Let’s be honest–most low-calorie or “healthy” desserts taste like you’d rather have the real thing. Sure, Halo Top ice cream kinda kills your ice cream craving, but it’s not ice cream.
And those protein cookies still have the same number of calories as regular cookies (or more!)
Quest bars or other protein bars don’t always kill the cravings like you’d hope
Protein cakes, pancakes, brownies, and other stuff usually doesn’t come out the same (though some of the recipes from ProteinPOW.com are pretty good).
So what do you do about it?
The past month, I kinda did a deep dive into French food culture and traditions. The French have some of the lowest obesity rates for developed countries (roughly 9% of the population versus the US at about 31%).
The average French citizen eats roughly 40% of their calories from fat and over 15% of it is saturated fat, but their rates of heart attack are way lower (basically the lowest) in the developed world.
To top it off, they seem to eat cheese, chocolate, pastries, and drink wine as much as they please. They stay skinny, but we try to do the same thing here in the US and we get fat, so what gives?
Well there are a ton of factors at play, which I’ll get into next week’s email (high levels of protective fat soluble vitamins, cultural norms/taboos, etc) but one of the big take aways is eating the highest quality food you can afford AND portion control.
After reading the book French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billion (highly recommended) I got three more French cookbooks on top of the other ones I already had, and tried to figure out calories.
First off, most recipes are simple, but taste amazing. The French work almost the same amount as us here, so they need fast recipes during the week, just like us (so if you’re intimidated, as I was once, grab a French cookbook and you’d be surprised)
The key is portion control.
The following dessert recipe would make four servings here in the US. The recommendation in the French cookbook is 8-10 servings.
So when you look at the calories, double them and that’s what they are for most people here, then do that with every meal of the day (plus snacks) and all the sudden it’s very easy to eat 3500 calories but think you only ate 1600.
Now I’m done with my tangent. Here is a dessert that is a “real” dessert, will kill cravings, isn’t loaded with 500+ calories, and actually has some health benefits. You could easily fit this into your diet and eat it every night if you wanted.
Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Note: Raw eggs are used. Try to get the freshest, highest-quality pasture-raised eggs you can find
Note II: While a double boiler is prefered, you can do this on the stove top by setting the heat as low as possible while melting the chocolate. You can also DIY a double boiler pretty easily. Last time I made this recipe, I did it stove top because I broke the double boiler we have.
3 ½ Tbsp Butter
7 ounces (200 g) dark chocolate (60-90%)
1 Tbsp sugar or coconut sugar
2 pinches of fine salt
6 eggs, separated
Melt the butter and chocolate in a thick saucepan (low or medium-low heat) or a double boiler on medium or medium-low heat, mixing with a spatula. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, whisk the sugar and salt into the egg yolks and incorporate them gently into the chocolate and butter mixture using a spatula.
Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer or with a whisk for several minutes until firm. Gently incorporate a few spoonfuls of the egg whites at a time into the chocolate mix, loosening it up as you go.
This makes just under 3 cups. Fill small ramekins or small glass tupperware and place in the refrigerator for several hours, and then serve chilled.
Top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, fleur de sel, or powdered sweet chili pepper (piment d’Espelette).
These can store for a long while in the fridge.
Calories for 10 servings: 129
Protein: 4.3 g
Carbs: 6.5 g
Fat: 10.5 g
Calories for 8 servings: 160
Protein: 5.3 g
Carbs: 8 g
Add 4 TBSP of whipped cream: 32 calories
My wife and I usually split these, which would end up being 65-80 calories plus 16 calories from whipped cream for each person. That’s roughly 80-100 calories per person, so it’s basically “no guilt” but also tastes really good.
Note: Calories were calculated using 60% dark chocolate. I like chocolate 80-90%, so this will slightly adjust the macros (calories actually stay the same). The lower the percentage, the higher the carb/sugar content, the higher percent chocolate will have more fat. Again, calories will stay the same, just the macros will change if you track those.
FYI, the darker the chocolate you use, the more “satiating” it is and the less you will need to eat to get you sweet, chocolate, or (if you use salt) salty fix.
Health Benefits and Micronutrients
A dessert has health benefits?
When made right, yes! But remember, calories are still calories and too much with cause your weight loss to come to a screeching halt. However, unlike a bunch of processed junk from a bag or box, this dessert does actually nourish the body:
Fat Soluble Vitamins
A, D, E, and K are all present in this recipe from the butter and egg yolks. These are theorized to help protect from the possible negatives of high fat diets
MCTs- same stuff found in coconut oil, possibly appetite suppressing
CLA- anti-cancer benefits and possibly fat-burning
Butyric Acid- anti-inflammatory
Arachidonic Acid- boosts immune function (too much can be pro-inflammatory though, though here it is balanced out with other anti-inflammatory fatty acids)
Antioxidant compounds that you don’t really absorb (only 5-10%) but the good bacteria in your gut loves them. The support growth of “good bugs” and inhibit growth of “bad bugs”
B-Vitamins and minerals
Decent amounts of B12 and selenium. Lots of others in the 5% of RDA range or less
Lutein and zeaxanthin are both carotenoids (vitamin A precursors) that are found in high levels in the eyes