When it comes to treats, they can do one of two things to the body:
- make us feel great for a short period, and then brutal for a long period (guilt, regret, shame, discomfort anyone?)
- make us feel great for a short period, and then super awesome that we made a great choice AND still got to indulge
Which do you prefer?
I'm much more of an Option B gal, myself. I've found - and I know this is the case for many of the ladies I work with - that once you get on the clean-eating train, dessert can often feel like a set back. It can feel like you've entirely derailed your efforts and that you might as well immediately dive head-first into the Ben and Jerry's.
It's a funny thing, hey? We give ourselves so little credit for what goes well, and then tons and tons of blame for the things that don't go so well. There is always going to be temptation to divert from your clean eating habits, but that's why we do this! We create a foundation of great foods most of the time so that we can afford ourselves little treats every once in awhile. Please know that a little trip down memory lane - to the cookie or the pie or the whatever it is of your past - is not the end of the world. It's an opportunity to identify which choices go too far (is this a treat I can handle or is this going to start a downward spiral?) and an opportunity to decide what is working best for your body today. It's not a cause for guilt or, worse, shame-eating. Okay? Forgiveness. Please. :)
A great way around this that both supports your healthy living goals AND allows you some indulgence is to find whole food substitutes for commercially packaged (or traditionally prepared) treats. That way, we can have our cake... and not feel horrible, too.
One of my favorite clean-eating dessert options is chia pudding. It's all the rage! ;) Have you tried it before? It's super simple to make: two ingredients in its simplest form, and a few more if you want to get fancy. It's tremendously low effort (measure, stir, wait) and creates a treat experience quite similar to ice cream or rice pudding, especially if you eat it chilled.
As an added bonus, chia seeds are uber nutritious. They're packed with protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and a variety of saturated and unsaturated plant-based fats. They are great for digestion (as you'll see when you make this, they're sponges for water... this means that the presence of chia in your digestive tract will pull water into the system, making for more regular elimination! YUM! Back to dessert...)
This recipe contains just four ingredients, and none of the added sugar, gelatin, preservative or thickeners usually found in processed puddings or desserts.
Blending the chia with your milk of choice (I like coconut, almond or hemp) and letting it sit will allow those little seeds to pick up the liquid and expand... and as they do, they form a gelatinous goo that is simultaneously kind of gross and really yummy. If you've experience rice pudding, you know what I mean. It's a little creepy, and then it's delightful. Chia pudding is the same way.
You can encourage your pudding to gel in one of three ways:
- vigorously mixing the chia with the milk for 3-5 minutes until it sets,
- combining the ingredients in container with a tight-fitting lid and shaking vigorously for 3-5 minutes until it sets, or
- preparing it the night before and allowing it to set in a glass or ceramic bowl (preferably with a lid) overnight
The best part? It's so highly nutritious and fortifying, it can also be breakfast. Bonus.
So please. Forgive yourself when you feel like you'd like a treat. You haven't failed! You are awesome. Invite yourself to make the best choice for you that you can, and dig in!
Love what you're reading? Grab 9 more simple weeknight meal ideas in the Eat Deliciously, Live Vibrantly eCookbook.
- 1/2 cup chia seeds (any color)
- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or hemp)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- cinnamon for sprinkling
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir vigorously for 3-5 minutes until it sets.
- Or, combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and stir to combine. Cover and set in the fridge overnight.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve chilled.
- Feel free to omit the coconut milk and use an extra 1/2 cup of almond milk.
- Store in the fridge.