rich-nutrientEating empty calories just to sate a sweet tooth is so outdated. But does that mean that you have to give up desserts entirely?

Not if you follow a few simple guidelines and focus on nutrient-rich sweet treats!

Guidelines for Making Nutrient-Rich Desserts a Part of a Healthy Diet

1. Remember that balance is the key. If you completely remove sweets and desserts from your diet, you’re more likely to overindulge rather than just have an occasional treat. So plan ahead and know what and when your next dessert is going to be. That way you never feel deprived and more likely to binge.

2. Make substitutions in your favorite desserts to make them more nutrient-rich. Use fresh fruit that’s been macerated rather than jam or jelly. Swap whole grain flour for white flour and apple sauce or coconut oil for vegetable oil. The options are endless, and your food will still taste delicious.

3. Search out nutrient-rich desserts. Sweets and treats can be healthier and still be satisfying. Expand your horizons a bit, and try new flavors and textures. Yes, you can certainly make substitutions in your standbys, but spread your wings and try new desserts, too. You very well may find new favorites to go along with your old favorites.

4. Remember that portions matter. No one wants to weigh every bite and count every calorie. We get that. But portions do matter, and to stay healthy, you need to remember that. Even nutrient-rich desserts can be high in calories and sugar. So, have a single serving – and make sure it actually is a single serving.

5. Stay healthy in other aspects of your life. It’s easier to work nutrient-rich treats into your diet without causing damage to your health when you’re generally healthy to begin with. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, healthy carbs, and good-for-you fats. Move every day. Aim for your 10,000 steps, along with thirty minutes of exercise daily. The occasional indulgence is hardly a drop in the bucket when you’re maintaining health in every other way.

Nutrient-Rich Desserts to Get You Started

Now that you’re ready to try nutrient-rich sweets, where do you even start? How about right here! And just in time for the holiday baking season…

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

The fresh fruit, dark chocolate, coconut, and avocado all combine to take these from empty calorie treats to nutrient-rich ones!

INGREDIENTS

  • 140 grams dark chocolate (higher percentage of cacao the better)
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup mixed berries (think blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate and/or cherries , whatever you prefer)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • ½ t pure vanilla extract
  • Shredded coconut

DIRECTIONS

  1. Stirring constantly, melt chocolate over a double boiler. Remove once melted, but before chocolate starts to scorch.
  2. Add the avocado, berries and vanilla to a food processor or blender and combine until smooth.
  3. Drizzle in the melted chocolate, a pinch of salt and the maple syrup. Blend until smooth. The mixture will be very runny. Put mixture into the freezer until you can roll it into a ball and have it still hold its shape.
  4. Once chocolate is firm, roll a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into a ball, then roll in the shredded coconut.
  5. Place in a dish lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Apple Oat Crumble

Fresh fruit and whole grains make this a seasonal, nutrient-rich treat everyone will enjoy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium apples (granny smith or macoun have a nice tartness that works well with the sugar, and a texture that will hold up to the baking, but any variety will do)
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/8 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2 t cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Slice apples into thin slices, or dice into medium sized cubes. Leave the skins on for a truly nutrient-rich dessert.

Toss with lemon juice and 1 T brown sugar. Transfer to oven-safe baking dish and sprinkle with water. Cook for about 20 minutes.

While baking, combine dry ingredients. Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over cooked apples, and return to oven for another 25-30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and apples are bubbling.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody needs a good chocolate chip cookie recipe in their repertoire. So why not make it a nutrient-rich chocolate chip cookie? No one will ever know the difference.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 T honey
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t espresso powder
  • 1/2 t butterscotch or butter-rum flavor, optional
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 c White Whole Wheat Flour or Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 2/3 to 3 cups dark chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, honey, vanilla, espresso powder, butter-rum flavor, and salt until smooth.
  • Beat in the vinegar, egg, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Stir in the flour, then the chocolate chips, mixing just until combined.
  • Drop the dough, by tablespoonfuls, onto the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes until their bottoms are barely starting to brown (gently lift one up to peek). If they look underdone, that’s really okay. These are meant to be soft and chewy.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

And want to make these or any of your favorite desserts even more nutrient-rich? Just add a scoop  of BenVia Gold ground chia seed.

Packed with the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber to make any recipe nutrient-rich, BenVia Gold is perfect for just about any baked good you’re craving.

Plus, it imparts a subtle, nutty crunch, making it perfect for your favorite treats!

Nutrient-rich doesn’t have to mean bland, blah, or boring. Not with these recipes, and not with BenVia Gold ground chia seed!