By Brenna O’Dea
Okay, in case you missed it, check out these protein packed ideas for how to get-your-egg-on before the Easter Bunny comes knockin.’ Now, let’s be honest. Nobody shows up for the Easter egg hunt actually searching for eggs. We want what’s inside those lil’ colorful cuties. CHOCOLATE. We want it. We want it NOW. Valentine’s Day is long gone, but don’t worry, Easter is a solid runner up in giving us excuses to indulge. If voraciously biting the head off an innocent little bunny with a bow in her hair isn’t your thing…good for you! You have a soul! Just kidding…Kind of. No matter your preferred form of chocolatey goodness, we’ve got some super delicious (semi healthy!) ideas to take your Easter up a notch.
I’m doin’ it again. I’m talkin’ about SUPERFOODS. But this time, there’s chocolate involved, so listen up. Back in the deep dark months of winter you may have heard about superfood hot chocolate. Most recipes out there, like this one from MindBodyGreen, are loaded with cinnamon, maca, turmeric, raw cacao, and lots of deliciousness. In case you are like me and see the ingredient maca popping up EVERYWHERE and keep scratching your head, I did the research for ya. Maca is a root veggie originally grown in Peru. Today, you probably see it in powdered form sprinkled on top of every foodie instrammer’s smoothie out there. Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and potential mood boosting and hormone balancing properties are just some of the benefits from this baby. But enough about veggies, let’s get back to the good stuff, the better stuff, CHOCOLATE. While hot cocoa season is finally in our rear view mirrors and spring has almost sprung, smoothie season is upon us! Blend up this chocolate superfood smoothie to start every day with somethin’ sweet, and most importantly, nutritious. Better yet, toss some fresh greens in there. I PROMISE you and your little smoothie slurpers will not taste them a bit.
Do you dream of magical lands where you can eat chocolate mousse EVERY SINGLE DAY instead of just on your birthday (and hopefully all your friends’ birthdays)?? Me too. And guess what, that magical land is real!! With a lil avocado, cocoa powder, and somethin’ to sweeten it and smooth it out, chocolate mousse will soon be one of your main food groups. Okay, we still don’t recommend replacing your morning oats with some morning mousse, but a few spoonfuls here and there should do the trick. Plop it on top of some fruit or yogurt for a dessert with so much sweetness and not too much sugar. If you’re feelin’ real crafty and can’t fight those cravings till later, stir some in to your morning smoothie to make it extra smooth and EXTRA tasty. And for these hot summer months that are finally in our sights, freeze the stuff. Whip up your batch of mousse (or a few) and pop a container in the freezer. You will have healthy ice cream at hand for any day when chocolate is calling your name (…probably everyday). Just grab a spoon and get to scoopin.’
For days when you don’t have the time or energy to put more than two ingredients together, chill. You’ve got this. There is a simple yet satisfying indulgence that we often forget about (or at least I do)! It’s a crazy thought, really. A combination so crazy it just might work: fruit+chocolate. That’s it. I can finally use the word “literally” and actually mean it literally. Make sure to keep fresh fruit on hand, especially as it starts to warm up and more choices become available locally at your farmer’s market. Keep a bag or two of your favorite chocolate chips or even your favorite chocolate bar in the cupboard and save it for days and nights when you need something quick to curb those cravings. Melt a lil’ bit of the good stuff (hopefully of the fair trade and high cacao percentage variety) and dip a few fresh strawberries right in there. Dunk some hunks of banana, drizzle it over some dark cherries. The majority of your sugar intake will still come from the fruit, but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. Plus, your little ones will love helping out on this one. They can be in charge of, well, basically everything. From stirring up the chocolate to doing the dipping all by themselves, and of course, the EATING. If you’re chopping up the fruit, you might want to take a lead with the knife skills, but then this sweet treat is as kid friendly as it gets.
DEVOUR IT…on occasion
Alright, it’s freakin’ Easter. Just eat the chocolate bunny. Better yet, split one with your little one. Show them that enjoying the occasional indulgence is actually, in itself, HEALTHY. Things get messy when we start tossing around terms like “guilty pleasure.” If you want a sweet treat after dinner and you’ve got room in the belly, GO FOR IT. Don’t waste your energy on guilt and all that nonsense. Just tune in to your tummy and your taste buds. Maybe one day you toss some chocolate chips into your trail mix, maybe the next day you snack on raw veggies. It’s all good. Teach your kids the importance of eating their veggies, and also, that it’s okay to have a treat now and again. And of course, not only should veggies always be on their plates and in their bellies, but they can actually TASTE GOOD. Eat your veggies and ENJOY THEM. Eat your chocolate and enjoy that too. It is Easter, after all. So bite into that bunny today, and make a veggie-filled meal tomorrow. I’ve never fully grasped that whole “have your cake and eat it too concept,” but I think it has something to do with this. Balance, baby. It’s key.
(Image by flickr member Anna Adams licensed under Creative Commons)