Good news: it is possible to treat yourself without wrecking your diet. It’s all in the approach.
Make the most of your guilty pleasures by incorporating as many nutrients as you can. If your sweet tooth is acting up, try brownies with fiber- and protein-rich black beans or vitamin- and mineral-packed avocados, for example. Simple changes like that can be good for your health while satisfying your cravings.
“Eat to fuel your body,” said Baylee Leonhardt, registered dietician at OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals. “Treat it like you would a car -- you have to put gas in it for it to go, so just keep in mind what foods you’re eating."
If you can’t resist digging into a dish that’s void of nutrients, try eating half and then munch on some fiber-rich veggies if you’re still hungry to help you feel full, Leonhardt recommended. If that doesn’t do the trick, be sure to ask yourself if you’re truly hungry (intuitive eating) or if you want the remaining half because it’s there in front of you.
“We all have indulgences and things that we crave," Leonhardt said. "Just keep in mind the overall picture; look at your overall day. Are you trying to eat small, frequent meals? Are you trying to drink more water?
"Keep the big picture in mind and don't hone in so much on just one thing.”
If you're looking for a sweet treat that won't ruin your healthy diet, try this recipe for healthy avocado brownies by Susan Vander Maas, owner of Doc's Deli.
- 1 large avocado
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup blanched almond flour (cashew or hazelnut flour works too)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place avocado, eggs, vanilla, coconut sugar, and butter or coconut oil in food processor.
- Process until it’s completely creamed together.
- Add the almond flour (cashew or hazelnut flour), cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt to the food processor.
- Process until completely combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Line a square 9×9 inch or 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper. If you’re using an 8×8 inch pan, you’ll get thicker brownies and may just have to bake them for about 5 more minutes.
- Pour the batter into the pan and spread it out evenly.
- Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips and bake for 17 – 20 minutes until the top is set and it bounces back when you gently touch it with your finger.