Healthy and Festive
When it’s time to break out your coziest pajamas, hang with your family and eat all the foods, it may seem like there’s no way to avoid a sugar overload. While it may feel like pies, cakes, and cookies are the focus (and major temptation), you can totally get your sugar fix by using this naturally sweet strawberry snack.
While I love them ‘just as they are,’ (hi, Bridget Jones fans!) they’re also a great addition or substitute to traditional ingredients in your favorite sweet and savory recipes. And, bonus, clinical research suggests that eating just one serving of eight strawberries is good for the whole body. They’re packed with potent nutrients that support brain health, diabetes management, and heart health, and reduce the risk of some cancers.
The brain health part is especially significant this November because it’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. A recent study in the Annals of Neurology suggests that eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. Strawberries also feature prominently in The MIND Diet, an eating plan that may reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at Rush University. The MIND diet is rich in berries, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, and limits red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
A Healthy Dessert
This is a dessert that you can feel good about eating and serving to your family this winter. It’s rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin C…and it looks pretty too. It combines some of my favorite foods: peanut butter and jelly and chocolate dipped strawberries. Instead of dipping strawberries in chocolate, you swirl them into a warm peanut butter fondue (see you later bread and jelly!).
While these peanut butter yogurt-dipped berries are a sweet treat, they steer clear of all the ‘unhealthy’ ingredients on the MIND Diet list and combine some of the ‘brain-healthy’ food groups: berries, nuts, and whole grains (if you choose to roll them in a low-sugar granola).
- ½ cup of creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt (you can use plain if you want them less sweet)
- 2 tsp of honey
- 1 cup of fresh, whole California strawberries, rinsed and dried (about 8-10 berries)
- Optional toppings: shredded unsweetened coconut, low-sugar granola, melted dark or white chocolate to drizzle, or mini chocolate chips for a strawberry tuxedo
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the peanut butter, yogurt, and honey until combined, warm, and thinned slightly (about three minutes). Turn off the burner
- Holding the strawberries by their green stem, dip them in the warm peanut butter yogurt mixture
- If you are going to roll them in toppings, roll them while warm and then place on a tray lined with parchment paper. If not, place immediately on the parchment paper
- Serve immediately or chilled
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and sweet holiday season!
Check out more California Strawberry Recipes here!