When it comes to quick and easy desserts and snacks, anything that doesn't have to be baked is the bee's knees, in my opinion.
Whether for company, a play date, a road trip, or a potluck, no-bake treats are the perfect last-minute choice — especially if you already keep some key ingredients in your pantry.
One such ingredient is unsweetened, shredded coconut.
There are several reasons why you might consider using unsweetened, shredded coconut in no-bake treats.
1. Coconut Is Low-Carb
There are just 9 grams of carbohydrates in half a cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut.
Contrast that low number with the higher numbers of a few other common base ingredients for healthy treats:
- Whole wheat — 43 grams
- White rice flour — 64 grams
- Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour — 44 grams
If you're trying to live a low-carb lifestyle for weight loss, to lower insulin resistance, for Trim Healthy Mama, or for any other health-related reasons, unsweetened, shredded coconut is a great option for you to still be able to enjoy much-deserved treats!
2. Coconut Is High in Fiber
Gone are the days of dry, tasteless bran muffins to boost fiber intake, thank goodness!
Unsweetened, shredded coconut boasts a pretty hearty serving of fiber in a tasty package — unlike those bran muffins from the 90s.
Coconut actually provides insoluble fiber — the kind that helps with constipation, weight loss, and blood sugar control.
In addition, unsweetened, shredded coconut is rich in a prebiotic fiber known as inulin which promotes good gut health by feeding and encouraging the proliferation of good bacteria in the gut. All the benefits of inulin are retained in no-bake treats because nothing gets destroyed in cooking.
3. Coconut Is Allergy-Friendly
Anybody can be allergic or sensitive to any food, and coconut is no exception. I have come across a few individuals who react when they eat coconut.
However, coconut is considered to be a hypoallergenic food, and allergies to coconut are unusual.
Dairy, gluten, nut/peanut, egg, and soy allergies are far more common.
So many Paleo, GAPS, and grain-free treats are made with almond and other nut flours and therefore, are not allowed for someone who could possibly have a near-death experience just by smelling them.
This is not the case with unsweetened, shredded coconut. You can enjoy no-bake treats without worrying if you're going to need to bust out your epi-pen.
4. Coconut Is Full of Healthy Fat
Unsweetened, shredded coconut is mostly fat — with 90% of that fat being medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs).
MCFAs are FULL of health benefits!
They have been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol, increase satiety, provide an immediate source of usable energy, and increase metabolic rate.
These MCFAs also provide an easily digestible and absorbable form of fat. This is good news for people who struggle with gut issues because MCFAs don't require pancreatic enzymes or bile salts for processing (source).
5. Coconut Pairs Well with Other Flavors
I am not a fan of the flavor of coconut, especially the fake flavor of sweetened coconut from the supermarket or the artificially flavored coconut syrups used in snow cones and other coconut flavored drinks.
A quality unsweetened, shredded coconut does not taste coconut-y, in my opinion. It has a very neutral taste and, therefore, pairs really well with other flavors.
You can make endless varieties of no-bake treats with unsweetened, shredded coconut as the base without worrying if everything is going to taste like coconut, especially if you're not a fan of the coconut flavor.
6. Coconut Is a Frugal Option Especially for Paleo/Grain-Free Treats
Cost is relative, and one person's coconut may cost more or less than another's depending on where they buy their coconut, if they can purchase in bulk, if it's certified organic or not, etc.
The unsweetened, shredded coconut I use is sold for $6.95 per 1-pound bag; there are approximately 8 cups of coconut per bag. That's about $.87 per cup.
Of course, if you're using a grain-based flour, it's going to be even less than unsweetened, shredded coconut — but that's not an option if you're following a low-carb lifestyle or gut-healing diet or just prefer to avoid grains.
And there you have it! 6 wonderful reasons why you should use coconut is no-bake treats!