Ella Eats: Three treats minus a serving of guilt

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Are you still feeling a little sluggish after the silly season? Did that New Year’s healthy eating resolve never really stick or has it yet to kick into gear as that holiday mood was prolonged through January? Many of my clients have noticed that sugar, processed foods and perhaps a little too much vino has crept back into their regular routine, leaving them feeling a little blah.

Every new year comes with an onslaught of diets, quick fixes and strict meal plans – but if a month in you are finding things just aren’t going to plan why not try swapping some of the sweet snacks and desserts for their more nourishing, satisfying and unrefined relatives?

Give these alternatives a try and notice how they make you feel – after all, that’s the best way to tell what works for your body and what doesn’t. Not only for after dinner, these goodies are great when you get off the bike or instead of that trip to the cookie jar during a mid-afternoon slump.


Primal chocolate mousse

If you’re looking for a decadent, chocolate dessert, this recipe will definitely hit the spot. It not only tastes fantastic but packs a nutritional punch and is a sneaky treat to bring out at your next dinner party … no one will ever guess the secret ingredient!
(serves 4-6)

  • 3 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup (you can adjust this to taste)
  • 2 small avocados
  • 1/4 cup (25g) raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) coconut cream (chilled*)
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Dash of cinnamon

*When chilled in the fridge coconut cream becomes semi-solid.

1. In a powerful blender or food processor, place the honey first, followed by the cacao and then all remaining ingredients.
2. Pulse slowly until the ingredients mix together and become smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape the sides of your machine as you go.
3. Place in the fridge to chill and serve with a dusting of raw cacao on top.

Watermelon and basil sorbet

This dessert is perfect on a warm, sunny evening. It’s refreshing, guilt-free and only takes two simple steps to make. Make sure you’re prepared by stocking your freezer with frozen watermelon cubes so you can whip it up anytime.

(serves 2)

  • 2 cups (300g) pre-frozen, cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 small red chilli or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 5 basil leaves, plus a few for serving

1. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients to slowly break up the frozen watermelon. Over-process and you will end up with fancy watermelon juice.
2. Just as it reaches a sorbet-like consistency, scoop it out into small bowls and top with some basil sprigs

TIP: At your next trip to the Farmer’s market, stock up on cheap, in-season fruit like watermelon or peaches. Peel, dice and freeze in sealed bags or containers for a quick and easy dessert or snack like this one.

Sweet potato chocolate brownies

These sweet potato brownies are a surprisingly decadent alternative for this all time favourite treat. The trick with this recipe is to cook the sweet potato first, so it’s soft and sticky before adding to the other ingredients. This extra step will result in a smoother and creamier texture.

(makes 12-18)

  • 600g kumara (purple sweet potato), peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 tbsp ghee, melted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (105g) coconut oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup (85g) almond meal
  • Water, as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F
2. Coat the chunks of raw sweet potato in the ghee and maple syrup. Roast on a covered baking tray for 25–30 minutes, or until soft and caramelised. Set aside to cool.
3. Add the cooked sweet potato, Medjool dates, eggs and coconut oil into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
4. Add the cinnamon, salt, raw cacao and almond meal and pulse until just mixed through. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water as necessary.
5. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes at 180°C/350F.

TIP: get creative with some added chopped nuts, fresh fruit or a dusting of raw cacao.

Lizzy Marsh is a qualified exercise scientist and nutrition consultant. She has worked with a range of both elite and recreational athletes in the areas of performance testing, nutrition, strength and conditioning and holistic health. When she’s not coaching classes at the Melbourne-based gym she owns with her brother, Lizzy loves cycling, yoga, trail running and fly fishing. As an ambassador for Specialized Australia and lululemon athletica, Lizzy is passionate about inspiring more women to ride bikes, get stronger and feel good. You can follow Lizzy on Instagram or read more about her here.

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