Enjoy Dessert Without Hurting Your Health

Enjoy dessert without hurting your health

With strategic choices and careful planning, you can enjoy treats as part of a balanced diet.

Desserts are often piled high with calories, fat, and added sugar — so caution is essential. Excess calories, added sugars, and too much saturated fat can lead to chronic disease, so the trick is to find desserts that don’t sabotage an overall healthy diet.

Here’s some tips to enjoy dessert without compromising your health:

  • Eat smaller dessert portions
  • Eat out of smaller dishes and take smaller bites to slow down
  • Eat a balanced meal first. If you’re already full, you won’t eat as much dessert
  • If you’re planning to eat dessert, eat fewer calories and sugar in your regular meal
  • Only eat treats you really enjoy. Don’t waste calories on dessert you don’t actually want!
  • Skip desserts at restaurants — the calorie, sugar, and fat content can be outrageous
  • Don’t have dessert after every meal — save it for special occasions

Healthier dessert ideas:

  • Grilled fruit with ricotta cheese
  • Blended frozen bananas, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla
  • Dark chocolate with whole-grain pretzels
  • No-bake cookies with oatmeal, peanut butter, cocoa powder, sugar-free syrup, and vanilla
  • Sugar-free pudding and graham cracker parfait

RELATED: The Most Amazing Fruit Pie Ever! (recipe)

Here’s some recommendations to makeover your favorite dessert with a few easy swaps:

  • Substitute nonfat, low-sugar yogurt for ice-cream or whipped cream
  • Use stevia in place of some or all sugar
  • Use applesauce or pumpkin puree instead of butter or oil
  • Add flax seeds or toasted nuts to any dessert to add flavor and crunch
  • Use whole-grain flour instead of refined flour in baking

RELATED: Grill Well with Sweet Grilled Fruit Kabobs