Tag Archives: Healthy Desserts

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)

 

Healthy Desserts

People of all ages enjoy desserts at the very least and many actually love dessert.  An ordinary dinner is better when dessert is part of the menu . . . and when the dessert is healthy, tasty and satisfying, that is even better.

Fresh Fruit Cup
Image by Susan Smith

Why are desserts so appealing?  Parents often use the promise of dessert to get their children to eat vegetables, etc. As the children grow older, desserts become the reward for a job well done, or used as a way to feel better when the blues set in, or even become a delicious habit that is difficult to change (or there is no desire to change). Some desserts – especially sweets and chocolate – can become an addiction that feels impossible to break. As a result, the desire for desserts is often seen in a negative light. In fact, rather than enjoying every bite, many people feel guilty when eating dessert because it has been pounded into their heads that desserts are bad for the body.

The good news is that all sweet foods are not bad for you. In moderation, desserts of all kinds are OK.  Of course, that means smart choices must be made. For example, fatty desserts should be eaten in small portions.

How would you like to enjoy dessert more often without worrying about the sugar and fat content or the calories?  Contrary to general belief, desserts do not have to be sugary sweet and filled with empty calories. There are many healthy dessert choices that do not fit that description.

Healthy Dessert Ideas

  1. Fruit and nuts – Fresh fruit is naturally sweet and can be a satisfying finish to any meal. Fruit can be served plain (whole) or peeled and sliced.  For an extra flair, top the fruits with various mixtures of nuts and a little brown sugar – OR – try my family’s favorite – fruit lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar and finished with a dollop of sour cream. Sliced pears and peaches are particularly tasty when topped with sour cream and nuts.

Finely chopped walnuts, pecans, and almond slivers are popular choices. But all nuts are filled with nutrients that improve health, including the cognitive function of the brain. (For more information on the subject, check out my book, Power Up Your Brain.)

Baked apples filled with brown sugar, nuts, and raisins mixed with a little butter can be a taste-delight reminiscent of a mini-apple pie (but healthier).

Finally, offer a nice selection of nuts to nibble on as the family sits around the table after dinner with cups of  fresh hot coffee.

  1. Dark chocolate – Current research shows that dark chocolate in moderation has many health benefits. Melt your own dark chocolate into candy molds and create lollipop treats for yourself and the kids. Also try dipping fresh strawberries in dark chocolate for a sweet finish for any meal or a tasty after school snack.
  1. Fruit ice – Make your own shaved ice with fruit juice or buy low-fat lemon ice pops that can usually be found at the grocery store. They have fewer calories than ice cream pops and are filled with fruit sweetness.
  1. Strawberry shortcake – Angel food cake and fresh strawberries with a small dollop of fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream is a treat for anyone. For an even healthier dessert, bake your own cake and top with fresh strawberries sweetened with Stevia*, which creates a sweet syrup from the strawberries.
  1. Parfaits – These are not only a treat to the palate, but a treat to the eyes.  They can be made with diced or sliced fruit and layered with lightly sweetened (with Stevia*) whipped cream or homemade vanilla pudding made with skim milk. For a yummy chocolate treat – layer the parfait with homemade chocolate pudding (made with skim milk), and top with a little whipped cream and a few chocolate cookie crumbs or granola.
  1. Fruit pizzas – Make sugar cookie dough and roll out like small pizzas.  The “sauce” is made with cream cheese lightly sprinkled with sugar. You can also try pure peanut butter, low fat cream cheese (or a mixture of the two) topped with slices of your favorite fruit (sliced bananas, blueberries, strawberries, etc.).
  1. Gelatin – This is a long-standing family dessert that many of us remember from childhood. Make your favorite gelatin and add complementary fruit pieces  (strawberry-flavored gelatin with strawberries and bananas). Serve topped with whipped cream or light sour cream – sprinkled with finely chopped nuts or shredded coconut.

Keep your family healthier by making your own desserts from scratch for better flavor and fewer calories – without all the additives. ENJOY!

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”12″ size_format=”px”]*Stevia comes from a plant that contains natural sweeteners that are used in foods and has a negligible effect on blood glucose.[/typography]

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