Valentine’s Day treats can be nutritious, too

Let’s say you’ve been diligent about avoiding sugar, even passing up the king cake and brownies at the Super Bowl party. But, the obligatory chocolate and sweets for Valentine’s Day have you weakening. What to do?

Holistic health coach Brittany Lynn Kriger has created sweet tasty treats with the look of traditional lip-smacking Valentine’s desserts. They’re nutritious enough to make Cupid proud.

“Sugar is sugar and these recipes are absolutely desserts, but these recipes are gluten free, dairy free, trans-fat free and refined sugar free,” she said.

All of these recipes are either sweetened naturally with fruit or the help of natural sweeteners like honey or 100 percent maple syrup. The fats she uses are high quality healthful fats from cashews, almonds, walnuts, avocados and chia seeds.

Avocados are full of Omega-3, high in fiber, potassium and Vitamin C, she said. Cashews are dense in energy and high in dietary fiber. Chia seeds provide fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, niacin and zinc. Some people believe the tiny seeds also help you feel fuller longer because when the seed is exposed to moisture, it absorbs 10 times its weight. A belly buster, you might say.

Kriger, a board certified holistic health coach with the American Association of Drugless Practioners, studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition with a focus on holistic nutrition where she studied more than 100 dietary styles of eating from around the world.

Her message is that it is not only about counting calories, but also selecting foods for their quality — that is, the nutrients they contain.

“There’s not one diet for everyone. One person’s pill is another person’s poison,” she said. “But we can all benefit by eating more whole food that is less processed.” And, she adds, by avoiding sugar and salt.

“What we’re aiming for here is a balance of food for fuel and food for pleasure. With these treats we’re making better choices for our bodies while still feeling like we’re treating ourselves,” she said.

For her recipes, Kriger says most ingredients can be found at local grocery stores, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Area produce stands also sell raw nuts and dried fruits.

Kriger’s preferred sweeteners are dates, natural maple syrup and organic, raw, unfiltered honey.

“Everyone craves sugar. It’s the body asking for energy,” she said.

Skip the accessible, simple sugar sweet treat, she advises. These cause a blood sugar spike and ultimate crash.

“Fruit is a simple sugar that’s great when you need a pick-me-up as it contains fiber that helps slow the digestion of short chains of sugar,” she said.

Kriger said she avoids artificial sweeteners, as they offer no nutritional value.

For more information on Kriger and health coaching, contact brittanylynnkriger.com.