Type the word Paleo in to pinterest and your feed is likely to be filled with brownies, cakes and sweet treat “paleo” options, nestled in amongst fresh and healthy meal ideas. It seems a little at odds with the rest of the paleo movement which focuses on real foods – so today we want to talk about the pros and cons of paleo baked treats.
Firstly – treats are TREATS. Paleo or not, the idea behind treats is that they are meant for special occasions and not for eating every day.
There’s a few reasons why we can say yes to paleo treats – they are delicious, they don’t contain gluten or dairy, and sometimes you gotta live a little. If you have made them at home then you know exactly what’s in the food – no chemical preservatives or additives. Paleo treats are much lower in sugar than their regular versions, and normally they are high in good fats, antioxidants, and fibre.
However the paleo community is divided on whether paleofied recipes for these sweet treats should be part of our diets. Some people may rely on these substitutes to help them adjust to a paleo way of life, while for others they might still be a trigger food (one paleo anzac biccy leads to the entire tin disappearing!) and so are completely off the menu.
Many cafes and eateries are offering paleo baked goods in their cabinets – a visit to the café next to my office shows me I can easily have a slice of paleo banana bread with my morning coffee. But just because it’s made of paleo friendly ingredients, doesn’t mean I should opt for it every morning.
Despite the “good” ingredients the reality is that these treats are not the most nutrient-dense option, and can still contain more sugars than are optimal for our health (even though they are generally less than a regular-non-paleo brownie or muffin). Consuming treats on a daily basis can make it difficult for our taste buds to adapt to natural sweetness, like fruits and vegetables.
How often (if at all) you decide to indulge in a paleo treat really is a personal choice. For me, I am a terrible baker (I KNOW it’s all about the precise measurements, and I am more of a slap and dash type in my kitchen!) and so I don’t even enjoy baking. I don’t crave sweet treats, cakes or biscuits – so it never occurs to me to opt for a paleo brownie at a café. But would I indulge for a birthday, or another special occasion? Sure – part of making paleo sustainable as a lifestyle means making room for treats from time to time. It’s also a conscious choice.
You need to consider your own health issues and goals when considering what is right for you. It will be different for everyone. If you aren’t feeling great, sleeping well, or losing the weight you want to – then maybe the number of sweet paleo treats needs to be looked at. If treats have become a 3.30pm hangry crutch – again, it’s something you probably want to cut down on. If seeing baked goods have you in serious cravings and unable to stop at one, it’s time to tighten up on your intake and break that sugar dragon.
Paleo treats – do you? Or don’t you?