With Valentine’s Day approaching, you may find it challenging to stick to your fitness goals as it gets tempting when you are handed that box of fine chocolates. Here are some sweet, yet sensible treats that you can make and enjoy this Valentine’s Day that won’t leave you feeling guilty
- Dark Chocolate Strawberries. Who can resist this classic treat? There’s even a healthier way to enjoy this romantic Valentine’s treat. Instead of using milk chocolate, melt 1 bag of dark chocolate or carob chips in a small pan over medium heat. Carefully dip strawberries, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture and place on a cookie sheet or wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.m
- Chocolate Mousse. A soft & silky delicacy that will satisfy any sweet tooth, this chocolate mousse has one secret ingredient that makes it guilt free: Avocado! All you will need are 2 ripe avocados, ¼ cup cocoa powder, 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, 1/3 cup coconut, almond, or soy milk, 3 packets of Stevia, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend till smooth. Top with dark chocolate shavings or fresh raspberries. Serve chilled.
- Black Bean Brownies. Brownies are one of my favorites to make yearly for my husband on Valentine’s Day. Over the years, I have discovered a way to make this sweet treat a bit healthier-by adding black beans! My husband could not taste the difference! You will need 1 can of black beans (rinsed & drained) and 1 box of low-fat brownie mix. (In the fall, you can make this easy two ingredient festive brownie by replacing the black beans with 1 can of pumpkin!). All you need to do is puree or blend the brownies and add directly to the dry brownie mix. I usually add 3 tbsp. of coconut oil to my batches to make them extra moist! Bake according to the boxed instructions-typically 350 degrees-for around 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean in the middle.
- Heart Shaped Protein Pancakes. For a fun and sweet Valentine’s breakfast, heart shaped pancakes will make your lover smile! All you will need is 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder, 1 banana, 2 eggs, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp coconut milk, 1 handful of chocolate chips (optional), and 1 packet of Splenda. Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl and heat the skillet. Using metal cookie cutters or a heart shaped skillet, you can form your pancakes into shapes of hearts. Top with fresh strawberries or raspberries and sugar free maple syrup!
- Raspberry Sorbet. My husband could not eat dairy for many years due to a gastrointestinal issue so our “ice cream” quickly became sorbet instead. Raspberry sorbet is one of my favorite flavors of sorbet and it’s so easy to make at home-no special tools required! You will need 2 ½-3 cups of raspberries, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and the juice of one lemon (squeezed). If you are a huge chocolate lover, you may even add in some dark chocolate chips! To make this sorbet, you will need to puree your raspberries in a blender (or a food processor if yours is big enough). Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat over low; stirring till the sugar dissolves. After 15 minutes, set the saucepan aside to let it cool down. Next add the water/sugar mixture to the blender and blend thoroughly. Lastly, pour from blender into a mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish and freeze. After 3 hours, break the frozen sorbet into pieces and place back into the blender and blend until smooth. If you want to add the chocolate chips, now is the time. Place blended sorbet in an air tight container and place back into the freezer. Enjoy!