Aside from the first day of summer, one of the most exciting days June has to offer is National Donut Day, which takes place on June 3. And since there’s nothing more satisfying than a fresh-baked donut, who could say no to celebrating it? Unfortunately, most donuts are packed with ingredients that health experts refer to as anti-nutrients. Loads of refined sugar, unhealthy fats, additives and preservatives wind up in commercially prepared donuts. In fact, just one regular chocolate donut from Krispy Kreme can contain up to 36 grams of refined sugar. That’s the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar! The ingredients listed above are acidifying to the body, and have the potential to leach essential vitamins and minerals from your body (such as calcium) when they’re metabolized. Refined sugar also wreaks havoc on your hormones, digestive system and energy levels, which is a good enough reason to avoid sugary donuts altogether. But luckily, there’s no reason why donuts can’t be made with a healthy twist. With so many different health food ingredients available to us today, donuts can easily become nutritious by making a few simple substitutions. So, don’t say no to celebrating National Donut Day just yet.
We’ve compiled a list of 8 healthy superfood suggestions you can use to make the healthiest and most delicious guilt-free donuts you’ve ever tasted.
1. Use a Gluten-Free Flour
It’s not uncommon to think that gluten-free foods are just some health trend. But the truth is, gluten is a protein found in wheat that can be difficult for the body to digest, which can cause inflammation in the digestive tract. Gluten is a common food intolerance for many people, and can be a major culprit in bloating, abdominal pain headaches and brain fog. In some cases, symptoms of gluten sensitivity are delayed and can show up a few days after it’s been consumed. For this reason, even if you don’t suspect you have a gluten sensitivity, swapping out a glutenous flour (such as wheat, which most donuts are made from) for a gluten-free flour can make a recipe more nutritious. A few gluten-free flours you can try baking with are rice flour, almond flour, or buckwheat.
2. Use a Natural Sweetener
Let’s face it- a donut isn’t a donut if it doesn’t have a hint of sweetness. But you can easily make donuts taste great without a single grain of white sugar. Plenty of natural sweeteners can make any recipe taste delicious, including pure maple syrup, manuka honey, stevia, coconut sugar, and coconut nectar.
3. Add Vitamins and Minerals From Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds pair beautifully with donuts, such as pistachios, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, slivered almonds, and walnuts. Adding nuts or seeds to your healthy donut recipe will provide you with essential vitamins and minerals that help support your immune system and improve your cellular health. Vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and iron are all nutrients that can be found in nuts and seeds. You can add nuts in their whole form to your donuts, or ice them with a nut butter, such as organic almond butter.
4. Protein Powder
Protein helps balance your blood sugar levels, which means you’ll have energy that lasts longer throughout the day. Since protein takes longer to digest, it will also keep your appetite satisfied for longer periods of time. This is why adding a scoop of protein powder to your donut batter is an excellent idea, such as Precision Chocolate Velvet Whey Protein.
5. Use Organic Ingredients
You can instantly enhance the nutritional content of any recipe by using certified organic ingredients. Organic ingredients are guaranteed not to contain high levels of pesticides that many conventionally grown grains, fruits and vegetables are sprayed with.
6. Choose 70% Dark Chocolate or Higher
Chocolate lovers, rejoice. Dark chocolate contains nutrients such as magnesium and antioxidants called polyphenols which help improve cellular health. So, if chocolate donuts are your jam, there’s no need to leave the chocolate out of your donut recipe. Simply swap out milk chocolate for dark chocolate. The only catch is that it must be 70% dark chocolate or higher.
7. Add Coconut Oil
Donut recipes are sure to call for a type of fat, such as a vegetable oil like sunflower or canola oil (which can negatively impact hormones with their imbalanced ratio of omega 6 essential fatty acids to omega 3 essential fatty acids). But you can easily swap out vegetable oils with a healthier alternative, such as coconut oil. Coconut oil acts as a natural antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial thanks to a component it contains called lauric acid.
8. Add substance with Sweet Potatoes, Banana or Plantains
If your donut recipe is begging for a little more substance and flavour, why not use an energizing complex carbohydrate such as sweet potato to thicken up your mixture? You may also want to use ingredients such as bananas, plantains or apple sauce which will add fiber to your donut recipe (to help improve digestive health), and offer up their mouth-watering natural sweetness. As you can see, turning donuts into a health food is easy. And who knows- with all the customizable superfood options, you may never want to eat a store-bought donut again.