Monday, September 8, 2014

Hidden Fruits & Vegetables in Baked Goods: Putting Lipstick on a Pig

I was at a meeting recently where some big whigs in the Charlotte food scene met to discuss how to increase healthy eating in the Charlotte area. Does this mean that yours truly is a big whig? Totes. I mean I do have this blog and all…

Anyways, the discussion came to a point where we were discussing how to get kids to eat healthier, in which the concept of black bean brownies emerged. While it was a comment that was not even given the time of the day for the rest of the discussion, I found myself a little irritated, which leads me to today's blog topic of sneaking fruits and vegetables into baked goods. 

Now, when I said black bean brownies, most of you were probably thinking that I had made a typo because that sounds disgusting. However, it was not. The idea of sneaking fruits and vegetables into desserts is all the rage these days, with tons of recipes on Pinterest. In addition to black bean brownies, we also have chocolate zucchini cupcakes and brownies made with applesauce, banana, or avocado as well. Sounds weird right? In most cases, the predetermined fruit or vegetable is used to replace the fat (oil or eggs) in a recipe; occasionally it is added just for giggles but not often. 

I will admit that I have played around with black bean brownies just to see how they were. They surprisingly weren't bad...even the batter tasted good (don't judge me). Anyways, back to my irritation of black bean brownies and getting people to eat healthier. My thought during that meeting was, “What do black bean brownies have anything to do with getting kids, or adults for that matter, to eat healthier?” Yes, brownies made with black beans instead of oil and eggs are lower in fat and higher in protein, but are they going to magically inspire you to eat more fruits and vegetables? My guess would be no. I mean when I tried them it only made me want ice cream, but that’s just me. All you are essentially doing by sneaking these fruits and vegetables into baked goods is putting lipstick on a pig. 

To help get me point across on this one, I am going to use a gem provided by none other than the always credible Dr Oz. He has a recipe on his website for butt busting browniesTo give you the full effect, I am just going to just copy a little excerpt about these little gems.

“If you think brownies are off-limits when you’re trying to get fit, think again! This no-bake brownie is not your typical dessert. The cayenne revs up your metabolism to get your body moving and the cinnamon helps process sugar intake, which helps keep fat from being absorbed into your bottom. It’s a win-win!”

I really wish that I was making this stuff up. Without even addressing the misleading information about cayenne and cinnamon, WHY WOULD ANYBODY EAT A BROWNIE IF THEY WANTED TO GET FIT? If you really want to get fit and bust your butt how about you try this new thing called exercise and eating these things called fruits and vegetables. Pretty radical I know.

I have no idea if these "butt busting" brownies are good or not, but at the end of the day they are still brownies, regardless of what fruits and vegetables might be snuck in them. I mean I can put my dog in a cat costume and she is still a dog. Even if I put kale in brownies they are still brownies, which are not and never will be a "health" food.

Don’t get me wrong I love me some kale (shocker I know right?), but I do not want kale in my brownies, I would rather have caramel thank you. You really are not doing yourself any favors by sneaking in fruits and vegetables into your baked goods; you are really only sacrificing taste. The next time you treat yo self…

make sure it at least tastes good. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go to Sonic for this milk shake made specifically for health nuts and hipsters.

Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


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