Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Avocado Pudding

We are unabashedly a home of peanut butter lovers.  Other butters are also good, but for me, nothing beats the taste of good old fashioned peanut butter.  We devour apples and peanut butter, easy homemade peanut butter granola, chocolate peanut butter [veggie] smoothies, and now, a new favorite, chocolate peanut butter banana avocado pudding. 

When we went gluten-free, we also cut down on our dairy intake--you know, except for my cheese problem {update: see how I quit cheese here}... and wanted to examine all of the packaged food products we consumed.  So, like I recommended for the Food Label Challenge, I read everything before deciding whether it had a place in our cabinets and fridge.  Prior to that, ice cream or pudding was a fairly regular treat.  After looking at a conventional pudding box, here's what we saw:

Ingredients of Jell-O Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix: Sugar, Modified Food Starch,* Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Disodium Phosphate (For Thickening), Contains Less Than 2% Of Natural And Artificial Flavor, Salt, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (For Thickening), Mono- And Diglycerides (Prevent Foaming), Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Artificial Color, BHA (Preservative).

(*Modified food starch is sometimes gluten-free, sometimes not.  If you're interested, see this article on that, but we thought even though it may be delicious, it's out.)

Look at all that stuff plus the coloring.  Hmmm.  I knew I could do better.  So, here, in a modification of a delicious banana ice cream attempt gone horribly right, is chocolate peanut butter banana avocado pudding.

What you need:
measuring cup and spoon
good knife
cutting board
food processor with steel blade attachment

1 (refrigerated) ripe banana (ours was ripe before refrigeration, so it's brown, but do not worry--it's good!)
1 ripe avocado
3 T unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
2 T peanut butter or powdered peanut butter**
1/3 c chocolate almond milk
(optional: 1/2- 1 T honey or agave)
(optional: berries for garnish)

Combine all banana, avocado, cacao, peanut butter, and part of the almond milk in food processor.

Process and add in milk for desired consistency.

Serve.  Top with berries and enjoy.

** In terms of peanut butter vs. powdered peanut butter, here are some considerations.

Organic Smooth Unsalted Peanut Butter:
Ingredients: Organic peanuts.

In 2 TB, 190 calories, 16 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 5 mg sodium, 7 g carb, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 8 g protein

Organic Powdered Peanut Butter:
Ingredients: Organic peanuts, organic coconut sugar, sea salt.

In 2 TB, 45 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g sat. fat, 90 mg sodium, 5 g carb, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar,4 g protein

But, as FoodBabe suggests in this PB2 post, because powdered peanut butter is not a whole food, the real thing will always be better for your overall health, in moderation.  You can also substitute your favorite nut butter in the recipe for a different taste.  Choose what is best for you.

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Health Benefits:

banana: famously contains potassium, also provide vitamin B6 and C, as well as manganese

avocado: helps absorb carotenoid antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene, high in anti-inflammatory fats and oleic acid (read about that here), promotes heart health, assists with blood sugar regulation, supports anti-inflammation and anti-cancer benefits, and supports cardiovascular health

cacao: supplies antioxidants, mood enhancement, and magnesium

almond milk: high in fiber, provides vitamins E, D, and A, non-dairy and easier to digest for those with allergies or intolerances

peanut butter: though some have strong allergic reactions to peanuts, they can be part of a very healthy diet; peanuts contain heart-healthy mono-saturated fats, antioxidants, vitamin E, niacin, manganese, protein, folate, and help to protect against gallstones, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline

local honey: believed to boost immunity and reduce allergies, as well as providing vitamins B6 and C

What is your favorite healthy dessert?

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