Healthy Living: Sneaking healthy ingredients into desserts

When you think heart health, desserts are probably the last thing to come to mind.  It's true, dessert by nature is sweet, and often that comes with sugar and added oils.  However, there are ways to sneak healthy ingredients into desserts.  When consumed in moderation, these small changes may leave you feeling less guilty about splurging on sweets.

Below is a message from nutritionist, Deborah Enos and 3 recipes she spruced up with some unique ingredients.

From Deborah:

The good news? There are simple steps you take today and start to lower your risk for heart disease.

Dessert is a reality. If I told my clients they would have to skip sweets for the rest of their lives if they wanted to lower their risk of heart disease I’m guessing that most would say no way!

Let’s talk about how to make desserts a tad bit healthier by including ingredients that can help to knock down your risk of heart disease.

For instance:

1. Adding more fiber by adding beans, YES, beans to your brownies!

2. Making your own no-bake cookies by using well researched heart risk lowering ingredients (oatmeal, chia & dark chocolate)

3. Don’t want to exert any effort in the kitchen? Okay, I got it, how about buying my favorite chocolate bar called Honey Mamas made with some of my favorite heart healthy ingredients?

BROWNIES:

Ingredients needed:

Box of brownie mix. I experimented with two different brands, Pillsbury GF and Bob’s Red Mill GF Brownie mix.

Can of S&W® Black Beans

1 cup of leftover coffee

Protein Collagen powder (I used Vital Proteins from Costco). The Collagen can be optional but I had some on hand and thought I’d try it. It will help to boost the protein content of the brownies-keeping your fuller for longer.

Coconut oil for the pan.

Follow the box instructions for heating your oven.

Open and rinse and drain the beans and then put them back in the can

Pour your leftover coffee in the can with the beans and fill to the top.

Pour the can of beans with coffee into your blender and add two scoops of the collagen.

Blend until pretty smooth. It will still be a bit chunky but you don’t want to see unblended beans floating around.

Pour the bean mixture over the brownie mix and stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Don’t add extra eggs, water or oil. Yes, I’m telling you to completely disregard the instructions on the box. Yes, this is an exercise in trust, ha-ha.

Follow the box baking instructions. You might end up pulling it out a minute or two early but I will let your play around with how baked you like your brownies. I pulled mine after I tested it with a knife and it came out “almost” clean.

NO-BAKE OATMEAL BITES

Ingredients needed:

I cup of almond butter

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup old fashioned oats

½ cup of chia seeds

2-3 tablespoons of raw honey or maple syrup/

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes which makes them easier to roll.

Roll into a tube and slice into “cookies”

Store in the fridge for about a week (mine never last longer than 48 hours if my hubby is home).

HONEY MAMA’S

I love Honey Mama's because these bars don’t taste "healthy": they are just delicious. They have a clean list of ingredients that make me feel as if I've eaten something good for me afterwards (and honestly, the ingredients are all pretty good for you: cacao powder, raw honey, unrefined coconut oil, sprouted almonds). All of the ingredients in the bars are superfoods, so they're all equally important. They contain very high-quality cacao/cocoa: Raw Peruvian Cacao in our Mayan Spice + Peruvian Raw bars, and cocoa from Agostoni in the rest of our bars.

As for the sugar: there are 7 grams of sugar in a serving size, so 21 grams if you ate a full bar. I personally have never eaten a full bar in one sitting: usually one piece (or one serving) is plenty for me, maybe two pieces on occasion. And of course there's no added refined sugar: all of the sugar in the bars comes from raw honey.

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