Halloween has rolled around again for another year but that doesn’t need to mean unhealthy sugar highs or falling off the healthy eating wagon.
I’ve got you sorted if you still want a treat that provides nourishment and uses up that pumpkin flesh which is just too delicious and nutritious to waste, so put it to good use.
This recipe not only uses pumpkin but another veg in there too!
It’s easy to make, uses simple ingredients and is great for making kids eat secret veg. It’s also vegan friendly and can be gluten free if using certified GF oats.
These secretly healthy slices are mostly made out of veg, including white beans and sweet potato and you can make these sugar free, not to mention the addition of some cinnamon and dark chocolate adds antioxidants that are a bonus on top of the fibre loaded veg!
Plus these are grain, soy, wheat, dairy & gluten free and don’t require any flour either.
This is a great one for sneaking veg and more nutritional goodness into fussy eaters, they’ll never know there’s beans in there and seeing the dark chocolate will make them think it’s a proper dessert!
I love sweet cinnamon flavours but feel free to adapt this one to your tastes such as if you like a ginger and dark choc combo then you can add ginger spice instead.
I’m not on a keto diet but I like to create recipes here for everyone and I’m aware there are some people who can’t have sugar and therefore need to adapt their way of eating, but that doesn’t have to mean you miss out on treats, just like with my low carb blueberry donuts
Sugar free baking?
I wanted to create a brownie recipe that was sugar free (and more tooth friendly), in order to do this I’ve used granular *Natvia which is a combination of natural non GMO erythritol & plant based stevia (I know the names sound scary but don’t let this throw you). These are some of the very few sweeteners that I use due to many others either not being well digested or having negative effects. If you don’t require a sugar free recipe you could also use coconut sugar.
*You can buy this granular mix online or in large Tesco stores.
As with nearly all my recipes I also like to sneak in some veg/fruit to make it more nutritious, plus I just love it when you’re having a “treat” and don’t even notice that it contains some sneaky veg/fruit. I’ve used avocado in this recipe which is a great source of healthy fats including potassium which people on the keto diet can be missing sometimes and can lead to the “keto flu” symptoms so this is quite beneficial and keeps the recipe really fudgey and moist.
Tip: Use a ripe avocado, it must be ripe or else it won’t blend well and you’ll get large chunks in the end product.
I normally prefer my brownies fresh from the oven and warm, however with this one, because it’s flourless, it’s nicer when it’s firmer once it’s cooled down fully, so I actually prefer eating them the next day. Whichever floats your boat is fine though.
No added sugar
Healthy fats & spices
Who doesn’t want some healthy, spiced, carrot cake pronuts (protein donuts)? I even have these for breakfast!
You can easily get pea protein in the shops/online the same goes for the donut moulds, I got mine on Amazon for just a couple of pounds so don’t be put off by this.
If you want to make good use of the donut mould then try my other donut recipe for blueberry lemon donuts
Secrets to staying on track
I love taking traditional recipes and making them healthy through using nourishing, wholefoods, meaning they’re crap free but still tasty, plus, I’m like a child who gets excited about dipping them in frosting, it makes me feel like I’m getting something fun.
Cooking recipes like this is one of my secrets to keeping me on track, which can be difficult for anyone with dietary restrictions. If I just eat the same stuff on repeat I’d feel like I was missing out and never getting the fun stuff that other people could indulge in like being able to buy baked goods from the shops etc so I cook food like this so that I can enjoy them too, all guilt free and without inducing stomach churning symptoms.
These are by far one of the best things I’ve made in ages, they’re little chocolatey, peanut butter stuffed bites of Heaven!
They make a nice post workout treat as they contain a good mix of antioxidants, protein & healthy fats, particularly if you choose high oleic peanut butter (explained more below).
Go on, treat yo self!
So delicious it’s unreal!
I combined peanut butter and pea protein together to create a “fudge” filling which compliments the dark chocolate perfectly, there’s no added sugar in the filling meaning depending on what percentage choc you choose you can make these quite low sugar or even sugar free by making and sweetening the chocolate yourself as I’ve done in the past.
Pea protein power
I’ve begun using fermented pea protein for better digestibility and nutrition. The brand I used here is Revolution foods which adds digestive herbs and electrolytes which are great for people who workout regularly, it also contains probiotics, adaptogens and piperine to help with nutrient absorption. They’re also completely free from contaminants as well as gluten, soy, dairy etc so very suitable for anyone who is allergen prone or just wants a really high quality protein.
Recipe (makes 6 cups)
-100g dark chocolate of choice
-2 heaped tsp coconut oil
-30g runny peanut butter (I like the high oleic kind)*
-20g pea protein (I used Revolution foods toffee fudge)
-1 to 2 Tbsp hot water, as needed
*Tip: try to use the runny top part of your nut butter and I recommend high oleic PB as it has more monounsaturated fats than regular PB which is more beneficial for you (UK brands include Manilife and Pip & nut).
*I also like to use a pinch of coarse salt in the chocolate which helps cut through the richness and really contrasts with the filling to accentuate the flavour
First make the filling by mixing together the PB, protein and water, start with 1 Tbsp water then add another if the mix looks too dry/crumbly, you want it to hold together when lightly pressed, shape 6 coins of filling using the palms of your hands, they should be slightly bigger than a two pound coin, set aside.
Next break the chocolate into small bits into a bowl, then add in the coconut oil and melt over a simmering pot of water, stirring frequently until melted
Spoon 1 Tbsp of chocolate into the bun cases, then add the filling then top with more chocolate until the mix is used up
Set into the fridge to firm up for approx 1 hour before devouring!
This indulgent creamy chocolate chia pudding with avocado which gives it more bulk and richness is the type of breakfast that will make you WANT to get out of bed for.
As the avo is blended into the chia pudding and topped with fresh fruit you get at least 2/5 a day plus a whole host of other goodness including fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C, good fats and a happy tummy afterwards.
This sneaky dish is also a good way to get some green stuff into little ones or any family members that say they don’t like avocado, top it with their favourite fruit and toppings then let them eat it first before telling them anything.
Years ago I never paid much attention to manuka honey because there wasn’t much known about it, however the research has really developed and we now know more about its benefits.
This honey comes from the manuka bush found only in New Zealand and some parts of Australia (one of the reasons it’s so expensive) and contains unique compounds, some are hydrogen peroxide based others are non peroxide based. One of the main reasons (but not only one, see below) why manuka is so antibacterial, is due to MGO (methylglyoxal), the higher the level of the MGO in the honey (indicated on the jar by the number/score) the more antibacterial it is. There is even medical grade manuka honey which is the strongest and is used in hospitals to treat infections that haven’t responded to other treatments. Manuka can also be scored by UMF (unique manuka factors) which include MGO and other compounds.
high strength manuka
I’ve started to use it myself to help treat my digestive issues and heal the gut as this antibacterial activity has been shown to reduce the number of bad bacteria linked to gut issues, whilst leaving the good bacteria intact. It also contains a type of prebiotic that encourages the growth of good gut microbes which make it a more gut friendly sweetener option compared to refined sugar, yes it does still impact blood sugar so don’t go mental but regarding gut health it’s a better option which is why not all types of sugar are the same in my opinion.
Furthermore, it can help coat the stomach and gut lining (which can already be compromised in people with gut issues) so that the gastric acids won’t be able to damage it as much and has been shown to reduce colonic inflammation.
Although it’s very early days, there’s even evidence that antibacterial compounds in high strength manuka can kill off bad gum bacteria that lead to gum disease such as gingivitis.
To maximise the benefits, try to use it raw, when heated, some of the compounds and the enzymes will be destroyed, but not all, it will still retain benefits as the MGO is more heat stable than other compounds.
If you simply can’t afford it then raw local honey from your region is also a good option especially for hayfever sufferers as the local pollen and microbes in it teach your immune system to tolerate local allergens and also has a degree of antibacterial activity.