A few years ago my husband and close friends realized two things when eating with me:
I stopped sharing my creations and just enjoyed them myself. Then one ordinary day while hanging out in the kitchen my husband complained that I was “holding out on him” when he discovered brownies I had made. I didn’t say anything but just passed the plate of brownies his way, gesturing for him to take one, and I went back to cleaning the kitchen. When I reached for another brownie myself the next day I knew there was going to be trouble - there was only one left (at least he saved me one, I guess?). The problem is, that meant he ate six brownies yesterday. Clearly there was a portion control issue, but more importantly – there was a fiber issue. You see, he had no clue that I replaced the flour with pureed black beans. It wasn’t my sneaky ingredient itself that caused his issues; it was the quantity he chose to consume. A few trips to the bathroom later, as well as a few years and lessons on portion control later, and we can all laugh about this.
I’m still sneaking in foods to fool friends & family, occasionally – but I do not do this if I do not know their food allergy history! New friends always get a full disclaimer on what is in my creations. So, if you have someone you want to fool coming up on April 1st or you just want to boost the nutrition of some familiar foods, here are a few of my go-to’s these days and who they might work for:
Fool: Black Beans
Recommended Consumer: Co-workers
Why the switch? Replace refined carbohydrates with fiber and protein but keep the decadent flavor.
Preparation Details: Black Bean Brownie recipe adapted from http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-black-bean-brownies/)
Food: Macaroni and Cheese
Recommended Consumer: Toddler
Why the switch? Same creamy texture and rich taste but with less fat and more fiber and nutrients.
Preparation Details: Start with a box of whole wheat mac & cheese and cook noodles according to the package directions. While the noodles are draining, add ½-1 cup of pureed cauliflower (if using a white cheese) to the warm pot along with 2-4 Tbsp milk and the cheese packet. Mix until the cheese dissolves and you achieve your desired consistency (start with less veggies and work your way up to more!). Add the noodles back to the pot with the cheese sauce, toss to combine and serve.
Alternative: If you are using a yellow cheese, you can use pureed carrots, butternut squash or sweet potato in place of the cauliflower. I keep ½ cup portions of pureed veggies on hand in my freezer for quick veggie-filled meals!
Food: Ice Cream
Recommended Consumer: Partner or friend
Why the switch? Maintain the texture and mouth feel with no fat, less sugar and more fiber and vitamins.
Preparation Details: When you have bananas on the counter that are past your preferred ripeness, don’t throw them away! Peel them and store properly in the freezer. In a food processor or high-powered blender, simply add in frozen bananas and blend until they are the consistency of ice cream. Two medium bananas usually gives me 1 cup of ‘ice cream’. Top with crushed almonds , peanut butter, or mini chocolate chips and enjoy your fruit-filled frozen dessert!
Some simple swaps make it possible to fool someone and boost the nutrition of familiar foods – just remember to be transparent if food allergies are a possibility.
Do you have experience fooling with food? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
If you prefer to really fool with food, that may or may not be edible, check these out:
I'm a busy mom with a passion for sharing practical advice to help you live the healthy and balanced life you envision. Warning: the information is evidenced-based, but the delivery will often contain humor!