With the April holidays almost over, it’s time to properly embrace my 5-2 eating regime again. Somewhere along the line I’ve fallen into a pattern of faithful adherence during our 8-9 week school terms coupled with a slow but certain falling off the wagon during holiday breaks. Seduced by the pleasures of a continuous caravan of catch ups and feasting 5-2 becomes 6-1 and soon thereafter 7-0.
Not surprisingly, for me at least, the first week of term now always signals a return to fasting. To be perfectly honest, I’m almost relieved to have a self mandated opportunity to wean myself from my holiday habit of daily excesses. To mark the occasion I’m beginning this term’s campaign with something a little different. A sweet but super healthy Black Forest Trail Mix. Not really a recipe per se, but more of an idea. A nutritious little something to tantalise jaded taste buds yet satisfy the inevitable hunger pangs as I re-embark on my 5-2 journey.
It’s a triumvirate of super foods. The tart sweetness of goji berries combined with the crunch of deep dark bitter cacao nibs and the creaminess of flaked coconut come together to provide an anti oxidant rich pick-me-up which strangely reminds me of Black Forest Cake. Perfect for satisfying any errant sweet tooth cravings, easily sprinkled over yoghurt or smoothie bowls to add texture and flavour or by the small handful to ease a mid afternoon energy slump. Best of all, by paying careful attention to relative proportions, this particular combination comes in at just 32 calories per tablespoon serve.
I will admit that cacao nibs are a very welcome new addition to my pantry shelves. They’ve been on my radar for a little while now, and I only recently took the plunge and bought a packet to try them myself. Made from fermented, dried and roasted cacao beans, they’re crunchy with a deep dark unsweetened bitter chocolate flavour – think pure 70% chocolate with a shot of espresso coffee. Right up my alley. So much so I’m a convert and will be trying them in place of chocolate in some of my regular recipes. They’re very rich in flavour, so a little goes a long, long way. Interestingly, cacao nibs are noted as having higher anti oxidant levels than blueberries, red wine and tea, and also contain chromium an important mineral for stabilizing blood sugar levels. All in all a delightful inclusion to my trail mix.
Black Forest Trail Mix
Makes 1 1/2 cups or 24 tablespoons (32 calories per tablespoon serve)
3/4 cup goji berries (310 calories)
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (268 calories)
1/4 cup raw organic cacao nibs (181 calories)
MEASURE goji berries, flaked coconut and cacao nibs into a clean dry jam jar. Screw lid on tightly and shake to combine