Calling all dessert lovers!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am what some call a “chocoholic” – offer me anything chocolate or sweet, and it’s pretty hard for me to say no! Unfortunately, some of the best tasting desserts out there are loaded with sugar, saturated fat, and all sorts of other nutritional evils.  So what’s a health conscious person such as myself to do when the sugar cravings strike? Here are some lighter and/or healthier options that I’ve discovered that are a bit more “guilt-free.”

 

“Ice cream” sandwiches – for the ice cream lovers out there, here is a great idea to try.  All you need are some reduced fat graham crackers (I prefer chocolate, but honey or cinnamon are good too!) and a tub of fat free cool whip.  Spread a layer of cool whip on one cracker sheet, then place another sheet on top.  Seal in plastic bags and and chill in the freezer for a few hours.  Simple and delicious!

 

Dark chocolate and nuts – one of my personal favorites.  I grab a small handful of almonds and a couple of Dove dark chocolate squares – not only do I get my chocolate fix, but this snack is also very satisfying because of the protein and fiber from the nuts.  Antioxidants from the dark chocolate are an added bonus!

Fresh fruit – there’s nothing better than the fresh berries, peaches, or melons that the summer brings.  Chop, toss in a bowl, and top with a spray of fat-free whipped cream – yummm.  Sometimes I’ll also add a sprinkle of cinnamon and some granola for added flavor and crunch.

 

Banana pops – Quick, easy, and tasty! You need three bananas, some  honey, six popsicle sticks, and any toppings of your choosing (mini chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbles, coconut, chopped nuts, Rice Krispies, etc.).  Cut each banana in half (crosswise) and then insert the popsicle sticks into the cut ends.  Spread a thin layer of honey over each banana half using a pastry brush or a knife, then roll each one in the toppings you chose.  Arrange on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and then freeze them for a few hours until you’re ready to eat!

 

Finally, check out this great recipe for chunky peach popsicles (recommended by a Registered Dietitian, I might add):

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20110727/LIFE/307270035/From-the-Dietitian-Make-freezer-pops-at-home

 

Bottom line? Dessert doesn’t have to be completely “off-limits” when you are trying to stay healthy.  The key is moderation! Using nutritious ingredients like nuts or fruit can be a satisfying alternative to a candy bar or a McFlurry.  Try a couple of the ideas above or get creative and come up with your own healthier sweet treats.

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