Happy National Chocolate Cake Day! Today’s food holiday makes me happy because who doesn’t love a delicious, moist chocolate cake? I’ll tell you who- anyone trying to lose weight or manage her blood sugar levels. Sure, a chocolate cake tastes great, but it’s the weight gain and blood sugar spikes after eating it that make you curse every bite that you took. So how can you celebrate this food holiday? Should you just find your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist? Absolutely not! I say “let them eat cake!” – just in a slimmed down way.
Photo credit: Kelly Sloan
With a few simple alterations you can transform a chocolate cake into a slimmed down, healthier version that still satisfies your sweet craving. There are many ways you can whip up lower calorie version. For instance, you can swap butter for applesauce or oil for yogurt. You can even replace added sugars with mashed banana. Whichever way you do it, these simple swaps can significantly reduce the overall calorie and carbohydrate content of your recipe. One of my favorite secret swaps is to add vegetables into the batter. This not only reduces calories, but adds a good source of vitamins and minerals to the final product. The way I see it, if you’re going to eat cake, you should enjoy it AND feel good about it after. No more chocolate cake guilt- that’s how I’m celebrating today!
My intern Kelly came up with a delicious Slimmed Down Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe to help you celebrate today. Happy cake eating!
Slimmed Down Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Photo credit: Kelly Sloan
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream the coconut oil, sugars, and vanilla. Add the butter milk and Greek yogurt. Mix well.
- Add the flours, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda and mix again. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips, until batter is well combined.
- Spread the batter in a greased bundt cake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Top with powdered sugar and serve.
Tip: You can also add walnuts or coconut to this recipe to change it up!
Nutrition Facts Per serving (with powdered sugar on top)
112 calories, 13 g CHO, 6 g FAT, 3 g PRO, 137 mg sodium, 5 g sugar
Photo Credit: Kelly Sloan
Today is National Peanut Butter Day! There are SO many great reasons to love peanut butter from its rich protein content to it’s nutrient density. People of every age can enjoy peanut butter daily to gain its varied health benefits. If you have a young child, you don’t need to hold off introducing this food any longer. The newest research suggests that early exposure to peanuts may reduce the overall allergen risk. Of course, you always want to speak to your pediatrician first about what is best for your child, but the new recommendations are to include peanuts between 4 and 11 months of age. My friend Kristen is actually trying peanut butter for the first time today with her little nugget and I know both mommy and baby will love it!
So why should you love peanut butter today (and every day)? My terrific intern Kelly pulled together a list of four health benefits of peanut butter that will have you excited to add it in to your diet on a regular basis:
- Peanut butter is a great source of protein. Each serving (2 tablespoons) provides 7 grams of protein. High protein foods can help build and repair muscles.
- It contains “healthy fats” also known as poly- and monounsaturated fats which some studies indicate may help to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
- On average, you should aim for 25- 35 grams of fiber each day for optimal health. Peanut butter can help you to reach your daily fiber goals by providing 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
- It is also a high satiety source of food, which means it may help you to stay full and satisfied for hours after eating. This is especially helpful for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight.
To celebrate National Peanut Butter Day, Kelly created this amazing Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake for you to enjoy. I can’t wait to sip of this for a filling protein-packed breakfast I can take on the run.
Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake
Photo Credit: Kelly Sloan
- 4 tablespoons natural peanut butter, creamy
- 2 medium bananas, frozen
- 1 ½ cup low fat milk or substitute for almond milk
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more liquid if needed.
- Top with your favorite toppings such as dark chocolate chips or chopped walnuts if desired. Enjoy!
Makes 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 250 Carbohydrates: 29gm Fiber: 3gm Protein: 11gm Fat: 12gm
This morning Joey woke me up by telling me it was my birthday and that we should eat cake. He doesn’t talk in sentences yet but by yelling “Mommy birthday JoJo eat cake” I got the message loud and clear. He’s been pretty stuck on birthdays since his party, but I have to admit cake for breakfast sounds pretty amazing. So I figured, if the boy wants cake for breakfast, let’s have cake for breakfast- but in a healthy way.
I used my Whole Grain Chocolate Raspberry Muffin recipe to make the ‘cake’ (we used muffin tins, so they were cupcakes), and my new favorite discovery D’ Naturals Chocolate Cake Batter Fluffbutter. It’s an almond butter that has no added sugar and tastes like frosting. It’s SO good. Now of course, I can’t leave out the sprinkles. It’s Joey’s favorite part (and OK mine too!). Since everything else was whole grain and low in sugar, a few sprinkles on top of the ‘frosting’ can’t hurt.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
Whole Grain Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup 100% whole wheat flour
½ cup ground flax
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup low fat milk
1/3 cup agave nectar
¼ cup honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 dash of salt
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cacoa)
1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
½ cup D’ Naturals Chocolate Cake Batter Fluffbutter
2 Tbs sprinkles (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, mix together flour and flax to blend evenly. Add in baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and blend. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add in honey, yogurt, and agave and blend until smooth. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir together while slowly pouring in milk to thin batter. Add in chocolate chips and blend evenly. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place 2 tsp of batter into each muffin cup. Next, lay 2-3 raspberries on top of batter. Pour remaining batter on top of raspberries to create a “raspberry filling” in the muffin. Then, top off each muffin with 1-2 raspberries. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool, then top with chocolate fluffbutter and sprinkles. Enjoy!
Makes 24 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): **analysis includes sprinkles
Calories 135 Carbohydrates 20g Fiber 2.5 gm Protein 5 gm Fat 4gm
A few weeks ago I was shopping at the grocery store with Joey in tow. He just loves grocery shopping, especially the produce section. He gets so excited when he sees a fruit or vegetable he loves that he typically starts cheering for them, which makes for quite a scene. But this day grocery shopping was a bit different. Few things are more concerning to a dietitian mom then to hear her not-even-two-year old yell out ‘DONUT’ at the top of his lungs as we passed by the bakery section. In a perfect world, he would have not yet ever eaten a donut, much less know them by name so well he could spot them a mile away.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional splurge on any food, healthy or not. But there has been a pattern lately on the weekends when I work that Joey gets a special ‘surprise’ from daddy- a sprinkled donut of course. And so now, he’s beginning to request them whenever he seems them. I am not planning on banning donuts from him (he pretty much only eats the frosting right now), but I would like to provide a healthier alternative he likes just as much. So that’s when I set out to create a donut look-a-like that packs in fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
Now, I don’t have a donut maker (I don’t even have a donut pan), so I simple made this as a mug cake and cut a hole in the middle. You could make this recipe two ways- in the oven or in the microwave. The recipe itself creates one very large donut or you can easily make two smaller donuts. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think using this recipe in a muffin tin to make mini donuts might be the best tasting option. The microwave option, which is super fast, makes a moister donut whereas baking gives a crispier texture. To me (and Joey), the frosting is the best part, so either cooking method makes us happy. If you want to get fancy, you can also top it with sprinkles (I was out of these after the holidays, but will add those next time).
The frosting is made from a new product I just discovered that I have to tell you – I am SO excited about. It’s called D’ Naturals Protein Infused Almond Fluffbutter. I had seen some recipes using this online and thought I needed to try it. I found it in all places at my local Harmon’s (where as we were looking for this, Joey saw a display of cotton balls, assumed they wwere marshmallows, and started yelling ‘eat, eat!’ – you can now see why I am looking for healthy sweet alternatives for him!). So as you can see from the photo below, he was VERY happy to dig into his healthy donut today 🙂
High Protein Donut with Chocolate Frosting
One large mug, coated with cooking spray
- ¼ cup oat flour
- 2 Tbs rolled oats
- ¼ cup mashed banana
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp sugar
1 Tbs D’ Naturals Protein Infused Almond Fluffbutter
Mix together dry ingredients and fold in mashed banana and Greek yogurt to create dough. Place dough in greased mug and microwave on high for 60-90 seconds or until cooked throughout (you could also place in a muffin pan or donut tray and bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes). Allow to cool then plate and cut out center hole to form a donut. Spread almond fluffbutter over donut and serve. Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
188 calories, 21 gm Carbs, 2 gm Fiber, 9gm Protein, 3.5gm Fat