When my children were young, I used to “sneak” vegetables into kid-friendly foods, including desserts. This might surprise you, but vegetables actually lend themselves beautifully to sweet treats like muffins, tarts, and other baked goods.
All ages can celebrate the upcoming spring season with fresh, bone-nourishing veggies that are remarkably suited to dessert recipes, like the three I share in today’s post. Each one of these scrumptious treats are pH-balanced and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to include bone-healthy veggies in sweet treats.
These desserts are still indulgences, but why not make them as nutritious as possible? That’s what the following recipes are all about.
So here’s a delicious way to usher in spring in the Northern Hemisphere with bone-smart treats that can be enjoyed year-round!
Sweets And Your Bones
It’s important to clarify where desserts, sugar, and sweets in general fit into the clinical nutrition-based plan of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Because refined, white sugar is harmful to your bones and overall health, it’s consumption is significantly reduced on the Program, while nutritious foods are encouraged to “fill the void” and stave off the inevitable sugar cravings.
Here is a brief recap of sugar’s detrimental health effects:
- Damages your immune system.
- Depletes your body of bone-building vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, copper, and Vitamin C.
- Promotes the formation of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), which weaken collagen and are implicated in degenerative brain disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s.
- Acidifies your pH.
For a closer look at the science behind sugar’s bad reputation, and for more information on sugar in general and tips on cutting back, please check out my posts on this topic, including the Top 3 Reasons To Avoid Sugar and Are You Still Eating Too Much Sugar? This Will Help You To Stop.
Here is where clarification is needed: sugar causes this kind of harm when it is eaten in large amounts at a nearly constant frequency. And that can happen more easily that you think! It’s not unusual for white sugar to find its way into almost every meal and snack, even when you don’t realize it. Sugar “hides” in foods like pasta sauce, yogurt, and salad dressing.
So while it’s perfectly fine to “cheat” now and then and indulge in a sugary snack or dessert, that’s entirely different from continual sugar consumption, which will greatly compromise your health and your bones.
Now For The Recipes!
One of the best ways to avoid overindulging in sugar is to make your own desserts and sweet treats that have minimal sugar and optimal nutrient content. Here are three delicious ways to do just that.
1. Spinach Chocolate Muffins
Who says eating your spinach has to be dull and flavorless? Dark green spinach leaves, rich in Foundation Supplements magnesium, manganese, silicon, and Vitamin K, add valuable nutrient power to these chocolatey delights.
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup raw honey (adjust to taste)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 5 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 1 cup loosely packed leaves)
- 1 banana
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate mini chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or oil cups with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients; set aside.
- In a blender, place the coconut oil, almond milk, honey, banana, spinach, and vanilla; whirl at high speed for 30 seconds to one minute, or until ingredients are thoroughly puréed.
- Fold the purée into the dry ingredients until blended; fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about ¾ full. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
2. Gluten Free Beanie Blondies
Creamy lima beans (also known as butter beans) make a delectable, alkalizing purée that lends moist richness and bone-smart nutrients to these classic dessert bars. As an added bonus, these blondies are gluten-free.
- 1 ½ cups lima beans, cooked and drained
- ½ cup almond butter
- ⅓ cup raw honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
- Coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8-inch square baking dish or deep pie plate with coconut oil.
- Place the lima beans in a blender and purée until smooth. Spoon the purée into a large bowl.
- Add the almond butter, honey, vanilla, salt, and baking powder and soda; stir well to combine, or use an electric mixer.
- Fold in ½ cup of the chocolate chips, setting ¼ cup aside for topping.
- Pour batter into the oiled baking dish and top with remaining ¼ cup chips. Bake for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
3. Sunny Carrot Tart
Chock-full of no fewer than 11 Foundation Supplements, bright orange carrots lend nutrition and sunny color to this tart. Plain yogurt adds a subtle, tart flavor dimension that balances the sweet carrots. This makes a beautiful addition to a bone-healthy, springtime brunch.
Ingredients for the crust:
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- 1 teaspoon natural sugar (such as evaporated cane juice)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, unsalted, grass-fed if possible
- 2 large eggs
- Ice-cold water
Ingredients for the filling:
- 4 medium-sized carrots, chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, unflavored or vanilla
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup natural sugar
- 1 cup plain, organic yogurt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for the topping:
- 1 large carrot, sliced into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- 1 teaspoon natural sugar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Directions for the crust:
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt; cut in the butter with a pastry blender, a fork, or two knives until the butter is in lumps no larger than peas.
- Lightly stir in 3 tablespoons ice-cold water until dough forms a ball (add up to a tablespoon more ice water if necessary). Flatten dough into a thick disc and wrap in waxed paper. Place dough in refrigerator for at least half an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- When dough is chilled, roll it into a circle about 10 inches in diameter. Place crust in a 9-inch pie tart pan or deep pie plate, trimming excess dough from the edges.
- Beat the eggs and brush the crust with 2 tablespoons of the beaten eggs, reserving the rest for the filling (below).
- Bake crust for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Directions for the filling:
- In a small saucepan, combine carrots and almond milk; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes, until carrots are tender. Pour into blender and whirl until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, pour the remaining beaten eggs and add the egg yolk. Whisk in the sugar until the mixture is light-colored and aerated.
- Stir in the plain yogurt, vanilla, and puréed carrots; whisk well and strain through a mesh strainer. Pour into crust.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes; the center should still be soft and a bit “jiggly.”
- Cool and refrigerate until filling is set.
Directions for the topping:
- In a medium bowl, toss together the carrot ribbons and sugar and sprinkle over the tart; sprinkle on the pecans last. Serve chilled.
These recipes really showcase the amazing versatility of vegetables!
Vegetables Play Many Delightful And Bone-Healthy Roles
While the Osteoporosis Reversal Program does not advocate a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet, its emphasis on vegetables means you’ll discover more about the incredible variety of colors, textures, and flavors of plant foods than ever before.
To help Savers make the most of the rich world of vegetables (and all Foundation Foods), I created a cookbook, Bone Appétit, based on clinical nutrition that is scientifically proven to build and renew bone. The recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert include ingredients that are carefully chosen for their bone-smart nutrient value.
Building bone with delicious foods makes so much more sense than taking dangerous osteoporosis drugs, dealing with the side effects, and compromising your bones’ integrity.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
Till next time,