We all know that candy, cakes, and other sugar-filled treats aren’t good for us. Sure, you could use all of your willpower and not eat them, but then, wouldn’t you feel dead inside? I know I would. Life just doesn’t seem like it would be worth living if it was all vegetables. On the other hand, a lot of those goodies are just too far down the other end of the spectrum. These days, I avoid milk chocolate. Why? Because the Dark stuff is so much tastier and it also happens to be better for you. So, with that line of thinking, I’ve put together a list of treat ingredients that can be added to recipes and not have them lead you straight to diabetes in two bites. Plus, they don’t destroy the taste.
A good rule to remember is that protein is very filling and it takes longer to digest. Using ingredients like peanut butter, nuts, and yogurt will make the treats less sugary, too, especially if you get natural peanut butter. It doesn’t need sugar, but some companies add it anyway. I don’t know why. Another good way to add protein is with cheese. Cottage cheese, ricotta, and cream cheese are all high in protein for small servings. Cottage cheese has 10g for ½ of a cup, and ricotta has 7g for ¼ of a cup. So, filling the little kiddies, (and yourself), with protein takes a lot less, and that means less candy in the long run. Also, if it is your goal to fill them up, (and it should be), everything else on this list I’ve made will help toward that as well.
It’s not always possible to avoid the sugar, but that’s why Mother Nature invented fiber. What has fiber? Again, just about everything on this list does. These ingredients pull double and triple duty. About the only things that wouldn’t have fiber is the dark chocolate, (depending on where you get it), and the cream/cheese-based stuff. I know not many other people do, but I, actually, like oatmeal raisin cookies. It has tons of fiber and doesn’t taste like cardboard, (if done well).
Having a chunk of dark chocolate dipped in peanut butter? You could do a lot worse. Even dark chocolate, real dark chocolate, is better than that factory-made stuff. Coconut Nectar is a low glycemic index sweetener. Melt some baking chocolate with a teaspoon of nectar instead of dipping treats in that horrible, trans fat-filled, melting chocolate. Just think about all of the other things you could dip, too: almonds, pretzels, fruit, even Chex cereal. Chocolate isn’t the only option, either. Dip treats in yogurt, honey, or peanut butter. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, I hear fruit and cottage cheese go well together and are super healthy. Let me know how that goes.
When the kids are looking for a light snack, nothing beats popcorn, well, almost nothing. It’s tasty, healthy, and cleaner than chocolate. If the kids get tired of it, mix it with something else. There are tons of good recipes on Pinterest to fit your needs. There are just as many recipes for Chex-type mixes as well. If the kids want something a little sweeter, pepper in some dark chocolate chunks, or fruit. Even trail mix is a possibility. The sky is the limit, just not the candy store.
Regardless of what you replace that sugary garbage with, remember the rule: Make Them At Home: the ingredients are a lot easier to control when things are done in your own kitchen. Candy companies add tons of sugar to their products, (and who knows what else). If you’re at all concerned about health, like I am, skip the store shelves and go straight for the mixing bowls.