Holidays and clean eating don’t always go hand in hand. While we can’t guarantee you won’t be faced with some dietary temptation this Fourth of July (and by all means, indulge if you feel like it)—we can help you add some nutrition to the party mix.
Steer toward options with natural sugar—like fruit skewers—and smart, nutritious additions—like black beans in your brownie batter—for treats that will help you fuel your body and satiate that sweet tooth. Plus, there’s no harm done if cocktails drive your inhibition levels down (it’s America’s birthday, hello) and you indulge in a more than a few of these sweets. And as if that wasn’t enough motivation to head straight to the kitchen, these festive treats are 100% Instagram-worthy. Double tap.
Read on for three July 4 dessert recipes that are so healthy, even nutritionists are on board with them.
Coconut Water and Fresh Berry Popsicles
If the weather’s piping hot, prep some fresh and added-sugar-free popsicles. This recipe from Dena Norton is simple and refreshing.
Make sure you choose coconut water with 100% coconut water listed as the only ingredient—many companies add ingredients like cane sugar and artificial flavors.
Fresh Berries Coconut water
Drop berries into popsicle molds (smaller pieces will go to the bottom, others will have to be gently nudged into the mold using a butter knife or extra popsicle stick).
Pour coconut water over the berries to fill the popsicle mold, and then insert popsicle sticks.
Cover and chill for several hours.
Allow to sit on counter at room temperature for a few minutes for easy release from the molds.
Black Bean Brownies
Because fruit won’t always cut it, we added celebrity nutritionist Kelly LeVeque’s black bean brownies to the mix. While it might sound like an odd combination, beans pack these brownies with protein—and limit the sugar—without messing up the traditional brownie taste we all love.
1 1/2 cups black beans (or one can drained—low salt is best but regular old black beans will do) 3 tbsp. coconut oil 3 tbsp. almond butter 2 eggs 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup cocoa powder| 6 tbsp. of coconut flour 1 tsp. baking powder 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips 2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts as topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 9-by-9-inch brownie pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper with olive oil.
Puree the black beans in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until smooth. Add the olive oil, peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla, and pulse a few times.
Then, add the brown sugar, cocoa, and brown rice flour and mix well. Fold in the cinnamon and baking powder, and blend just until mixed. Gently stir in the remaining cup of chocolate chips.
Pour it all into the prepared pan, and, if you’re feeling nutty, top with hazelnuts or walnuts. Bake for about 25 minutes. Serve warm.
Healthy Happy Smart
A healthy dessert that also doubles as decoration? Count us in. We love these simple and festive skewers by Healthy Happy Smart so much, they may just become a BBQ staple.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.