Being healthy does not mean denying yourself dessert!
A healthy diet is one that is balanced and in moderation, and that includes lots of the things you need every day such as fruit and vegetables. But one of the secrets to maintaining a healthy diet long-term is letting yourself have cheat days and treats every now and then.
If you have a sweet tooth or tend to eat certain foods for comfort, denying yourself these may make your life even harder. If you try to be too restricted in your diet you may overreact if you slip and have something ‘forbidden’ and then fall off the wagon completely with the guilt.
Little treats every now and then helps you to stay on your diet long term. They also mean that you can more easily go without for a day or two or three, telling yourself that your next treat is just around the corner (rather than just telling yourself that you’re never allowed to have them again.)
So, basically – Treats = Good.
Desserts are not bad
There is no such as bad food really, just too much of something. Psychologically, it isn’t helpful to think of desserts and sugar as bad, but that it is much more healthy to have them in moderation.
Desserts are not bad. And chances are, you can actually get a whole lot more creative with your diet recipes, and bring them up several grades in terms of their health levels.
If your desserts are high in white flour, sugar, and lack any sort of vitamins or nutritional benefits, then you might need to adjust your thinking.
Desserts and sweet treats can be a great way to increase your nutritional intake and be certain to get more of the vitamins and minerals you need every day.
Some healthier substitutions might include:
- Swapping out white flour for whole-grain or buckwheat flour, oats or almond meal
- Removing processed sugar and swapping it for apple puree, rice malt syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar or chopped/pureed dates
- Making desserts made from chia
- Using dark chocolate instead of white or milk chocolate
- Substituting natural yogurt instead of cream or ice cream
- Using pure vanilla and a good amount of cinnamon instead of sugar – these flavors trick your brain into thinking something is much sweeter than it is, and you won’t notice the difference!
- Swapping out sugar for whole fruits and vegetables such as bananas, mango, pineapple, carrot or zucchini
- Using ricotta instead of cream cheese
- Using xylitol instead of sugar, which is a fine powder and makes it easy to do a direct swap. Xylitol is a natural product which comes from tree and fruit fiber and has lower calories and a gentler effect on blood sugar that refined white sugar.
The ketogenic diet is one which many people swear by, as a great way to lose weight, feel healthier and regain energy as well as a clearer mind. This kind of diet requires you to almost completely remove carbohydrates and sugars from your diet, and especially cut out the heavily processed ones, but it is a big advocate for treats and desserts when you need them.
The ketogenic diet recommends fat bombs, which are dense snacks high in healthy fats that give you a big dose of slow-release energy. Some of these sound incredibly sinful, but again in moderation, they are a glorious part of a healthy eating plan.
If you want to check out some great fat bomb recipes, go here:
Here are some of our Favourite Unlikely Stars of Desserts
Let’s get adventurous in the kitchen!
One of the greatest benefits of modern food is the willingness of chefs to be adventurous in flavor combinations and inspired ingredient swaps. You will never believe some of the ingredient combinations that clever chefs have come up with recently!
Many vegetables are quite sweet once they are cooked or roasted, and can make an excellent alternative to sugar in cakes and brownies. They also give cakes a lovely dense, moistness to them. You may have tried a zucchini cake or carrot cake, but there are a few other vegetables you may not have known will work beautifully as well.
Beetroot is easy to bake with and turns out gorgeously sweet, plus the rich red color gives cakes a red velvet kind of look to them.
Here are some of our favorite dessert recipes starring beetroot:
This one will really take you by surprise, because of the saltiness of black beans – but they actually make a scrumptious and intriguing dessert.
Black beans are high in plant-based fiber as well as a great source of potassium, folate and vitamin B6.
Here are some surprising desserts made with black beans:
Aquafaba is the plant-based liquid that is used to store canned legumes such as chickpeas. It is an unexpected and wonderful substitute for the egg is some desserts including marshmallow and merengue, so makes a great vegan option. It is also wonderful in light-as-air puddings, cakes, chocolate mousse and fudge.
Here are some clever desserts with aquafaba as the star ingredient:
Avocado is a magic ingredient that may have been an actual gift from the gods. Not only is this fruit versatile, it tastes amazing and is wonderfully healthy for you. It is high in healthy fat that is great for your body, mood, and mind.
Avocado goes with anything, but oddly it works well with chocolate. Here are some fantastic dessert recipes with avocado as the star.
If you want to find out more interesting dessert stars chat to the creative chefs that work at Eric’s, or have a look through some of our other blogs.