully covered

● Return to the freezer or fridge to set


You may also be interested in the following:

5 healthy recipes for the whole family
A smoothie bowl recipe for healthy skin
3 easy and healthy side dishes to try

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