It’s a beautiful day out, you’re enjoying good company and good food at an afternoon barbeque and you’ve just finished a delicious meal of grilled chicken, pasta salad and coleslaw. Only now, the chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and strawberry shortcake have caught your eye; yes, that’s right – the dessert table. You may have an inner debate with yourself and decide that it would be best to skip dessert altogether, but did you know that indulging in dessert can actually be good for your health?
Most people believe that it is best to totally avoid dessert with the fear that they will instantly gain weight, however, this is far from the truth. Eating dessert (at any time of the day) can help to curb and control your cravings, which prevents you from overeating later on, because completely restricting yourself from enjoying dessert often fuels your body to crave those sweets even more. If you allow yourself to enjoy that chocolate chip cookie from the bakery you pass by every day on your lunch break, then you are able to satisfy your sweet tooth that otherwise would be nagging you for the rest of the afternoon.
Moderation is key when it comes to consuming dessert so it is extremely important to watch portion sizes. If you are worried about
overeating, drink a glass of water before you eat dessert. Remember to enjoy and savor every last bite by eating slowly and paying close attention to detail. This technique is referred to as mindful eating. For example, are your favorite chocolate chip cookies soft and chewy cookies with loads of chocolate chunks sticking through the top, or are they a thinner, crisp cookie that comes along with a satisfying crunch when you bite into it? Paying attention to detail and focusing on eating allows you to appreciate your food with a greater sense of enjoyment.
You can also make dessert into a healthy treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you feeling full. It’s a lot simpler than you may think. Try these ideas:
1. Mix Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, cinnamon and your favorite nut-butter. This dessert provides carbohydrates for energy, and is high in protein and healthy fats to keep you feeling full.
2. Melt a bar of dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove top and dip your favorite fruit in it. For example, strawberries, pineapple and raspberries all taste great dipped in dark chocolate. The fruit provides simple sugars for energy, and the dark chocolate is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, along with containing heart healthy antioxidants!
3. Add your favorite fruit to cottage cheese topped with cinnamon. This dessert provides essential vitamins and minerals and is a good source of protein.
4. Stuff dates with peanut butter and chocolate chips. This rich dessert is high in fiber and natural sugars from the dates, provides healthy fats and protein from the peanut butter, and the chocolate chips add sweetness to help to curb cravings.
5. Blend together two frozen bananas until a creamy consistency is formed, then add in your favorite flavor combinations such as cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or peanut butter, and blend once more. Transfer mixture into a bowl and let sit in the freezer for an hour to harden. Finally, add your favorite toppings such as chocolate chips or fresh fruit and enjoy! Known as ‘Banana Nicecream,’ this is a great alternative to ice cream and can be enjoyed on hot summer days to help keep you cool!
Food is meant to be enjoyed, it is not something to feel guilty about. If you’re a chocolate lover, then go ahead and treat yourself to that chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting that you’ve spotted over at the dessert table, because if you don’t then somebody else sure will.
Photo Credit: Paige Swint, FBM