No matter how health-driven any of us are, we’re inevitably going to need something sweet every once in a while. But just because something’s sweet, doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. And yes, while all sugars are simple carbohydrates, not all sugars are created equal. Natural sugars are important “because they provide essential nutrients that keep the body healthy and help prevent disease,” according to an article from the Cancer Center.
The article goes on to explain that our bodies metabolize natural and refined sugar differently. “The body breaks down refined sugar rapidly, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket,” it explains. “Because refined sugar is digested quickly, you don’t feel full after you’re done eating, no matter how many calories you consumed. The fiber in fruit slows down metabolism, as fruit in the gut expands to make you feel full.
Not to mention the fact that foods containing natural sugars - such as dairy products and fruits - contain a lot of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that foods high in refined sugar do not.
So, yes, eat anything sugary in moderation, but remember it’s ok to eat the natural stuff. Below are a few of our favorite sweet treat recipes.
Healthy Dessert Medalions
These guys are so easy and good. All you do is melt some super dark chocolate (anything 70% cocoa or higher) and throw your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit on top for a totally decadent (and beautiful) dessert.
For the medallions above, we used
⅔ cup 70% cocoa chocolate chunks
Died red currants
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Melt the cocolate and drip onto a sheet of wax paper, forming 1-2 inch medallions. Then place your ingredients on top! Pop in the fridge for a half hour before serving.
These little treats are all the rage right now, and for good reason. The dates give the bite-sized treats a fudgy texture and provide the sweetness. They’re also totally customizable to any taste preference. The best part about them? Not only are they gluten-free, paleo and vegan, but they’re downright delicious, and squash even the strongest of sugar cravings The easiest intro recipe is as follow
1 cup pitted dates
⅔ cup nut of choice (we’re partial to walnuts, hazelnuts and pestachios)
⅓ cup raw cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
Just throw it all in a food processor and pulse until crumbly and slightly sticky. Then form into balls and refrigerate
Once you start playing around, you find that you can lessen the amount of nuts and replace them with seeds. We’re also into adding different dried fruits, unsweetened coconut flakes and even dark chocolate chips
Superfood Energy Bars
These bars are similar to the date balls in that the sweetness comes from dates, but they’re packed with amazing health foods and lack chocolate. These bars are perfect for packing in your work bag if you’re on the go during the day -- they make for an amazing and hunger-curbing snack when all you want is a candy bar or a processed energy bar.
1 ½ cups pitted dates
¼ cup almond butter
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup hazelnus
¼ cup walnuts
¼ hemp hearts
⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp matcha powder
1 tbsp spirulina
3 tbps cacao nibs