As someone with a sweet tooth, I know that only the real, sugary deal will suffice sometimes. As a dietitian, you’ll be pleased to hear that I think these foods can be a part of a healthy eating plan.
The trick, however, is to enjoy them mindfully and occasionally (read: not every day of the week). As boring as it sounds, moderation really is key.
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That being said, it can pay to have some healthier sweet recipes up your sleeve that’ll satisfy a sweet craving without all of the indulgent kilojoules, sugar and saturated fat typical sweets provide.
So, in honour of International Dessert Day, here are five healthier dessert ideas to try when you’re looking for something a little on the lighter side.
1. Nice cream ice blocks
Healthier ice cream = ‘nice’ cream. Made from ripe bananas that have been frozen and then blitzed in a food processor until smooth, nice cream is a surprisingly creamy alternative to traditional iced confectionary.
You can add any flavours to your banana mixture that tickle your fancy – I like to use mixed berries or frozen mango, or both! Once blended, pop the mixture into ice block moulds and freeze again, and you’ve got a better-for-you ‘ice cream’ on your hands.
2. Chocolate bliss balls
Made with dried fruit, nuts and cocoa powder for a chocolatey spin, bliss balls are absolutely delicious. The trick with them, however, is to make them small and not demolish a whole batch at once.
Although they’re made with healthy ingredients, they can be quite calorie-dense. I’d also suggest skipping the coconut oil that is often called for in bliss ball recipes, because it’s packed with unhealthy fats.
3. Peanut butter filled dates
Rich in heart-healthy fats and plant-based protein, peanut butter is a staple in any healthy kitchen.
I’d recommend a ‘natural’ variety made with 100 per cent peanuts instead of the type of peanut butter you probably ate as a littley (read: one made with lots of added sugars, oils and salt). When the sweet craving calls, halve a date or two and fill them with a teaspoon of PB. Delish.
4. Berry chia pudding
Chia seeds might be tiny, but they deliver B-I-G health benefits. They’re one of the few plant-based foods that contain special omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and very good for your ticker.
They’re also a wonderful source of plant-based protein and gut-loving fibre. For a tasty chia pudding, I like to soak chia seeds overnight in a mixture of mashed banana, milk and vanilla. When it’s time to serve, give the pudding a mix and top it with fresh berries and macadamias.
5. Frozen yoghurt bark
An easy idea that delivers on flavour, frozen yoghurt bark is simply yoghurt that has been spread thinly onto a flat baking tray, topped with crushed nuts and berries, then frozen.
Once solid, remove the bark from the freezer, snap it into smaller pieces and enjoy. For a healthy, calcium-rich base, I’d recommend plain Greek yoghurt over anything flavoured or sweetened.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.
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