I hear this comment so often… the couple of biscuits in the morning and the odd doughnut is a deserved ‘treat’. So, why do we see these sugary refined heart disease on a plate type of foods as our treats? Well, this could be because they taste so good. The delicious sweet sugar combined with satisfying fats is exactly what our bodies crave. This would be fine if we had to hunt and gather our food, burning lots of calories on the way and then having limited food to consume, but a car drive to the office with a pile of mouth watering chocolate biscuits waiting for us at our desk is not what we have evolved to deal with.
As a nutritionist myself, I too have this urge to eat sweet foods. Yes, I am normal too and I don’t just crave eating apples. I understand this desire to eat cake, biscuits and chocolate, but I also personally understand how this is effecting my body. I certainly don’t see sugary refined foods as a treat, but as something that although tastes good, is so refined that it will require nutrients to break down in my body, however without providing these nutrients. So, the vitamins and minerals from your healthy breakfast may be used up to an extent when you tuck into your mid morning biscuit snack. The B vitamins found in green vegetables and wholegrains for example are needed for your body to be able to process refined white sugar, and these B vitamins could have otherwise given you more energy which would be appreciated in the morning!
I have a better idea, why not have a delicious tasting treat which still contains the sweetness from natural unrefined ingredients (such as bananas and dried dates), the B vitamins and fibre found in wholegrains, healthy fats which are not damaged in the heating process such as coconut oil, and the added bonus of antioxidants from fruit. If a treat is healthy, it doesn’t have to be that ‘deserved treat’, you don’t have to justify why you are allowing it and it can be something you have on a normal daily routine, without having to worry about any negative effects on health. Having a delicious bite of something which tastes amazing and is actually adding to your health is what I call a treat. You are treating your taste buds, and at the same time you are treating your body.
One of my favourite quick easy treats is 85% dark chocolate with dried figs. Cocoa is full of antioxidants and iron, and figs contain an array of nutrients including vitamin K, calcium and magnesium – some of the most important vitamins and minerals for bone health!