For the most part, I eat a fairly nutritious diet. And, when I’m “on” one of my programs where I remove sugar (I’m a well-known sugar addict, so many times throughout the year I eliminate it completely to break the addiction cycle), there are foods I absolutely could not ever, ever, ever live without.
Here’s the thing about me and my sugar addiction…I don’t ever remove sugar completely. I still eat fruit and milk sugars and figure naturally occurring sugars are a-ok, so when I talk about sugar elimination, I’m talking about added sugar and sugar substitutes.
But, even when I’m not overly concerned about added sugars, there are three foods I eat a lot of in my own diet and I couldn’t ever live without!
Honestly, without dates, I’m not sure where I’d be. I use dates in a lot of my “baking” to add a natural sweetener. People also use unsweetened applesauce or bananas, but me, I truly prefer dates as they are uber sweet and can be added to just about anything (once you make a date paste) to add that sweetness your cookies, brownies, muffins or any other baking product. They’re also delicious on their own.
You do, however, need to watch your portion size on dates because, like any sugar, they’re high in calories. You can’t grab a bowl full of dates and think it’s “okay” because they’re naturally occurring. That’s not the way it works. BUT, they’re my saving grace when I’m trying to break my chocolate/sugar/cookie habit. I can make a lot of “treats” with dates for times when I want a little sweet treat.
Not only do dates add to the sweetness factor in your treat, they’re also packed with vitamins, minerals, potassium, calcium, iron, fiber, zinc and magnesium. Consider dates to be a delicious ball of energy!
C’mon. You knew I’d have to go hear, right?! Now, I’m not talking about the sugar-filled peanut butter most of our children eat with a spoon, I’m talking peanut butter in its most natural form. Just peanuts. Made into a butter. Natural peanut butter.
Why my love affair with peanut butter? Again, for me, peanut butter can be added to a lot of recipes to add a bit of sweetness and can be used as an additional protein source. The key to peanut butter? Don’t overdo it. A little goes a long way. I’m talking 1-2 tablespoons, baby.
But, it’s also one of the main ingredients for my favorite snack.
Lindsay’s Greek Yogurt Dip
1 apple (cut into slices)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp hemp hearts
Cut your apple into slices. Then mix the remaining four ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Dip your apples in the yogurt dip and enjoy. Seriously…it’s the BEST mid-afternoon treat!
This food has nothing to do with adding sweetness and conquering my out-of-control sweet tooth and everything to do with eating a food that fills me up! Alright, so here are the nerdy facts:
- Quinoa is a protein-packed food complete with all 9 essential amino acids;
- Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains;
- Quinoa contains iron, lysine (hello tissue growth and repair for all you fitness buffs out there), magnesium, riboflavin and manganese.
- It’s delicious.
I add quinoa to almost everything. I add it to my salads, to chili, to ground meat mixes and I’ve even made the most delicious chocolate cake with quinoa.
I truly love quinoa because I KNOW it’s super healthy, I feel great eating it and it really does fill you up (hey there, protein).
If you haven’t tried quinoa…you neeeeeeeed to.
So, there you have it. The three foods are readily available and on hand in my house. If you ever come for a meal at my house, there’s a 100% chance that I will serve you one of these foods, if not all of them!
Yum, yum, yummy yum. Date