This is the time of the year when sweets become ever the more tempting. The fall and winter season is littered with holidays just beckoning us to consume sweet after sweet. We begin with bowls of Halloween candy, then on to rich pies at Thanksgiving, followed by the cookies of Christmas, before ending the season with delightful petit fours making their rounds at all the new year parties. For those following a healthy lifestyle, this time of year is definitely the most trying, no matter how dedicated you are.
This season is also a time when people find their finances a bit more tighter than usual. Add in a global pandemic debilitating the world’s economy, and the result is a growing number of people on a stricter budget. Good news is, just because your budget isn’t limitless, it does not mean you need to sacrifice wholesome, nutritious food. Great tasting, top-quality nutrition on a budget is achievable if you get creative enough, and lucky for all of you readers, today I will be bringing you both.
The first rule to eating clean and staying on budget is to make a plan and stick to it. If you have healthy options always available, you leave yourself no excuses. Meal prepping makes this rule extremely easy to follow. Sheer willpower will only take you so far, so to avoid falling off course long-term, it is extremely important to keep healthy options available. Since Halloween just passed, my current temptation is chocolate. Knowing this craving would strike, I planned for it by prepping one of my favorite go-to’s for chocolate cravings…pudding.
Although this pudding is certainly not as easy as grabbing a snack pack from the supermarket shelf, it is still one of the quickest and simplest items to prep without compromising flavor. This rich, chocolaty pudding is made up of avocado, banana, and unsweetened cocoa powder, which are all clean, natural ingredients. To get the creamiest, perfectly sweetened pudding while refraining from refined sugars and dairy, the key is to ensure the avocado and bananas are very well ripened. Add in a bit of pure maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon, and you get a healthy pudding that only costs a little over $1 per serving and is suitable for all types of nutrition plans (fat loss, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free). So if you love chocolate or simply need a healthier dessert to get you through the holidays, this pudding is one dessert you can feel good about while indulging!
Avocado-Banana Chocolate Pudding
- 1½ Very Ripe Bananas
- 1 Avocado; pitted & peeled
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 3 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
- ½ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- In a large food processor, add bananas, avocado, and cocoa powder. Process until only a few chunks remain (about 1 minute).
- With food processor running, add maple syrup through the feed tube and continue to process until completely smooth (about 1 minute). Scrape down the bowl if needed and process again if not completely smooth.
- Add vanilla and cinnamon and process once more until incorporated (about 10 seconds). Transfer to an airtight container (preferably glass), and refrigerate until completely chilled (about 2 hours).
NutritionPer Serving (1/3 cup): 171 Calories; 3 g Protein; 8 g Total Fat; 2 g Sat. Fat; 6 g Fiber; 7 mg Sodium; 16 g Sugar; 28 g Carbs; 0 mg Cholesterol.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: J. O’HARA
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
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