I like treats just as much as the next guy (or gal). However, the lack of nutrients, inclusion of artificial ingredients, and empty calories in many sweet treats leaves me feeling less than my best. That’s why when I experiment with new recipes they have to meet two very important criteria: 1) they have to satisfy my sweet tooth (obviously!), and 2) they must provide my cells with the nutrients they need to thrive. In other words, I try to attain a high ratio of nutrients per calorie consumed (if you’re interested to know more about this concept I’ve added an explanation at the bottom of this post). With that said, today I’m sharing my nutrient dense Caramel Latte Frappé recipe. Side note: I HAD to sample this recipe MULTIPLE times over the past week for quality assurance purposes. Some people say blogging is all fun and games, but I’m here to tell you it’s tough work! 🙂
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 3 dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons vegan caramel sauce (melted)
- ice cubes
- Blend walnuts and almond milk until creamy.
- Add coffee, dates, caramel, and ice cubes. Blend until smooth.
- Drizzle extra caramel on top.
- For a sweeter drink add more dates.
- Increase the amount of coffee or even use espresso for a more robust flavor.
- For an adult friendly version add a splash of Kahlúa 🙂
- If you don’t like walnuts you can substitute for another nut such as cashews.
- The number of ice cubes you use determines the thickness of the frappé. The more ice you add, the thicker your frappé will be.
- At our house we like our frappés thick (we use lots of ice) so this recipe makes 2 servings. If you enjoy a thinner frappé then this recipe might only be enough for 1 serving.
Recipe inspired by The Almond Eater.
Some of you might be wondering “What does it mean to consume a high ratio of noncaloric nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, etc) per calorie (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) consumed?” That’s a good question, I’m glad you asked! Let’s take the caramel portion of the above recipe as an example. Traditional caramel recipes include ingredients like white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, heavy whipping cream, butter, and vanilla extract. In contrast, the vegan caramel sauce used in the Caramel Latte Frappé includes almond butter, pure maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Not only are the individual ingredients of the vegan caramel sauce less processed relative to those of the traditional caramel recipe, but as you’ll see in the next paragraph, they are also more nutrient dense.
To demonstrate the concept of nutrient density let’s look at the sweeteners included in both caramel recipes. (Feel free to follow the hyperlinks which will direct you to nutritional information about each of the ingredients listed.) White sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup are all used to make traditional caramel and contain minimal noncaloric nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. The small amount of minerals that are found in these sweeteners actually come from the molasses that is added to sugar to make brown sugar. In contrast, pure maple syrup (like the one used in the vegan caramel sauce) is loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese. As you can see, choosing pure maple syrup as your sweetener of choice results in more noncaloric nutrient consumption (specifically minerals) than any of the other three alternatives mentioned.
Keep in mind that you can apply this concept to any foods you eat. If you’re unsure of the nutritional information go to websites like nutritiondata.self.com and perform a search for the foods you are interested to know more about.
Whew! This post went deeper than I anticipated. So let’s summarize. Blah blah blah. Blah blah. Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah. Blah……. 😛
In a nut shell: through purposeful planning you can eat the foods you love AND feel good about it (literally)!