Can desserts fit into your healthy eating plan? Can you really have that chocolate chip cookie or lemon bar? The answer is YES! Desserts can fit into any healthy eating plan or lifestyle.
All Foods Can Fit
The motto “all foods fit” is good to remember. With this motto, you can incorporate your favorite treat into your plan. How does this work? Combine a variety of choices throughout your day. If you want to have some dessert in the evening, have a little less at dinner or choose a lighter lunch to balance the day out. No one person and no eating plan is perfect, but this is a good way to balance your meals and eat treats in moderation.
Pay attention to portion sizes and try to eat smaller portions of dessert. This way, you can get that sweet taste you want while not completely indulging. It’s the best of both worlds. Some people find that adding in what you want to eat in small amounts is a great compromise.
Find Ways to Modify
When baking sweets, there are many options to reduce the amount of calories and fat.
- Instead of oil or butter, use bananas, Greek yogurt or heart-healthy oils (olive, avocado).
- Instead of heavy cream, use evaporated skim milk or avocado.
- Reduce sugar. Cut sugar by 25% without noticing a difference.
Substitute and Add
Consider adding a nutrient-dense ingredient to your dessert to bump up the health benefits.
- Are you craving chocolate? Try a chocolate-covered strawberry. You will get a touch of natural sweetness as well as nutrients from the strawberry. Use dark chocolate for extra antioxidants.
- Are you looking for something creamy? Try fresh fruit with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Are you looking for a cool treat? Try low-fat frozen yogurt with nuts sprinkled on top for protein and healthy fats.
- Trying a baked good? Try whole-grain or almond flour instead of white flour for more protein, vitamin E and Manganese.
Healthier Oatmeal Cookies
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate, plus more for topping
Preheat oven to 350° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until the product is light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and applesauce until combined. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in dried cherries and chocolate.
Using a large cooking scoop, arrange balls of dough on prepared baking sheet, two inches apart. Gently flatten each ball slightly. Top with more chocolate.
Bake until golden around edges, about 12 minutes.
Take some time to enjoy the sweetness of life this month!