When I decided to give up refined sugar for lent, it also made sense to really commit to ‘clean eating’ again – it would have felt a little like cheating (and been counter-productive for the waistline) to cut out sugar and spend every night binge-eating kettle chips (I think I dribbled a little at that mention of crisps…) And I must admit it did feel a little like I was committing to six weeks of going without any treats or moments of food-induced pleasure. And that’s bad, because filling my body with food that’s nutritious, healthy and bad-stuff-free should not feel like taking the enjoyment out of eating, but let’s face it, who ever looks forward to their afternoon banana, or reaches for a salad after a tough day at work.
However, I have found that there is a lot of pleasure to be had in several foods I can eat and really, really enjoy, and also know they are doing good for my body. If you’ve seen any of my health and fitness updates where I’ve listed what I’ve eaten for the week you will note that I’m a bit of a creature of habit, and that I rarely go without a daily ‘treat’ – this time in the form of a yummy protein shake, a delicious smoothie, a Nakd or Trek bar or trying out a new recipe – like a healthy cheesecake or making ‘raw’ chocolate.
Protein shakes are a bit of a morning habit – they are low calorie (I have mine with Whole Bean Soy Milk), high protein and and low in carbs and fat so they’re a good morning choice for me. A protein shake in the morning blended with a banana, peanut butter and flaxseed keeps me full until lunchtime and is blimmin’ tasty too. I buy MyProtein Whey Protein which is great quality, good value and has some amazing flavours. I’ve previously bought their Choc Nut, Cookies and Cream and Toffee flavours but I was also kindly sent samples of vanilla and chocolate from ProBikeKit and I loved them too, as well as their NutriGreens which is also great. I am a bit of an experimenter with their flavours and will probably try Chocolate Mint or Strawberry Cream next but I can fully vouch for the fact that their normal flavours are amazing too! They really do feel like a real treat, having toffee and soy milk on it’s own is just like a tasty milkshake. Yum.
As I mentioned, one of my favourite flavours is peanut butter, banana and protein powder – adding frozen banana gives it a real thickness and an almost ‘ice cream milkshake’ consistency – yum. Most supermarkets these days stock peanut butter or other nut butters without any added ingredients too so it’s easy to grab ingredients for some yummy and healthy shakes.
I mentioned that one of my other treats (usually my 3pm treat) is a Nakd bar or a Trek bar. Nakd bars are made of raw fruits and nuts and come in delicious flavours like Cocoa Mint and Gingerbread (some flavours have cocoa or natural flavours in them but they are always 100% natural ingredients and gluten, wheat and dairy free). They are usually sold for about 80p each in supermarkets but Natural Balance Foods sell boxes of 18 for £11.99 with free delivery, making them a bit cheaper to buy in bulk. I bought a box of the cocoa flavours and a box of Trek bars from their website this week and have been happily munching through them! The Trek bars are also all natural and have lots of protein packed in, they are mainly made of oats and nuts and are also really tasty.
Natural Balance Foods kindly sent me some Nakd Bits to try out, which are AMAZING! They are tiny little bites of yumminess in some of their most popular flavours. They are packaged in a nice big bag too so it sort of feels like a substitute for a bag of sweets! I reckon they’d be a great treat for the cinema or film night.
Last night I decided I fancied doing some cooking/baking and I was really missing making desserts, so I decided to give Nic’s Nutrition Healthy Cheesecake a whirl. I substituted honey for Sweet Freedom and added MyProtein toffee protein powder to make it into a toffee cheesecake! The smell of the coconut oil, syrup and oats emanating through the house was amazing and when it came out of the oven I think my mouth was actually watering! In the recipe it’s served with fruit but for once I didn’t have any raspberries or blueberries in so I just served it ‘as is’ and it was so, so yummy! The photos do not do it justice, it had a delicious layer of creamy, cheesy, toffee-y deliciousness…
So there you have it, lots of treats for people who still like sweet things but might be ‘clean eating’ or giving up sugar for lent. What’s your favourite healthy snack?