The realities of winter (and shockingly, Christmas) are already upon us, and the lead up to year-end can be a dangerous time; daily festive parties laden with temptation, overflowing with delicious drinks, delectable mince pies, all sorts of irresistible treats… it’s admittedly hard to stay on the straight and narrow. Regular readers of FitnessOnToast will know that I, like most normal red-blooded humans, have a proper sweet tooth – and therefore in an attempt to keep the cravings at bay (for me and hopefully you too), here’s a quick, easy and healthy and nutritious dessert treat; my ‘Banana & Dark Chocolate Snowy Bites’! For some of you, you’ll be happy to hear this also works really well with protein powder.
Healthy Winter Chocolate Treats
As with everything, moderation is key; you wouldn’t to eat three bananas in one sitting, so likewise, don’t eat all of these at once! The ingredients are organic but there’s still sugar, albeit natural. However, I’d like to think that because they are quite full in flavour and quite dense, you won’t want to eat them all in one go anyway! What’s in these little treats that’s so good?
1) PEANUT BUTTER
Often referred to as a ‘super sports food’ it’s a superb source of healthy fats (mainly Mono & Polyunsaturates) and has a good amount of protein (circa 2 tbps = 7 grams of protein). The combination of protein and fibre makes PB perfectly satiating. And to my mind, oh so delicious!
2) 90% DARK CHOCOLATE
Super-high in antioxidants (which work to combat the activity of free radicals in our bodies and aid cellular repair). Dark cocoa, being densely calorific, is also said to improve energy levels without the need for sugar, and thus help to boost focus and concentration. I aim for a minimum of 70% cocoa, but if you can tolerate it 100% cocoa is optimal, as it has an incredibly low amount of milk, fat and sugar. It takes some time to really enjoy it though, so perhaps stick with 85-90% for this recipe!
With their creamy, rich flavour, they’re perfect for this recipe, as they balance the bitter taste of chocolate with a source of natural sugar. They also contain that fabulous, natural mood-enhancer, Tryptophan, which helps to lift the spirits, compounded yet further by that yummy chocolate! Also, they’re a good source of vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber, and help to reduce swelling as well as promoting the production of white blood cells thanks to their high vitamin B6 content. Did I mention they go well with chocolate?
Next to chocolate, they’re my favourite A superfood containing mounds of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese, which supposedly increases heat production in certain fat cells (to maintain the liver and reduce risk of obesity by decreasing production of the fat-digesting enzyme Lipase in the pancreas – the body should absorb & digest less fat!). They’re also a source of very low GI sugars, meaning you get your sweet kick without the spike and crushing trough!
– 3 x organic ripe bananas
– 1 x Bar of Lindt 90% chocolate
– Below are 2 options for fillings;
/A jar of Organic crunchy/smooth peanut butter
Berries I opted for raspberries
– A bag of organic chopped dried coconut pieces / A bag of crushed hazelnuts (optional toppings)
1. Heat a saucepan on very low heat with hot water inside.
2. Pop a bowl on top.
3. Break the dark chocolate into small squares and pop them into the bowl.
4. Whilst your waiting chop the bananas into equally sized, relatively chunky slices.
5. Spread peanut butter or put some berries in-between two sandwiched banana slices.
6. Dip the sandwich in the chocolate and set aside to cool
7. (Optional) If you like, sprinkle some coconut or hazelnuts on top.
8. Finally leave these bad boys in the fridge for circa 30min
9. Devour responsibly!
PROTEIN POWDER: If you want to add some protein powder to this snack, add it to the melted chocolate mix before dipping the banana
PS. If you prefer without toppings they are pretty too (second picture from the top!)