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Pack a Little Protein into those Sweets this Valentine’s Day

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Valentines Day is fast approaching and your children’s sweet tooths are starting to ache.  So instead of fighting with the sugar season, how about adding some protein, fruit, and veggies to those treats and feel a little better about what’s on the plate.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes that pack the sweet with the protein and are great ways to get your child involved in the cooking process as well.

Homemade Nutella

We love using spreads like Nutella to learn about, well, most any food!  It’s a clear winner paired with strawberries and bananas, but we love it also with those crunchy veggies like celery and jicama! Even if your child is just learning about these foods, this recipe is a great way to involve your child in the cooking process as most of it is made in the food processor.  We love this recipe from Downshiftology as it uses less processed ingredients.  But it will result in a little bit of a grainer texture.  If your child is a true Nutella Lover, you may want to sub out the coconut sugar for Powdered Sugar or make your own from the coconut sugar by processing it in a blender or food processor first.  Also, you can add about ½ cup of melted chocolates (chocolate bar or chocolate chips).  This will give your recipe a smoother texture.

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. 
  2. Roast the hazelnuts. Spread them out on a sheet pan and cook for about 10-12 minutes, until the skins darken and crack.
  3. Remove the skins. Once the hazelnuts are cooled, transfer them to a kitchen towel.  Hold the corners of the towel to create a sac and give them a good rub until the skins are removed.
  4. Blend into a butter. In a food processor, blend the hazelnuts for about 5 minutes until it becomes a creamy butter. Then add the oil and blend for another minute.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients. Add the sugar, cacao, and vanilla and blend until it’s combined.
  6. Store or serve. Pour or scoop the Nutella into a storage container (it will firm up slightly as it cools) or enjoy right away.

Other great recipes that pack in those proteins and are great to pair with fruits and yes, even veggies are:

Whether you are looking for a homemade treat, or simply just to add balance to your Valentine’s celebrations, remember that preferred foods, like sweets, can often be a catalyst for learning about new foods.  So balance those sweets by touching, dipping, tasting, and maybe even eating new fruits, vegetables, and yes, even proteins.

 

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