What do you think of when you hear ‘Valentine’s Day’? Chances are thatcandy, chocolate and sugar were among the thoughts that popped into your head somewhere in between love, hearts and flowers. It’s inevitable that we’re likely to enjoy and indulge in some form of sweet treats tomorrow, and that’s OK.
With that in mind we wanted to share some healthieralternatives to some popular dessert we found from online blogs and web-pages. We hope reading these recipes will help provide some insight into how to make healthier choices and substitutions when baking for you
and those you love today and anytime in the future.
Here are some of our favorite finds:
What makes these cookies somewhat healthier? It’s the added protein and fiber from the addition of lentil flour. Yes, these are still cookies with sugar and butter, so please be mindful NOT to overindulge, but they do pack a bit more nutrition than most cookies on the market, making them slightly less of a guilty pleasure.
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup lentil flour (mixes best at room temperature, not cold)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup butter, softened (note ? the 1 cup of butter is a lot, but among the serving size (approx.60 cookies) it amounts to only about 15 calories of butter per cookie)
- 3/4 cup pure cane sugar (or 1/4 cup Stevia)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 3/4 cups chocolate chips (you can change this up and add peanut butter chips if you like!)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine flours, salt and baking soda in a small bowl.
- Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy.
- Add eggs and syrup, beating well.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture.
- Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake 9 ? 11 minutes or until brown.
Ingredients (pancake or cupcake batter):
- 1 cup oats
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 steamed beet
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- a squeeze of lemon
- honey (only if more sweetness is desired)
Ingredients (cream cheese frosting):
- 4 oz of 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese
- 1 tbsp of nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp of honey
- drops of natural beet juice to desired color of pink (optional)
- dash of psyllium husk to thicken (optional)
- Wash and chop off the head and tail of fresh beats.
- Place into small bowl filled with a couple Tbsp of water. Cover with saran wrap and microwave for about 5 minutes, or until soft enough to puree.
- Place the beet in a blender, squeeze some lemon (to preserve radiant red color) and puree until soft. If you’re having difficulty mixing add a bit of water.
- Add all remaining ingredients into the blender and mix into the beet puree.
- Add mixture into lined cupcake tray.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until firm and non-sticky.
- Spoon your frosting into a ziploc bag, cut a small hole at the end of a corner (this creates a piping bag for decorating your cupcakes).
- Using the same batter, spray your griddle with cooking oil, then pour the batter to create the desired size pancake you wish to make. Flip when needed.
- Drizzle with cream cheese frosting and serve with fresh berries.
What makes these mini apple pies healthier? Using egg-roll wrappers in place of a pastry crust saves major calories!
- 2 tbsp. pure cane sugar or Stevia
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, or more for optional topping
- 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 3 cups peeled and chopped apples (preferably Fuji)
- 6 large square egg roll wrappers (found in the ethnic (Asian) refrigerated section of the supermarket)
- 1 tbsp. melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium nonstick pot on the stove, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt with 1/2 cup cold water. Mix until ingredients dissolve. Add apples and stir. Bring to medium-high heat and, stirring frequently, cook until apples have softened, 7 – 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and, stirring often, cook until thick and gooey, 1 – 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. This is your pie filling.
- Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with foil and/or spraying it with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Place two egg roll wrappers flat on a dry surface. Set out a small dish of water. Dip your finger into the water, and run it along all of the wrapper edges. (Repeat as needed while preparing your pockets, as it will help seal them.) Starting 1/2 inch from the bottom, place about 1/3 cup pie filling along the bottom half of each wrapper, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the sides. Fold the top half of each wrapper over the filling, so that the top edge meets the bottom and the filling is encased with a border on three sides. Dab each border with water, and fold each inward about 1/4 inch to lightly seal. Press firmly along the borders with the prongs of a fork to seal completely.
- Carefully transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat this process with remaining wrappers and filling, for a total of six mini apple pies.
- Lightly brush the top of each pie with butter. Bake in the oven until edges begin to brown, 15 – 18 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Top with additional cinnamon topping.
It’s true, you can make delicious brownies without using any flour! In this recipe, black beans replace flour creating a healthier, protein-rich, moist chocolate treat!
- 1 (15 1/2 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. cocoa powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 c. pure cane sugar or Stevia
- 1/2 c. applesauce
- 1/2 c. chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly grease an 8 x 8 in. square baking dish.
- Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and applesauce in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
- Bake for about 30-45 minutes until edges start to peel away from the sides of the pan.
What changes or substitutions would you make to make these recipes even HEALTHIER? We’d love to hear your feedback!
Note: If you are looking for less sugar grams then we would suggest baking with Stevia. But keep in mind that Stevia products are extremely sweet so you would use a lot less than what the recipe calls for. If you choose to use pure cane sugar (sugar in it’s most natural form), just remember that it is going towards your total added sugar for the day. It is recommended to keep that amount to less than 25 grams (total) in a day, which averages 6 tsps.
Cheers to a Healthy & Happy Valentine’s Day full of sweet love!