For many reasons, it’s important to follow a healthy diet. For some, it’s necessary to maintain a healthy weight. But even if you are blessed with a great metabolism, to maintain energy and good health you can’t afford to subsist on junk food or to skimp too much on nutritious food. Unfortunately, we all have a pitfall when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet. Many people struggle with snacks, opting for potato chips or candy to quickly satisfy a craving. If snacks are your obstacle to healthy eating, check out this article on “Healthy Snacking“. Other people, myself included, suffer from a sweet tooth which is only satisfied with dessert. I have good news for you too! There are lots of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your weight management goals and without filling your body with empty calories and harmful chemicals.
Below is a list of good dessert options if health is important to you. Some are better choices than others, but if you are craving a death by chocolate cake, some of the healthier options might not help you. So, the seemingly “unhealthy” desserts listed below are better choices than their diet-smashing, health-defying counterparts.
- Pudding made with skim milk (you can buy low-fat pudding at the store, but if you can make your own it’s even better for you since you’ll avoid a lot of the unhealthy additives)
- Pudding pops (make your own pudding with skim milk and them freeze in popsicle molds)
- Popsicles made from fruit juice or fruit purees
- Angel food cake (topped with berries—I buy frozen berries and thaw them in the microwave which creates a nice syrup that soaks into the cake)
- Mousse (chocolate, raspberry, lemon—whatever flavor you choose, you can enjoy it with far fewer calories than a cake or pie version)
- Grilled or baked fruit (e.g. apples with cinnamon, pineapple with brown sugar)
- Frozen yogurt (best if you can freeze your own, but if you buy it premade try to choose one with ingredients you recognize and can pronounce)
- Fat-free Greek or regular yogurt with toppings (see “Yogurt Topping Ideas”)
- Creamy fruit & yogurt parfait (combine low-fat cream cheese with vanilla yogurt and honey, layer in between berries)
- Brown-sugar sautéed bananas
- Chocolate-covered bananas or strawberries (melt semisweet chocolate chips then drizzle over banana slices or strawberries)
- Ricotta desserts (these are great if you are a cheesecake lover because you get the same texture and flavor but with far fewer calories)
- Chocolate: ½ c ricotta + ½ tsp cocoa powder + ¼ tsp vanilla extract + 1 pkg Splenda + small handful of mini chocolate chips
- Vanilla: ½ c ricotta + ¼ tsp vanilla extract + 1 pkg Splenda
- Lemon: ½ c ricotta + ¼ tsp lemon zest + ¼ tsp vanilla extract + 1 pkg Splenda
Of course, what fun is life if you deprive yourself of the things you love most? So if you really want to enjoy a hot fudge brownie sundae or a slice of cheesecake, by all means indulge yourself ONCE IN AWHILE. But if you are like me and crave something sweet every day, try the options above to keep you on track towards good health. As always, if you have your own favorite that isn’t on my list, please share it in the comments.