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Healthy Treats – The What, Why, Who & How Many

A trend in healthy eating that is gaining momentum right now, is free from refined sugars desserts and treats recipes such as, protein pancakes, black bean brownies and other common desserts that are substituting refined ingredients for natural alternatives.

Healthy Snacks
Why have these recipes come about?
As alternatives to using refined white sugar. This is because white sugar has been stripped of any nutritional value and when eaten excessively has been linked to many conditions contributing to poor health and body shape.

What are these recipes doing well?
They’re using whole foods with much higher nutritional value like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, fruit, and dates; even cane sugar is a step in the right direction.

What aren’t these recipes considering?
Who is eating them, how often and why. Whole food, sweet alternatives are still commonly simple sugars regardless of if they are organic whole foods or not. They have a very fast absorption rate and
if the body has an excessive amount of them to absorb to quickly, or more than it needs to replenish energy stores, then a lot of the sugar will be stored as fat.

The question on everyones lips…. Should I eat them?

It depends.

If your goal is to have reasonably good health, move well, with a relatively lean body shape then Yes eat them in moderation as part of a well balanced approach to healthy eating. You can probably eat one of these treats a day (standard serving i.e. a slice of cake not a whole cake) and lead a relatively healthy life.

However if your goal is centred around accelerated changes in performance and/or body shape, maintenance of elite performance and body aesthetics or managing a pre existing health challenge, then eating treats (healthy ingredients or not) isn’t a good option. If a treat is needed, then 1-2 times a week in a post workout window (1-2hours after exercise or activity) is probably the best option.

Top tips

  • Limit your intake relevant to your goals,
  • Experiment with recipes by reducing the amount of sweet tooth simple sugars and/or increasing the fat within the recipe (or eat accompanying fat food like nuts).
  • Save eating high sugar foods for the post physical activity window.
  • Experiment with alternatives treats that aren’t going to add to your waistline i.e. a massage, a new book or dvd etc.

Finally remember strive for awesome, rather than perfection . Enjoying occasional healthy treats (even unhealthy treats) guilt free is certainly part of a healthy approach to health and fitness. As always it’s about finding a balance that works for you, your life and your goals.

finding balance
Live Healthy,

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