Healthy Desserts: Little Bites, Big Flavor

If it seems like the words healthy and dessert don’t go together, think again.

Healthy Food

By: Kristen Castillo

Who says you can’t have a sweet treat after dinner or as a snack? If you want that goodie, here’s some good-for-you guidance from Healthy Dining’s team of dietitians:

Fresh and Fruity
The essence of dessert is something sweet, a tasty finish to a savory meal. It doesn’t take much to satisfy that craving, either.

Some of the healthiest and most delicious desserts are fruit-based. Think fruit plates with melons like cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew, as well as strawberries, blueberries and pineapple.

Strawberry shortcake, for example, is typically made with fresh berries and angel food cake. Other fruity and refreshing choices include smoothies, low-fat yogurt and fruit parfaits and gelato.

Nuts dusted with cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and even some baked goods like mini muffins, such as blueberry or zucchini, can be rewarding and yummy, too. Just don’t eat too many!

Things to Avoid
Stay away from fried desserts. No matter how healthy the filling is, if the dessert base or shell is fried, realize that every surface of your treat has soaked up extra fat from the fryer. Donuts, for example, are loaded with sugar, fried in grease, and usually topped with more sugar – not very healthy.

Desserts are best when kept sweet and simple. Mindfully savor a single flavor instead of choosing a busy treat with lots of extras and toppings like candy, fudge, whipped cream and sugary drizzles.

Satisfying Sweets
When you do have dessert, keep portions small but enjoy the treat.

For example, if you’re having a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt, make sure the treat is in a small cup. Using a large bowl or plate could make your dessert look too small, causing you to want (and potentially eat) more.

These days, many restaurants are serving small desserts, like mini parfaits, which look and taste great, while providing a delicious ending to a nice meal.

Whether you make the dessert at home or order one while dining out, make sure the portion is realistic. A bite or two can satisfy your craving. If you need to, share the treat with a friend.

So go ahead: have a little dessert. You can indulge your sweet tooth without sabotaging your healthy lifestyle!