Tag Archives: coconut

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

Here is a really simple snack to make if you need a fix for your sweet tooth. Bonus is it includes bananas, which are a great source of both potassium and magnesium. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs. Enjoy life semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large banana
  • Topping of choice (I used unsweetened coconut flakes and sprinkles)

Directions: 

  1. Slice up one banana and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl melt together your chocolate chips and coconut oil.
  3. Immediately dip the bottom of your banana slice into the chocolate and place, chocolate side up on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with topping of choice.
  4. Repeat until all your slices are covered.
  5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings 

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The Benefits of Coconut

Why is Coconut so Good for me? 

It’s no secret if you read my blog on the regular that I love coconut. I add it to just about any recipe I can and absolutely love the taste (and the health benefits) of it! I didn’t always have these feelings for coconut though. When I was younger I always thought that coconut was bad for me. It was high in fat, always found in desserts, and coated with sugar. It just couldn’t be good. I avoided it like the plague, and even convinced myself that I didn’t like it, just so I would never have to have the fat-loaded sugar bomb that was coconut.

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Now that has all changed. Thanks to recent research we are learning just how good coconut is for us. In fact, there are even countries who consume coconut as a staple of their diet, and are some of the healthiest countries out there. So here are just a few of the major benefits of coconut. I’m even going to share how I like to enjoy it best, plus all of your options for adding this delicious and healthy food into your diet.

Coconut is high in saturated fat, which in the 90’s would be seen as a terrible thing, but now we know better. The main saturated fat in coconut is lauric acid. This type of fat actually helps to boost our HDL levels (the good cholesterol). Separate from this good news, coconut contains mostly medium chain fatty acids. These are known to help improve cholesterol and improve heart health.

Coconut is also 100% trans fat free. In addition to the heart healthy benefits of the fat in coconut, the high fat levels also help keep us fuller longer. Plus thanks to how our bodies digest and metabolize coconut, it naturally reduces our appetite, meaning we stay satiated long after our meal.  Additionally the fat helps our bodies absorb other vitamins and minerals, improving overall health.

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Coconut is naturally high in electrolytes including potassium, magnesium, and calcium. I consider coconut water Nature’s Gatorade, as it is a great way to balance and replenish electrolytes after a workout.

Coconut is high in fiber, particularly, insoluble fiber. This means that our bodies don’t digest the fiber when we consume it. This way, our blood sugar levels do not raise and we technically do not absorb the calories from the fiber.

Good news for diabetics, coconut is low on the glycemic index and actually slows down the release of glucose in our bodies. In addition it is used for instant energy when we consume it and doesn’t get stored in the body.

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Coconut helps to ward off viruses and infections as it improves your immune system and has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also acts as an antioxidant and is great for skin and hair too!

If that’s not enough to convince you, coconut can also help to improve brain function thanks to the fatty acids that produce extra ketone bodies in our blood streams.

Now that you know all these facts, how are you going to incorporate coconut in your diet? Here are some of my favorite ways:

  • Cook with coconut oil. Always go with unrefined. I love to roast vegetables in coconut oil, cook my eggs with it, use it in stir-fries, and toss sweet potatoes in coconut oil and cinnamon
  • Drink coconut water after your workout, mix it in a smoothie, or drink it outside on a particularly hot day. Steer clear of the juice flavored coconut waters as these tend to be higher in sugar.
  • Top sweet potatoes, apple slices, or desserts with coconut butter, also called coconut manna. This is a great swap for almond butter, which is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Use coconut milk in coffee, smoothies, or make a pudding or “yogurt” out of it. Coconut milk is a great non-dairy replacement for so many options. Make sure you are buying canned or fresh coconut milk though, and avoid any added ingredients.
  • Bake with coconut flour. I use coconut flour in many of my recipes. It is a denser flour that absorbs a lot of liquid so definitely use less than you would normal flour.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy coconut? 

Super Food Macaroon Bars

Back to School Time is upon us! That means some extra, easily packable recipes from me. These bars make the perfect granola bar replacement and they are packed with super-foods and 100% gluten free. They would work great in your child’s lunchbox or as your own sweet treat! They are also packed full of my absolute favorite food: coconut!  They are no bake and take minutes to make. You can even get the kids involved. Hope you enjoy them!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1-cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1 tbs. maca powder
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ cup goji berries
  • ¼ cup carob chips or cacao nibs

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the coconut, maca powder, sea salt, and almond meal until combined.
  2. Next add in the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and coconut oil, stirring well to combine.
  3. Lastly add in the goji berries and carob chips.
  4. If the mixture is not sticking well together add in another tablespoon of maple syrup.
  5. Press the mixture into a 6X6 container, cover, and freeze overnight.
  6. Slice into bars and store in the freezer.

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Raw Chocolate Macaroons (Gluten Free, Paleo, and Vegan)

It’s no secret I have a serious love of chocolate. Unfortunately a lot of my prior favorite chocolate treats are loaded with a combination of chocolate and sugar. Instead I try to find the purest, best chocolatey foods I can find, and limit the sugar. If I can’t find them, I make my own and this recipe is no exception. The sugar comes from pure maple syrup, and while it is still sugar, it is a far more natural form than white table sugar. These macaroons remind me of my favorites from Hail Merry. They are easy to make and require absolutely no baking. I’ve even provided you with a bunch of versions just in case you’re not as big of a chocolate fan as me. Enjoy!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ c pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond meal 
  • 2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa (or cacao) powder
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Directions: 

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the shredded coconut, almond meal, cocoa powder, and sea salt, mixing well. 
  2. Slowly add in the maple syrup, mixing well to combine.
  3. Add in the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Form the mixture into small rounded tablespoon-sized macaroons.
  5. Place on greased parchment paper and freeze until set (about 2 hours or so).
  6. Store in the freezer or refrigerator

Makes 9 macaroons

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Vanilla Bean Macaroons 

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ c pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • The beans from ½ of a vanilla bean
  • Sprinkle of sea salt

Directions: 

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the shredded coconut, almond meal, vanilla beans, and sea salt, mixing well.
  2. Slowly add in the maple syrup, mixing well to combine.
  3. Add in the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Form the mixture into small rounded tablespoon-sized macaroons.
  5. Place on greased parchment paper and freeze until set (about 2 hours or so).
  6. Store in the freezer or refrigerator

Makes 9 macaroons

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Cinnamon Cacao Nib Macaroons

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 2 tbs. cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Directions: 

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the shredded coconut, coconut flakes, almond meal, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and sea salt, mixing well.
  2. Slowly add in the maple syrup, mixing well to combine.
  3. Add in the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Form the mixture into small rounded tablespoon-sized macaroons.
  5. Place on greased parchment paper and freeze until set (about 2 hours or so).
  6. Store in the freezer or refrigerator

Makes 9 macaroons

What’s your favorite chocolate (or vanilla) treat? 

P.S. Check out my latest post on Mind, Body, Green. It’s a fun slideshow of the 5 Foods You Should Eat for Great Health and How to Enjoy Them. Read more here.

Sweet & Cool Summertime Treats

Happy July 4th! Today is one of my favorite holidays. I am so excited to celebrate but I wanted to pop in and share with you some of my favorite summertime treats. They’re all cold, refreshing, easy-to-make, and perfect for summertime!

Enjoy!

SummertimeTreats

Creamy Choco-Cado Pudding 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 small avocados 
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup canned light coconut milk
  • 2 tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. In a food processor blend all of your ingredients on high speed until blended completely. 
  2. Let chill and enjoy.

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Coconut Chia Cream

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup light coconut milk (canned) 
  • 4 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. sweetener of choice (maple syrup or honey work best)

Directions: 

  1. Combine the coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla, and sweetener in a bowl. 
  2. Stir well to combine.
  3. Refrigerate overnight and serve as a creamy dip for fresh berries.

Tropical Pineapple Coconut Popsicles 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups Tropical Zico Coconut Water (or any flavor coconut water) 
  • 1 cup diced pineapple

Directions: 

  1. In a blender puree your pineapple and 2 cups coconut water until blended.
  2. Pour into popsicle containers and freeze.

Makes 4 popsicles

What’s your favorite summertime treat? 

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