If you’re looking for a surefire way to ensure that your diet fails, it’s to restrict yourself too much. Many fad diets will tell you to cut sugar and dessert out of your life altogether. However, this is both unnecessary and unrealistic.
You can absolutely have dessert and still maintain optimal health and a trim physique. The trick is to choose your desserts wisely. There’s nothing wrong with having an ice cream sundae or a brownie every now and then. But if you want to have dessert more often, you need to learn about making healthy desserts.
With a few tips and healthy dessert ideas, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without throwing your health and your progress out the window. To learn everything you need to know about preparing guilt-free treats, just keep reading!
- Make Your Own Desserts
One of the best things you can do to ensure that your desserts are healthier and keep your daily calorie intake within a good range is to prepare them yourself. The average grocery store is packed with a variety of pre-packaged baked goods and treats, but these are loaded with excess sugars, chemicals, and additives.
Now, when we say make your own desserts, we aren’t talking about the box of brownies that you add egg and oil to and “make yourself.” We’re talking about truly preparing your desserts from scratch.
In doing so, you have complete control over what goes into your dessert and what stays out. You can do research into things like the benefits of adding a bit of spinach to your milkshake or “Cinnamon: Verum vs Ceylon” and design your desserts accordingly.
- Swap Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate
Both milk and dark chocolate are made from the beans of the cacao tree. However, the processing of these chocolates makes two very different finished products.
The process of making milk chocolate involves removing most of the original cocoa bean and adding milk solids, sugar, and cream. This diminishes the chocolate’s nutritional quality, as all of the nutrients come from the cocoa bean itself.
Dark chocolate goes through less alteration, leaving it with a higher percentage of cocoa and a greater nutritional value. Much of the benefits of dark chocolate come from the flavonoids found in cocoa. These are antioxidants also found in fruits and vegetables that help to regulate blood pressure, maintain glucose levels, and prevent inflammation.
Keep in mind that not all dark chocolates are created equally. To get the benefits, you need to choose high-quality chocolate that is at least 65% cacao.
- Ditch the White Sugar
Refined white sugar is one of the worst ingredients you can put into your body. It’s addictive, devoid of nutrients, and causes your blood sugar levels to spike and then fall, leading to an energy crash.
Luckily, there are a variety of ingredients that will add the sweetness you’re looking for while being far healthier than refined white sugar.
Natural options such as maple syrup and honey are excellent for boosting the vitamin and mineral content of your desserts. They’re also easier to digest and have a lower glycemic index, meaning your blood sugar levels will remain stable.
A few other healthier sweeteners include malt syrup, rice syrup, and wheat syrup. These are not only better for you than white sugar but are sweeter as well, allowing you to use fewer sweeteners and achieve the same taste.
- Load up on Fruit
Fruit is known as nature’s candy, yet many of us don’t consider fruit to be particularly sweet. This is because our taste buds have adapted to the incredibly high sugar content of processed desserts.
When you begin to make healthier choices, you’ll likely find that fruit is much sweeter than you once thought. You might even find processed options such as doughnuts and cakes too sweet.
Thankfully, sneaking fruit in desserts isn’t difficult, as they’re a fantastic pair. For example, you can top a meringue with a heap of berries to increase its nutritional value.
If you want to take it a step further, you can replace certain ingredients and whole desserts with fruits. One example is replacing oil with unsweetened applesauce. Applesauce adds moisture and flavor without the excess fat and calories. You’ll also get a shot of fiber and vitamin C!
And believe it or not, you can make ice cream with bananas rather than cream and sugar. You’ll be amazed by how much it tastes like traditional ice cream.
- Replace White Flour
Read any traditional dessert recipe and you’ll see that all-purpose flour is one of the main ingredients. This is processed white wheat flour that, like white sugar, has been stripped of its nutrients.
Instead of all-purpose white flour, try using whole wheat flour or almond flour in your recipes. These will have a small impact on the taste but will do wonders for the nutritional content of your desserts.
Almond flour, for instance, will add protein to your treats while whole wheat flour increases the fiber content. If you’re concerned about the flavor almond flour will impart on your desserts, you can use a combination of the two to decrease the impact.
Use These Tips to Start Making Healthy Desserts Today
The bulk of a healthy diet is made up of whole, nutrient-dense foods. When you think of this type of diet, food choices like salads and green juice probably come to mind. But just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it has to be boring or unsatisfying.
By equipping yourself with the knowledge you need to start making healthy desserts, you can prepare treats that are not only delicious but nutritious as well.
Interested in learning more about improving your health through positive diet choices? Take a look at our blog!