Sweet Treats That Sneakily Pack Some Nutrients And Minerals. (Shh. Don’t Tell Your Kids.)

Have you checked out your child’s Halloween stash yet? Spinach Ice Cream coneAre you in the dole it out slowly camp, or do you let them feast and get it over with? Here’s another idea, chop up chocolate based candy bars (Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, etc) and add them to cookie batter or brownies instead of chocolate chips.

Or maybe we want to take another look at sweets.

Last week, I shared a blog post about a common health issue: Magnesium deficiency. Millions of Americans are running low on Magnesium, which can lead to fatigue, anxiety and more.

One of the best ways to get more Magnesium? Leafy greens, nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds. While writing last week’s article, one thing lead to another and I found myself Googling to find pumpkin seed recipes, like this scrumptious pumpkin seed brittle recipe from Martha Stewart.

That got me thinking… I bet a lot of people would love to read a list of sweet Halloween and Winter Holiday treats that sneakily pack in some nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
So this week, that’s what I’ve whipped up for you:

Five sweet and simple recipes.

Physician-approved. Mom-approved. Kid… hopefully approved!

I’ll test these out with my son Grant soon to find out for sure. He’s not a fan of dark chocolate and the green ice cream might get rejected. But I’m predicting these treats will earn an enthusiastic thumbs up! Especially if he doesn’t “know” that they’re slightly healthified.

Coconut whipped cream
(Recipe via: Minimalist Baker)

Just two ingredients: real coconut cream and sugar. It whips up into a fluffy, creamy bowl of deliciousness that you can spoon into a piecrust, dollop on top of fruit, or eat directly from the bowl. I know that Grant enjoys squirting whipped cream directly from the metal canister into his mouth, so hopefully this will provide a slightly more nutritious alternative!

Why it’s nutritious: Coconut cream contains healthy fatty acids that boost your immune system, your brainpower, and memory. Just make sure you choose a brand of coconut cream that’s pure coconut, no added ingredients or preservatives.

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
(Recipe via: Sprouted Kitchen)

Just six ingredients: dark chocolate, almond butter, honey, a smidge of powdered sugar, vanilla, and sea salt. These are like a grown up, sophisticated version of Reese’s Peanut Cups. Will Grant be able to tell the difference? Time will tell!

Why it’s nutritious: Almonds are packed with Vitamin E, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium and can help to fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Dark chocolate contains cancer-fighting antioxidants and many other health benefits, too. One research team found that dark chocolate boosts blood flow to the brain which can help you feel smarter and more alert. I could go on, but honestly, do we need any more compelling reasons to eat chocolate? I didn’t think so.

Salted Caramel Cookie Dough Smoothie
(Recipe via: Greatist)

Just 5 ingredients: a handful of frozen bananas, rolled oats, dates, vanilla almond milk and ice cubes (or, even better, ice cubes made from frozen almond milk). Blend until thick and frothy. It tastes like cake batter and the dates give it a caramelized flavor. You could freeze this smoothie into popsicles, too!

Why it’s nutritious: Bananas are your BFF. They reduce inflammation, protect against type II diabetes, and give you a big boost of Vitamin B6 and Potassium, too. Weird fact: if you’re trying to quit smoking, bananas may soothe the effects of withdrawal. Almonds and dates are both great for you, too. (After all, anything that grows directly out of the earth = a good choice!)

Spinach Ice Cream Cones
(Recipe via: Chocolate & Carrots)

Just 5 main ingredients: milk, vanilla, spinach, bananas, and organic ice cream cones. Plus a few dabs of decorative icing if you want to make “monster eyeballs” for these cones and serve them at a next year’s Halloween party. These are just too adorable for words. Check out the photos!

Why it’s nutritious: We’ve already discussed the awesomeness of bananas. Spinach is a powerhouse food, too: packed with Iron, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Calcium, Potassium, dietary fiber, and all kinds of other goodies that give your body a huge burst of energy. Popeye the Sailor Man would approve of these green ice cream cones.

Magic Maple Candy
(Recipe via: Care2)

Just 1 ingredient: Maple syrup! You’ll also need a candy thermometer, a saucepan, and candy molds if you want to make fun shapes.

Why it’s nutritious: Maple syrup gets a bad rap for being high in sugar and calories (which it is), but real maple syrup is also full of good stuff like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc. Maple syrup is definitely no substitute for a leafy green salad (ha!) but it’s definitely more nutritious than plain white sugar or a processed candy bar packed with tons of preservatives.

I hope these recipes have inspired you to whip up a few new treats for the holidays, even if you’re not exactly a culinary virtuoso, and even if you are seriously pressed for time… a dilemma I completely understand! Some days, tossing a few frozen banana chunks into the blender feels like an achievement worthy of my own Food Network TV special. Maybe you can relate.

If you want to go really sugar-free, but still delicious, check out Swerve, a mix of erythritol and chicory root that measures like sugar. I found out about it through Maria Emmerich and her Art of Healthy Eating cookbooks. She’s got low-carb, sugar-free and delicious recipes for kid and adult friendly desserts.

Have fun and eat well, friends.

Happy holidays from my home to yours!

~ Dr. Sue