DOES HEALTHY TAKE THE FUN OUT OF EASTER?06 Apr 2021, Posted by FYS News in
Can Easter exist without chocolate? And how on earth do I find a healthy angle about the heaps of chocolate laden Easter goodies?
A few years ago, I organised an Easter Egg hunt for children at the polo club where I kept my horses. I volunteered to make all the Easter Eggs. Was I crazy? Perhaps, but I wanted to see if making “healthier” Easter eggs would take away any of the fun. It ended up being the biggest event the club had ever held. The kids loved it, the parents were happy and the club was delighted. My poor blender was the only one who lost out. It never quite recovered and had to be “retired”.
So, what’s the trick to healthier Easter eggs?
I made a really simple blend of dates, nuts and a mix of cocoa powder and carob powder. They were like mini energy balls.
I didn’t follow a specific recipe, but the quantities were approximately:
- 100g nuts (I used mainly almonds and walnuts, but any will work)
- 200g dates (ideally Medjool as they are really juicy, if you use other types you might need to add a little water or oil to moisten the mixture)
- 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder or carob powder or a mix
- Blend everything together and roll into small balls.
- Leave them to set for a few hours in the fridge. You can also freeze them (which works well, as if you leave them in the fridge I can almost guarantee they will be eaten!).
Why are these “healthier” than traditional chocolate eggs?
- Cocoa powder is less processed than a chocolate bar means it is going to contain more of the flavanols which are where the real benefit in the chocolate lie.
- The sweetness comes from the whole date. It is still sugar but in a less refined form, so it still has fibres and other phytonutrients around it.
- By combining them with protein we avoid the sugar highs and lows (sometimes crashes) that are likely to come from high sugar content chocolate
Ideas and tips which will help achieve the same goal:
- Choose dark(er) chocolate. If you don’t like dark chocolate then try some of the hybrid blends of 40 to 60% cocoa or mix dark with milk chocolate (milk chocolate has a lot more processing and sugars added)
- Select the smaller, artisan brands. Every small, artisan brand owner I have spoken to pays high attention to the sourcing. This impacts not just the sustainability but also the amount of processing it goes through.
- Consider Carob. I remember about 15 years ago trying carob bars at a health food show in Earls Court. They were a bit like cardboard and not appealing!! But it is changing. In the Balearics where I live carobs are everywhere. I use carob powder in drinks, desserts, baking….anywhere that cacao or cocoa would be used. I love the flavour of it. It has a pretty impressive fibre and phytonutrient provision as well and is much lower in natural sugars. It is worth seeking out.
- Buy or eat your chocolate with things like ginger or berries that add to the phytonutrients content.
- Eat your chocolate with a small protein source such as some nuts or seeds
- Most importantly, ENJOY It when you do eat it!
For April, I am going to focus on simple tips to help “pimp” your favourite foods or meals. Simple ideas that help nudge us towards healthier options for our body and brain, without the compromise of missing out on our favourites or the guilt that we are eating “something we shouldn’t”.
In health and happiness