Including treats into your diet may to some seem like recipe for disaster and yes regular, highly processed, high sugar foods can prevent you from meeting your health goals. BUT if the OCCASIONAL treat is added into the diet it can be really important for the long-term success in a healthy lifestyle. Yes, I like cake, cookies and ice cream as much as the next person but I’m very intentional and mindful of my treats, and I try to make as many of the treats that I can.
When I select a treat with intention, I look at how it will affect how I feel physically and mentally. As a lactose intolerance person, dairy is not my friend. So, I intentionally avoid dairy as I know that I will not feel my best if I eat it. This also goes for mentally. If I know that I will feel guilty for eating a treat, then why would I eat it. I like to enjoy my treat when I’m in a celebratory mood or surrounded by friends and family.
Another part of being intentional with my treat is to know how they will affect my energy levels and that one of the reasons that if I’m going to have a treat I try to pair it with protein, fat or fiber so that the sugar hit is not quite as intense and I am more likely not to experience the sugar highs and lows.
One of my favourite go to treats is the BUFF Dudes Black Bean Brownies. As they include black beans, they are higher in protein and fiber, with more fiber added through the addition of flax seeds. As a rule, fiber, fat and protein slow the digestion and absorption of sugar which prevent the sugar high and the later sugar crash.
Enjoyed mindfully will also prevent you from eating the whole batch as you slow down and truly enjoy each bite you take. Another tip to help with eating your treat more mindfully is the make the serving size smaller. If you want more after you enjoy your treat with intention and mindfulness, you can give yourself another small portion. For the brownies I like to use a mini muffin tin and make two bite brownie sized ones and try to eat in 3-4 bites, enjoying each bit.
If you really want to slow down and practice eating mindfully check out my talk on Mindful Eating where I share a mindful eating exercise. You can also check out my past article on mindfulness