Melissa Meier explains how you can have your cake, and eat it too.
Ending the day with a sweet treat is a ritual for some, but your choice of indulgence could be what makes or breaks your otherwise healthy diet. Over-indulging can be a detriment to your health (and your waistline) in the long run, so if you need to tame your sweet tooth, listen up.
Let’s be clear. I’m not telling you that you can never enjoy a few squares of chocolate or eat that Cornetto (who wants to live in a world without ice cream, anyway?!). Remember that life’s all about balance and there’s always room for these desserts occasionally and in small amounts.
But before you tuck into your second Magnum for the week, perhaps opt for a healthier, more nourishing way to satisfy your sugar cravings on a Tuesday night. That way, you can save the real deal for special occasions, when you really feel like it and can take your time to enjoy the experience for all it’s worth (mindful eating caps on, stat!).
Adelaide’s ’48 Flavours’ has won the popular vote in the Gelato World Tour held in Italy, so what was their winning flavour?
With that in mind, here are my top 5 dietitian-approved healthier ‘desserts’ to enjoy when the sugar cravings strike during your next Netflix binge:
Yoghurt with berries
It mightn’t sound super exciting, but creamy yoghurt paired with natural sweetness from blueberries is my personal favourite healthy delight.
This wholesome snack will also help to keep those bones and teeth strong, thanks to the all-important calcium in yoghurt. Did you know that as a population, our intake of calcium is largely inadequate, especially for women? Men and women between the ages of 19-50 are actually recommended to have two and a half serves of dairy a day! A small tub of yoghurt, or three quarters of a cup, counts as a single serve and is a great choice for a sweet snack that’ll boost your calcium intake, too.
Be sure to opt for a low-fat, plain variety to avoid unnecessary fat and added sugar.
Now we’re sweet talking.
Have you ever eaten a frozen banana? Or blended one until it reaches a sorbet consistency? Behold, this is ‘nice’ cream. It tastes just like ice cream. Seriously. But it’s healthy.
‘Nice’ cream provides the added bonus of a serve of fruit, a good dose of vitamin C, potassium and fibre, as well as long-lasting energy. Take that, ice-cream.
You’ll be blissed out if you take the time to whip up these healthy snacks every once in a while!
The basis of bliss balls is simply nuts and dried fruit. While we should only have dried fruit occasionally, one or two of these tasty treats every now and then will leave you feeling satisfied, as the nuts provide fibre and protein that help to keep you feeling full. It can be tricky, but try not to demolish more than a couple at a time as they’re usually quite energy-dense.
A quick Google search results in a multitude of recipes – so take your pick and get experimenting in the kitchen. To keep these treats squeaky clean, opt for unsalted varieties of nuts to avoid unnecessary sodium and be sure to steer clear of recipes that use coconut oil as a binder, as this unhealthy fat will add unwanted kilojoules and should be used sparingly.
Homemade ice blocks
Nothing is more refreshing in the summer heat than an ice-cold ice block, fresh out of the freezer. I’m talking the old-school ones you used to make at home as a kid and stood at the freezer for hours waiting to set.
My go-to is a yoghurt base whizzed up with seasonal fruit, but you could also use home-made fruit puree or small amounts of 100% fruit juice, too.
Go on, you know you want to!
Sweet, juicy fruit. Is there anything better?
It probably sounds cliché, but enjoying a delicious seasonal peach or a couple of watermelon slices on a hot summers night really hits the sweet spot. In the cooler months, why not bake a few pears with cinnamon or enjoy an apple with PB.
Not only will swapping your usual slice of Viennetta for this healthier crop reduce your intake of added sugar, it’ll also boost your fibre intake, add a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your diet and contribute to your two serves a day. That’s a sweet deal.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.
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February 13, 201810:46am