Tag Archives: peanuts

Better-for-You Chocolate Holiday Treats

I love combining chocolate with dried fruit, or nuts, or both! My friends and family seem to like the idea, too.  They’re always so appreciative when I present them with these super simple, better-for-you treats, which make great holiday gifts.

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How to make healthier holiday treats

There’s no formal recipe for my healthier holiday treats. For each batch, melt 10 ounces of dark chocolate (I use dark chocolate chips)  in a double boiler. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Use a large glass bowl to make room for other ingredients.

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When the chocolate has melted, add 2 cups whole or chopped nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, or a combination directly to the double boiler, mix thoroughly, and drop by large tablespoons onto waxed paper.

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Top with festive sprinkles, if desired!

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My latest obsession is macadamia nuts, dried cranberries, and white chocolate. Yum!

www.betteristhenewperfect.com

I prepare several batches of treats with a variety of ingredients.

www.betteristhenewperfect.com

When I need to be mindful of nut allergy, I make the dried fruit treats first and package them up so that they don’t come into contact with nuts. These are a raisin and coconut combo:

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Dip the apricots halfway in the melted chocolate.

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Allow the treats to set for about 2 to 3 hours before packaging.

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Would it be better to forgo the chocolate and eat plain nuts and dried fruit? Yes, that would be perfect, but not nearly as much fun.  I think my friends and family would be disappointed, and so would I!

Happy holidays!

 

No-Diet Tips for Weight Loss

Just thinking about what to eat to lose weight can be overwhelming. You can stop thinking so hard!  These three delicious no-diet tips for weight loss will put you on track for easier weight control, and you won’t feel deprived.

Peanut butter smoothie bowl topped with fresh raspberries, bananas, and chopped peanuts.

Peanut Butter, Raspberry, and Oats Smoothie Bowl from Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During and After Pregnancy.

Eat breakfast

Breakfast is an opportunity to include the nutrients you need. The energy it provides helps to jump-start the body and brain after sleep.

I talk here about how studies suggest that eating the morning meal does not guarantee better weight control, and it may seem like I am contradicting myself by suggesting breakfast. However, the research about breakfast and weight loss is inconclusive.

You may skip breakfast because you’re not hungry in the morning. And, you’re not hungry in the morning because you ate too much before going to bed. Eating more regularly throughout the day, starting in the morning, may prevent overeating at night and may decrease your calorie intake overall.

Many people don’t like traditional “breakfast” foods. Not a problem. Any food eaten in the morning counts as breakfast.  Your A.M. meal just needs to be balanced and nutritious and include enough protein, found in foods such as dairy, eggs, and beans.

It’s OK to divide breakfast up into two smaller meals, too.

Switch to whole grains

I recently wrote about a study that showed swapping whole grains for the refined kind burns calories and boosts metabolism.  What a gift! You eat delicious whole grains, and you burn calories!

This No-Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Quick Bread is packed with whole grains and nuts. Get the recipe here.

It’s easy to make the change to whole grains.

Instead of white bread, have whole grain. Enjoy oatmeal for breakfast. Experiment with whole grains such as freekeh or farro. Munch on popcorn instead of chips.

Snack on Nuts

Studies show that nuts often have fewer calories than what’s on the label. That’s good reason to make them your snack of choice.

Research has found that whole roasted almonds have 25% fewer calories than what is listed on food labels; walnuts supply 21% fewer calories; and pistachios also contain fewer calories than what the label says.  It stands to reason the same goes for peanuts, too.

Skip the chips, cookies, and candy. Reach for delicious and nutritious nuts!

One ounce of nuts is an excellent substitution for the same amount of snack chips, pretzels, or crackers.  In addition to having fewer calories, nuts provide protein, heart-healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are powerful plant compounds that protect your cells.

Bottom line: No-diet loss tips for weight loss

Simple changes can help you to lose weight and keep it off.  Making a few small tweaks to your eating plan promotes eating satisfaction. In addition, eating more healthy foods provides the nutrients you need to support health.

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

Eating a more plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to give up dessert.  Indulge in this Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream.” It’s satisfying, heart-healthy, vegan, and it’s even gluten-free!

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Ripe bananas are the silent partner in this frozen delight, and they make it unnecessary to add sugary sweeteners.  Keep chunks of frozen banana in the freezer to use on a moment’s notice, or freeze chopped bananas for at least two hours before making this, or other recipes, such as smoothies.

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I use unsweetened cocoa powder in my “ice cream” because it’s the part of chocolate with the most health benefits, and none of the sugar.  You can also add cocoa powder to savory dishes, such as chili, to amp up flavor and nutrition.

Natural peanut butter is typically free of added sugar, and, along with chopped peanuts, contributes heart-healthy fat, an intense peanut flavor, and creaminess. Learn how to make homemade peanut butter from Sally Kuzemchak over at Real Mom Nutrition. (Hint: It’s easy!)

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Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

Makes 2 servings

2 medium ripe bananas, cut into chunks and frozen*

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (with no added sugar)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Place bananas in a large food processor. Add the peanut butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with peanuts. Serve immediately.

*Freeze for at least 2 hours.

Per serving:
252 calories; 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 132 milligrams sodium; 29 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 7 grams protein

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Better-for-You Chocolate Holiday Treats

I eat dark chocolate nearly every day, and especially during the holidays. Combining chocolate with fruit and nuts satisfies my cravings and improves nutrition. My friends and family seem to like the pairings, too.  They’re always so appreciative when I make these super simple, better-for-you treats as holiday gifts and for when I entertain.

fullsizeoutput_1e2c

How to make healthier holiday treats

There’s no formal recipe for my healthier holiday treats. For each batch, melt 10 ounces of dark chocolate (I use dark chocolate chips)  in a double boiler. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Use a large glass bowl to make room for the other ingredients.dsc_0460

When the chocolate has melted, add 2 cups whole or chopped nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, or a combination directly to the double boiler, mix thoroughly, and drop by large tablespoons onto waxed paper.

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Top with festive sprinkles, if desired! fullsizeoutput_a79

My latest obsession is macadamia nuts, dried cranberries, and white chocolate. Yum!

fullsizeoutput_1e21

I prepare several batches of treats with a variety of ingredients.dsc_0050

When I need to be mindful of nut allergy, I make the dried fruit treats first and package them up so that they don’t come into contact with nuts. These are a raisin and coconut combo:

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For the apricots or other whole fruit, dip them into the chocolate half way.

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Allow the treats to set for about 2 to 3 hours before packaging.

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Would it be better to forgo the chocolate and eat plain nuts and dried fruit? Yes, that would be perfect, but not nearly as much fun.  And I think my friends and family would be disappointed!

Happy holidays!

 

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