Chocolate Avocado Peanut Butter Pudding

Im always looking for healthier alternatives to dessert, and this one takes the cake! It not only tastes great, its rich in omega 3’s, has no refined sugar, and offers a healthy dose of protein. It is extremely easy to prepare and only takes six ingredients that you likely have in your pantry right now!

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Cocoa powder is derived from the cocoa bean which has numerous health benefits. Among the many benefits, cocoa is rich in antioxidants and can also help to reduce blood pressure by stimulating the production of nitric oxide which helps to keep blood vessels relaxed and maintain their elasticity (Source).

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Simply add avocado, banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter, honey and almond milk to food processor. Blend until smooth.

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Portion out into ramekins or individual containers, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Avocado Peanut Butter Pudding
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1½ ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup honey or agave (or more depending on desired sweetness)
  • *May need to add additional almond milk to thin out the texture
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in the food processor until smooth.

 

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Food Cravings and How to Beat Them

Food cravings. We have likely all had some type of craving at some point, and for some its a daily battle. One of the more common questions I have been asked as a dietitian is how to beat cravings or how to manage them. There is not a quick and easy answer because cravings themselves are pretty complex. Cravings result from certain brain chemicals, like dopamine (the feel good hormone), being released when you eat certain foods. As a result, your brain continually seeks this “feel good” reaction, thus craving that food that stimulated dopamine release in the first place.

One of the most important things to think about when you are trying to “beat” or “fix” a craving is to identify where the craving is coming from or the cause of the craving. In identifying the cause of the craving, you can then “treat” it appropriately, rather than giving in to every craving. Physical cravings and habitual or emotional cravings are two different root causes of cravings. For example: If you are dieting and have cut your calories, cut entire food groups, or made certain foods off limits- a physical craving can manifest out of physiological need for a certain nutrient. Alternatively, if you always eat something sweet after lunch, that craving is more of an emotional or habitual craving. You do not physically need the food for fuel, but rather you are so used to eating something sweet it becomes a habit that is then interpreted as a craving.

External factors, like stress, can contribute to cravings as well. Eating a certain food as a result of feelings (stress, sadness, anger etc) can condition the brain to associate that feeling with the given food. Next thing you know, when you feel that feeling (stress, sadness, anger etc), you automatically crave that same food because your brain associates the feeling with the food.

Once you identify the trigger or cause for the craving (physical, emotional), you can manage it appropriately. If you are having physical cravings, it is best to take a close look at your diet and identify where you may be lacking (calories, protein, carbs etc). Craving chocolate? Maybe your diet is lacking in carbohydrate and your body is in need of additional carbohydrates- try adding some fresh fruit, whole grains or oatmeal to your diet to see if it helps curb the craving.  I always recommend to initially give into your cravings to satisfy them, and then look to make changes to hopefully avoid future cravings.

Habitual and emotional cravings are generally multifaceted and require some self reflection to identify how to fix them. If you are in the habit of always eating dessert after dinner- try creating a new/healthier habit such as going for a walk. If you always crave a certain food when you are in a certain environment, try to distract yourself with another activity in that environment or remove yourself from the environment if possible. If you crave food as a reward for other behaviors, come up with non food rewards- a pedicure, a massage, a shopping trip etc, to stimulate the same pleasure response in the brain.

Lastly, adequate sleep is one of the most important factors for a healthy life. Lack of sleep alters your hunger and satiety hormones (ghrelin and leptin), resulting in more hunger hormones (ghrelin) being released, so you ultimately feel more hungry and generally crave higher carbohydrate foods for quick energy. Increasing the quantity and quality of your sleep alone can reduce cravings as the normal hormonal balance will be restored. If your in the midst of a fatigue induced craving, try to portion out one serving of food so that you are less likely to overeat.

We have compiled a list of some of our favorite healthy ways to beat the most common cravings, salty and sweet, without going completely overboard!

Sweet Snacks:

Greek yogurt with mini chocolate chips, sprinkles or graham crackers

chocolate yogurt

Fruit popsicle or frozen yogurt bar

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Source

Apple “Cookies”

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Protein Shake– Berries and vanilla protein powder make a great fruity/sweet shake, or chocolate protein with banana and peanut butter to beat that chocolate craving

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Freeze dried fruit- Apple chips, bananas, strawberries, blueberries etc.

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Coconut oil protein chocolates

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Protein Energy Bites

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Salty Snacks:

Popcorn

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Source

 

Pretzels

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Source

 

Trail mix or mixed nuts

friday favorites-trail mix

 

Do you have cravings? What are some of they ways you beat your cravings?

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Clean Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

This homemade and dairy free version of pumpkin spice coffee creamer is the perfect addition to your cup of coffee. Filled with spices and natural flavors, you will be hooked on making your own creamer from now on!

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You probably have figured out our love for everything pumpkin here at HBH! Whenever September 1st hits (despite our 90 degree temperatures here in Houston), it instantly makes me want to decorate the house for fall and light every pumpkin or spiced candle I own in our house.  I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the only one that feels this way! In the days leading up to September, I tend to see more and more pumpkin flavored items hitting the shelves at the grocery store.

One of my favorite items to buy around this time of year used to be the pumpkin flavored coffee creamer…. until I looked at the nutrition facts label and ingredient list. For instance, if you look at the Coffee Mate brand Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer, there are some scary ingredients listed including partially hydrogenated oil (which equals trans fat)!  A serving of the cream (1 Tbsp) provides 35 calories and 5 grams sugar.

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www.walmart.com

We previously talked about ways to flavor coffee without cream. Now that I know how easy it is to make creamer at home, I plan on making all of our coffee creamer from scratch now.  Plus, you get the added bonus of the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin boiling in your kitchen. Although the shelf life of this creamer is shorter (~1 week), I don’t mind making a batch each week since it took me less than 5 minutes to make. This would also be a great homemade gift for the holidays!

I decided to use cashew milk as my base, as it is dairy free but provides a creamier consistency than skim milk or other dairy free milks. Other options could be cow’s milk, almond milk or coconut milk depending on the type of flavor you like; however, what milk you choose may alter the nutritional facts of the recipe.

In order to prepare the cream, whisk together the cashew milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice in a pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks and allow the milk to simmer until heated thoroughly. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing in the refrigerator in an airtight container (I used a mason jar). Add 2 Tbsp to your coffee of choice and enjoy!

Clean Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin (I used canned Organic Pumpkin from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (or more) nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the cashew milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the cinnamon sticks and allow the milk to simmer for a few minutes until heated thoroughly.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the creamer to cool for 5 minutes before placing in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  4. Add 2 Tbsp to your coffee of choice.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Tbsp Calories: 14 Fat: 0.3 Saturated fat: 0.1 Sugar: 2.3 Sodium: 20.3 Protein: 0.2

 

 

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Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

I have always been aware of the cost of food and my weekly grocery bill, but I had never paid too much attention to how much I was actually spending in any given month. For the most part, I shop once per week and plan my meals/snacks which helps keep the grocery budget under control. I had the occasional Costco trip, Trader Joes run, and those last minute grab a couple of things on your way home from work trips as well.

My husband and I have recently started actually budgeting to try to reign in our frivolous spending. When we were setting our budget for groceries for the month, I was more than sure the amount we agreed on would be more than ample. Well, we are only a couple weeks into this and I have already spent more than 60% of the budget for the month…and that was with trying to be a little more cognizant of spending! I have already learned a lot in the couple weeks we have been following our new budget, and have realized that I’m going to have to get creative for the last couple of weeks of the month if I’m going to stick to this predetermined budget we set! At first I felt discouraged, but to be honest, I’m now looking at it as a challenge. I have decided I’m going to get creative and do my best to stick to our budget without relying on cheap, processed foods to get us through! I plan to do a follow up post on how I end up faring, but for now I wanted to share some of my tips for eating healthy on a budget!

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Whenever I have ripe bananas in my kitchen, I try to take advantage of the sweetness they provide in a recipe. I never like throwing them away! I previously shared this cranberry banana bread recipe that is on constant rotation in our house, but I wanted to create something new this week. I also had a few bags of chocolate chips waiting to be used, so I figured why not combine the two in a recipe?! Let’s be honest, what’s better than chocolate for breakfast (or anytime of the day)? I can’t think of much else!

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