How to Make S'mores Healthy
The campfire classic goes guilt-free with this recipe for healthy s'mores.
Roasted over a campfire, a sweet, gooey marshmallow is then paired with velvety chocolate and sandwiched between two graham crackers. As the warm ‘mallow melts the chocolate, a quick pinch merges just three ingredients into the best known and most beloved camping confection. Although the first recorded “recipe” appears in a 1927 Girl Scout handbook, the origins of the s’more are unclear. The combination is easy, fun and iconic. It’s tough to argue with the sweet perfection that is the s’more, but no one has ever claimed they’re good for you. While we hate to trifle with the classics, an increase in bonfire events has led us to rethink our s’mores. Our alterations to the campfire staple may leave purists calling a slumber party foul, but these twists aren’t just healthy, they’re downright delicious.
Replacing the marshmallow in a s’more requires a leap of faith. After all, there’s magic in gingerly roasting the ‘mallow over an open fire to toasty perfection (or setting it on fire and blowing it out, depending on your style). Hold on to that stick. Roasting fruit over a fire softens the flesh and caramelizes sugars, drawing out the natural sweetness in fresh fruit. Bananas, peaches, apples, pears, pineapple, figs and strawberries are all grill-friendly, but to retain the s’more tradition, stick-roasting is encouraged.
If chocolate is a must-have, picking the right chocolate can make a difference. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, may help lower cholesterol and is heart healthy. Chocolate-hazelnut spreads can satisfy a chocolate fix and are a rich source of fiber, protein and calcium. If chocolate isn’t a dealbreaker, peanut and other nut butters provide great flavor, protein and creamy texture without the added sugar.
Swapping out the graham crackers for low-cal alternatives like rice cakes is an easy way to make a difference, but using plain or lightly flavored multi-grain or whole grain flatbread crackers will add welcome complexity to the flavor of your custom-built s’more.
Strawberries and hazelnut spread on sesame crackers, grilled peaches and dark chocolate on rice cakes and roasted bananas and peanut butter on traditional graham crackers are a few of the non-traditional s’mores that went over well here, but the combinations are endless. At your next bonfire, try setting out a buffet of s’more ingredients, both traditional and off the beaten path. It’s not exactly spinach and carrot sticks, but every little bit helps and adding nutritious options to campfire cuisine doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice.