The one question I get asked more than anything is probably, “How can I stay healthy while eating dessert?”
While I do think it’s important to limit sugar, I’m not sure a life completely void of sugar is one I want to live. So here are some ways to get that fix:
- Obvious answer: try eating fruit instead of sweets, but make it a little bit more fun. Try an apple with nut butter or caramel, a banana with a few dark chocolate chips on each bite, etc. I love cutting a banana up into bite-size pieces and then putting one or two chocolate chips and a piece of walnut on each one. Healthy but still decadent. You can also try dried fruit (I loooove dried mango). It’s a lot sweeter than fresh fruit… just watch the portions because it’s pretty calorie dense.
- Freeze part or whole-fat yogurt as a portion-controlled substitute for ice cream. I like using Stonyfield’s YoBaby for this. It’s all organic, tastes really creamy, and is made for babies so it’s delicious. If you put it in the freezer for a few hours, it won’t have the same great consistency of ice cream, but it’ll taste pretty freaking close. And with 110 calories, it’s great portion control. You can also freeze your other favorite kinds of yogurt or pudding.
- While we’re talking about freezing, freezing is an instant dessert-maker. Freeze mini candy bars, freeze a banana (dipped in some dark chocolate, preferably), whatever. We eat frozen food more slowly, so you’re more likely to savor it. And for whatever reason, it just feels more like dessert. You can also make your own popsicles with juice and chunks of fruit.
- Speaking of which, popsicles are another good option. I like frozen desserts because, besides ice cream, they’re already pre-portioned AND they take longer to eat. I love basically all the Skinny Cow products. Edy’s Whole Fruit bars are also delicious.
- Get some REALLY dark chocolate. I’m not a huge chocolate freak, but I like it. I find that it’s hard for me to eat more than one small piece of really dark chocolate (70% or more cacao) at a time. Get a nice bar of flavored chocolate (I like Voges’ Red Fire Bar) and eat a piece in place of dessert. Delicious AND contains antioxidants!
- My lamest suggestion: gum. Sometimes if I’ve really had too much to eat and don’t have any extra calories left for dessert, I’ll chew some gum. If you get a fun flavor, it might work for like an hour… and then you’ll just really want a cookie. But sometimes if I chew for long enough, the craving passes.
- Another desperate idea: tea. If I have some fruity tea with cream a bit of honey, it takes awhile to sip on and it sometimes eases that craving for something sweet.
I hope this gives you some ideas. It’s also not crazy to practice resisting the craving for something sweet every once in awhile, just to avoid getting in the habit of always needing it after a meal. I think it’s too late for me, but save yourselves!
Oh, and don’t forget: every once in awhile, you need to indulge in a good, preferably homemade dessert. Just not on the regular.