There are a few foods that make me extraordinarily happy: chocolate, bananas, and peanut butter. Each are magnificent independently and superb when combined. As a child, I can remember eating Jiffy peanut butter smeared on my pancakes. Better yet, throw a few chocolate chips into the batter and you have one incredible breakfast treat.

Zoom ahead a few years, okay, more than a few. Now I seek healthy choices that satisfy and still provide a clean treat. That’s where Thirsty Thursday’s Chocolate Nut Butter Banana Shake enters the picture. My children and hubby adore this creation. The first time tasted, and none of them realized it was dairy free! Of course, I finally let them in on my secret and yet they each think this clean, plant-based shake STILL tastes better than the “real deal!”

And that’s an interesting situation. The thought that a food or drink is indulgent is key for satisfaction. And now according to recent research, the idea that your food is indulgent also allows you to gain additional health benefits. It all starts with your thought process and mindset!

A 2011 study at Yale University’s Department of Psychology, found that the hunger hormone, ghrelin, was mediated by mindset! They found that ghrelin levels (hunger levels) of participants decreased following consumption of a 380 calorie milkshake that was labelled “indulgent” with 620 calories, yet ghrelin did not decrease following consumption of the identical milkshake when it was labelled “sensible, 140-calories.” These findings suggest that preconceptions regarding diet composition, even when they are inaccurate, can affect the brain and ghrelin responses to the diet, and therefore, possibly energy intake as well.

Who would’ve thought mindset was critical to hunger cues and energy! Your mindset is a powerful and underutilized tool!

And so why not package a healthy shake with one that tastes and looks indulgent? That’s exactly what I’ve done here! You will love it, and so will your whole family.

Get ready for a yummy and indulgent chocolate shake…and to be your kids’ hero!

CHOCOLATE NUT BUTTER BANANA SHAKE

INGREDIENTS for two shakes

(for a more sugar free option, omit the maple syrup/agave nectar and vegan chocolate syrup drizzle)

2 frozen bananas
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave nectar  (optional)
2 Tablespoons raw, unprocessed Cacao powder
1/4 cup pure nut butter – peanut, almond, etc…
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7-8 ice cubes

For garnishing: Vegan chocolate syrup (available at health food stores), chopped nuts

DIRECTIONS: throw all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix and blend until all ingredients are incorporated and completely smooth. Drizzle chocolate syrup around glasses, fill each with shake mixture and top with a dab of nut butter or an extra bit of chocolate syrup. Straws are required!