Do you deprive yourself of foods you love in the name of health goals?
What about modifying them?
I’m not a particular fan of complete deprivation. While I do know that it may be necessary to reduce or yes, even eliminate certain foods for the sake of specific health/lifestyle goals – like reducing or avoiding added refined sugar for the purposes of hormone balancing; learning about a food intolerance; or eliminating animal products to eat 100% whole-food plant-based – I don’t believe in militant deprivation and instead opt for modification where feasible, and moderation otherwise. In the case of going plant-based, for a long time we had to get comfy with modifications if we wanted to enjoy any of our old faves, before plant-based products became so readily available in such variety! (Ditto allergy-friendly.)
Modifying your favourite foods to fit your health needs can happen to varying degrees, from switching one or two ingredients for “healthier” alternatives – like changing refined white sugar out for organic coconut or date sugar – to choosing alternatives throughout the entire recipe, to making nutritious meals with flavours inspired by those of your favourite food. You may notice that I especially love playing with the latter, turning sweet desserts into functional snacks and breakfasts, as I did this week turning the flavours of Nanaimo bars into a nutritious breakfast parfait (recipe below!).
It takes practice, and remember if you need guidance, I’m here and happy to suggest ways to modify. As you continue making healthy changes and swaps in your lifestyle, your tastes and your mindset may change too. But remembering that you can modify your faves instead of flat-out depriving yourself of them makes it easier along the way.
Meanwhile, check out the Nanaimo Bar Parfait recipe I created this week below:
Nanaimo Bar Parfait
One of my favourite Canadian classic foods is the Nanaimo bar. If you’re unfamiliar, it typically consists of a chocolate cookie-coconut base layer, a flavoured custard middle layer (popularly vanilla or mint), and a top layer of chocolate.
This is my second attempt at making a healthier Nanaimo-inspired breakfast-worthy pudding, and it definitely turned out better than the first, which was so liquidy that none of the layers held up!
In this parfait (1 large breakfast or 2 smaller dessert/snack servings):
Chocolaty coconut overnight oats
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 1 Tbsp whole black chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp unsw shredded dried coconut
- 2 tsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ½ cup unsw almond-coconut mylk
Mix together dry ingredients until well-combined, then stir in wet ingredients. Let stand in fridge overnight to set. In the morning, stir again. Option to transfer/divide into 2 jars/pyrex/glasses. Add the next layer:
Maple “custard” layer
- ½ cup unsw coconut yogourt
- ½ Tbsp maple syrup
Stir well to combine. Dollop and spread gently over chocolate oats.
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder
- 1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs (or dairy-free chocolate chips if not using hazelnut spread)
- 1 Tbsp dairy-free chocolate hazelnut spread (optional)
Sprinkle/dollop chocolaty toppings as desired. Serve.
Have you found ways to modify a fave to suit your needs? Tell me about it!