I’m a little bit worried about the words “healthy” and “clean”. Because I’m seeing them everywhere on social media in relation to dessert: There are recipes for Healthy Peppermint Patties. Clean Cookie Dough Blizzards. Healthy Clean-Eating Double-Chocolate Brownies with Marshmallow and Bacon Hot Fudge Sauce. Okay, I made up that last one. You get the idea.
Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing so many recipes with non- or minimally-processed ingredients. I use things like whole wheat flour and flaxseed in my own recipes too. And I enjoy experimenting with recipes that use, say, dates instead of sugar like the cookies above (read: “Simple No Bake Cookie Balls“).
But I worry because recipes using so-called “clean” ingredients seem to be getting a free pass lately as healthy and nourishing no matter what they actually are. A peanut butter cup made with coconut oil is still a peanut butter cup. When you’re eating raw vegan cookie dough bites, you’re still eating, well, balls of cookie dough.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with dessert in my book–even every day. I love dessert. But clean eating treats like these can easily become a problem if we’re eating or serving them more frequently (or in larger portions) because we perceive them as particularly wholesome. I’ll admit I’m guilty of doing that (read: “Too Much of a Good Thing: Why Calories Still Count.”).
Bottom line: We can serve our family “clean” snickerdoodle cream pie, but even if it’s made with agave and raw cashews, kids still need to understand that pie is a sweet treat. And so do we.