For even the most health-conscious people among us, the pangs of a sweet tooth or the craving for a salty snack can be a constant temptation lurking in background waiting to strike in our moments of weakness. These sudden cravings often sneak up on us when we're least expecting them, and if we don't have a grab-bag of healthy-treat recipes to call upon to sate them, it's easy to give in to the overwhelming temptation. Of course, then comes the inevitable guilt and the sudden realization that we've just set ourselves back on our health goals in exchange for a few moments of bliss. It’s time to get rid of that guilt once and for all. We can have our cake and eat it too. With these seven delicious recipes we’ve collected from fellow snack fiends, you can give in to those cravings without taking that brutal hit to your self-respect.
1 - Banana Ice-cream
If you're looking for a healthy vegan snack, this banana ice cream will hit all those pleasure centers. Peel and freeze one-and-a-half bananas per portion in a Ziploc bag for at least eight hours. When the bananas are completely frozen, blend them in a blender with two tablespoons of almond milk until smooth. The consistency will be similar to soft serve. Enjoy with crushed walnuts, cherries, vegan dark chocolate or for cookies and cream lovers, a couple crushed Oreo cookies.
2 - Chia Seed Yogurt Bowl
This incredible substitute for a fruit pie or ice-cream might become your go-to desert. Simply mix in a few scoops of chia seeds into a cup of unsweetened yogurt, and mix in your favorite fruit. Blueberries, peaches, raspberries and kiwi are all great choices, but any of your favorite fruit will be amazing. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours so that the seeds will soften to the perfect consistency to meet the needs of your craving.
3 - Banana Split with Cottage Cheese
For a quicker ice-cream fix, this recipe is simple and incredible. Start by splitting a banana length-wise and putting the halves in a bowl. Next, add three small scoops of low-fat cottage cheese. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top, and you've already got a delicious desert. Additional toppings are where you have room to explore. Some excellent choices are a small dab of natural apricot jelly, dark chocolate flakes, shredded coconut or fresh blueberries.
4 - Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats
Mince some shredded coconut and spoon it into bite-sized mounds on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Using a double boiler on low heat, melt your dark chocolate over water. 70-80 percent cocoa is perfect! Melt your chocolate with butter at a 4-to-1 ratio, stirring with a synthetic spatula. Using a spoon, cover your coconut mounds, then lightly sprinkle with sea-salt. Chill and enjoy! Add chopped dates to the coconut to enhance the sweetness!
5 - Home Made Trail Mix
Instead of the store-bought variety, make your own trail-mix to cut out the sugars and excess sodium. An excellent combination is banana chips, dried-apricot bits, dark chocolate chips, salt-free roasted pistachios and you favorite sugar-free cereal or pretzels. Other excellent healthy options include dried cranberries, Brazil nuts, or hemp, sunflower and sesame seeds. To really mix it up, throw in some edamame, wasabi peas, and dried ginger or dehydrated vegetables. There is no limit to what you can include, and you can even have different mixes to meet the needs of every cravings.
6 - Cucumber Chips
For a salty snack, try these cucumber chips. For the first version, think a cucumber-tequila shot sans the alcohol. Slice and salt your cucumber and sprinkle a bit of lime juice on top. For a Mediterranean twist, substitute lemon juice, lightly drizzle with honey and add some curds of goat cheese. Be careful, these are addictive! For a fun variation the kids will love, nix the juice and spread a bit of natural peanut butter on your slices and drizzle a bit of honey!
7 - Baked Cauliflower Paprika Bites
Forget spicy corn chips! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wash and chop a head of cauliflower into bite-sized bits. Dry them thoroughly, or else they'll steam! Toss them in a small bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt, garlic and chili powder and add a few teaspoons of paprika. You might have to experiment with the amounts to match the size of the cauliflower head. Bake them for 30 minutes on a cookie sheet and stir them halfway through.