{Sweet treats}

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I am an emotional eater and I have a sweet tooth. There, I said it…

After dinner, once the kids have gone to bed, I often crave something sweet. A little something to go with my tea. But then again, if truth be told, that little bit of sweetness is often a reward or an emotional pick-me up, when the day has been hard, or I am tired, or when things didn’t go as planned. It is something I am aware of and I am sure I’m not the only one. I often wonder at what point we start to associate food with our emotions. When do we start using food to soothe, comfort and reward?

Sure, food has always been central in human history. I bet the caveman family invited the gang over when a big wild boar was brought home. Hunting in those days was not like going down the street to pick up some chicken thighs for dinner. So the prospect of a decent roast dinner was celebrated in a group, the joy shared around the fire.

Nothing new here then, when we carve our leg of lamb with friends and family, when great news is celebrated around the table with the best grape juice from the cellar and a mighty roast with all the trimmings. Births and Deaths call for food, as do Weddings and Graduation. So much of life’s milestones centre around that big table, memories forged around family favourites. Some of the dishes I associate now with my family are Cheese Fondue in winter, my dad’s only signature dish was a Swiss version of Macaroni and Cheese. My mum’s pizza is always requested when I go home. And I always love her Rabbit ragu, and I would never attempt to replicate it. Sunday lunches bring not only memories of the dishes served, but the emotions felt. Sometimes feelings of belonging, identity and heritage. Sometimes, there is disconnection, fear and disappointment.

And how often have we used food as a bribe too? Having young children myself, I have too often fallen into the trap of offering a sweet treat as a reward for getting out of the supermarket unscathed. A bribe to get into the car seat without a fuss….aware of it, I have tried to change the reward system a bit, but when push comes to shove, an ice cream is still a pretty good incentive in our house. But maybe also, because ice cream is still an occasional indulgence food in our house and a bowl of fresh strawberries is still met with equal squeals joy.

So, when it comes to my weaknesses I take a two-fold approach. I don’t have a secret stash of ‘unhelpful’ treats anymore, and I make my own treats that are delicious and nutrient dense at the same time. However, don’t be fooled by thinking that wholesome and home-made means you can eat more of it. Most of my special treats are super foods and high calories. So, like you would not eat a whole packet of TimTams (I hope), go easy with the whole food treats, ok?

Hazelnut Protein Truffles

  • 2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup of hazelnut or Almond meal
  • 1 cup of walnuts/cashews/pecans
  • 2 tbs melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tbs Almond/Coconut/Rice milk
  • 1/2 cup of raw cacao or IsaLean Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup of cacao nibs (optional)

In a food processor, blend dates, nut meal and nuts together with the coconut oil and milk. Add cacao and coconut and then the nibs if using. The mix should come together easily.Shape small balls and roll them in some extra shredded coconut or cacao. Let them set in the fridge for 30min before sampling. The truffles keep well in a closed container.

So now, I am having  a cup a tea and show extreme restraint by only having one truffle.

Enjoy!

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