Healthy Desserts

When people are looking for ways to eat healthy, a big challenge is “giving up desserts.”  Even the thought of it can be agonizing. But . . . the good new is, there are some excellent options for healthy desserts.

The first step to facing such a big challenge is to make a full commitment to a healthier diet and a healthier life. Once your commitment is solid, there are ways to approach the “sweets” challenge and win. You simply have to learn to be creative in your choices.

Below are some options that work well for me.

Fruit – The Natural Sweet Treat

Fresh, ripe fruits are a wonderfFresh Fruitully healthy choice.  They are naturally sweet and filled with nutrients. They are low in fat, sodium, calories and have no cholesterol.

You can splurge on the expensive power fruits like guava, mangosteen, acai, and goji; but, my recommendation is to stay with the delicious fruits that are readily available. Enjoy oranges, apples, grapes, dried prunes, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, tangerines, and grapefruit. These fruits are not only yummy, each one has its own unique disease-fighting capability.

Plus, there are other more seasonal fruits like kiwi, apricots, nectarines and peaches (my favourite). There is nothing tastier than a fresh peach, sprinkled lightly with Stevia and a touch of cream . . . So-o-o-o-o good!

All Natural Nut Butters (Almond and Peanut)

These can be eaten alone – a teaspoonful eaten slowly is a great way to satisfy your sweet craving after dinner. They are also excellent on a slice of whole-grain bread or a few crackers.

Read labels and make sure you are buying all natural nut butters! Avoid those that contain additives, sugar, hydrogenated oil, stabilizers or preservatives – they are not healthy choices. The label should read:  peanuts; less than 1% salt (nothing more)

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate 70%This is a treat you can enjoy on occasion – in small amounts!  A 1-oz piece a couple of times a week is great. Be careful not to get carried away.  Please note – we are talking about DARK chocolate and it must be at least 70% cocoa. Do not interpret this to mean that you should eat any kind of chocolate. Much of it is sugary c _ _ _ that you do not want to put into your body.

Studies show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease – so you are satisfying your sweet tooth and doing something good for your body.

To add a little extra spice to your dessert, try topping the chocolate with pure almond butter or natural peanut butter (with no additives).

Homemade Banana Ice Cream

This is a dessert that you can make quickly and easily – and costs pennies. All you need are very ripe bananas (brown spots are perfect). Peel and slice into a heavy-duty plastic bag and freeze.  Then, when you are ready for a tasty, sweet dessert, pull out the bag and run the frozen bananas through your food processor (I use my Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer) to make a creamy dessert that resembles ice cream.  Eat it plain, or add a little natural peanut butter, cinnamon, or dark cocoa bits. YUM!

If you want a dessert that is more like a sorbet – add frozen berries into the mix when processing.

Ingredient Exchange

By changing out unhealthy ingredients in your favourite recipes, you can create much healthier desserts.
•    Try replacing oil with applesauce for baked goods.
•    Learn to cook with Stevia as a replacement for sugar.
•    Always used fresh ingredients and cook from scratch rather than using packaged mixes.

Try New Recipes

Vegan Whipped Cream found on VeganJournal.com.

Chocolate Pudding found on Babble.com
Ingredients
•    1 can coconut milk
•    4-6 pitted dates
•    Baking cocoa
Directions
•    Place a can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight. This will let coconut cream sink to the bottom (top) of the can.
•    With the can upside down, open the bottom of the can with a can opener.
•    Use the lid to carefully strain the liquid into a bowl, leaving the coconut cream in the bottom of the can.
•    Slice the pitted dates into small pieces and blend with a small amount of coconut milk liquid in the blender until very fine.
•    Add the coconut cream to the blender with 2 tablespoons of Baking Cocoa and blend until it reaches a smooth, creamy, pudding consistency.
•    Scrap the sides frequently, and add more coconut milk liquid as needed.

These are just a few of the ideas you can try. There is an abundance of ideas on the Internet to help you eat healthier, and enjoy your new, healthier lifestyle. Do your research and finds ideas that work for you and your family.

Photo Credit (fruit): Fruit Bowl via photopin (license)
Photo Credit (chocolate): Amedei. Chuao via photopin (license)