There are few culinary creations that excite and tempt our senses more than a macaron. This delicate, rich, colorful, and delicious snack can be more than just a sweet treat. It can also be part of a well-balanced, gluten-free diet. How, you ask, can such a delightful indulgence be good for you? The answer is found in the simple ingredients along with a mindful and responsible incorporation to the dietary lifestyle.
The Secret is in Simplicity
You may be asking yourself, how can macarons be so delectable and, at the same time, healthy for you? The answer to this question is found primarily in the limited number and type of ingredients used to make authentic macarons. The main ingredients in making the shells of French macarons are egg whites, almond flour, and powdered sugar. That’s it, just three simple ingredients and no preservatives!
Egg whites are carefully whipped into a stiff meringue that is vital to crafting a perfect macaron shell. To the meringue is then added almond flour and powdered sugar to give a macaron its signature flavor and consistency, which should be airy, with a slight crunch and overall chewiness. The best part about egg whites is that they offer some specific health benefits, such as high protein, which can help curb your appetite and low-calorie content.
- High in protein — 4g of protein per egg (67% of the protein found in eggs)
- Low in calories — only 18 calories per large egg
- Low in fat — almost no fat which contributes to the low calorie count
- Zero cholesterol — the cholesterol found in eggs is all in the yolk
Using almond flour instead of wheat flour in making macarons makes them naturally gluten-free, high in protein, fiber, and low in carbohydrates. Almond flour is what keeps macarons from being dry and crumbly, and without it, they would lose their distinct flavor and texture. Additionally, almond flour helps lower bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, and contains several other beneficial nutrients.
2Tbs of Almond flour contains the following vitamins, minerals, and nutrients:
- Vitamin E: 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowance
- Magnesium: 10% RDA
- Dietary Fiber: 2g per serving
- Protein: 3g per serving
The third ingredient of a French macaron is powdered sugar, which is similar to, yet different from, confectioner’s sugar. This finely ground sugar contributes to the stability and smooth texture of the meringue. While definitively the least healthy ingredient in the meringue shell, sugar does have some overlooked health benefits (in moderation, of course).
- As a simple carbohydrate, it provides a quick energy boost.
- Glucose is a fuel source for the brain and is important for cognitive function.
- The dopamine rush triggered by sugar can rapidly boost your mood.
Made Complete with Sweet, Delicious Fillings
In the past, macarons were sometimes enjoyed as simple cookies, but today, nearly all macarons are served as a dessert sandwich with a delicious filling in the middle. These fillings can include chocolate ganache, coconut, buttercream, and jams, and truly make the macaron complete. While generally considered the least healthy part of the macaron, many of the fillings are derived from natural fruits or can be made with sugar-free and keto recipes.
Even with the tasty fillings, macarons are still healthier desserts when compared to other sweets, such as cupcakes. For instance, three macarons have around 210-300 calories compared to a single cupcake with around 400 calories.
Beyond Physical: The Added Psychological Benefits
The benefits of responsibly enjoying macarons can extend beyond those that are dietary in nature. When incorporated into a balanced diet, these remarkable confections can also have a positive psychological impact:
- Stress Reduction: When enjoyed mindfully, a macaron can produce feelings of pleasure and relaxation, thus reducing stress.
- Disrupting Cravings: Small, mindful indulgences such as macarons can help prevent cravings, overindulgence, and binge eating later on.
- Social Interactions: Macarons make great gifts, so sharing or swapping them with friends, relatives, or coworkers can create lasting memories and build relationships.
Macarons: Enjoy Quality Over Quantity
The most important thing to remember when considering macarons’ health benefits is being mindful and responsible. It is possible to savor these delicious gluten-free snacks without overindulgence and minimizing the health benefits. It all comes down to balance.
- Treat Yourself: Consider macarons as a treat to be eaten on special occasions, or in celebration of big achievements, not as an everyday sweet.
- Slow Down: When eating macarons, immerse yourself in the full experience of the colors, textures, and flavors. Slow down and take it all in.
- Control is Key: Enjoy portion control when enjoying your favorite macarons. Savor each tiny bite and let it melt slowly in your mouth, releasing a symphony of flavors.
- Pair Up: Consider enjoying macarons with something else, like a cup of coffee or tea, or with some sugar-free yogurt to enhance the experience.
Macarons are the Perfect Treat, with Benefits
Isn’t it nice to know that you can satisfy your sweet tooth and enjoy macarons as a delightful and healthy part of a low-carb diet? Taking advantage of their simple ingredients and applying a mindful approach to indulgence, macarons can be guilt-free as part of a balanced diet and health-conscious lifestyle.
Treat yourself today by finding the nearest Le Macaron French Pastries location near you. If there’s not one in your local area, consider a better option of opening your own Le Macaron French Pastries franchise and never be without your favorite delicate treat again. For more information about becoming a franchise owner, fill out the inquiry form on our website.