Desserts can definitely be the downfall of a diet. Calories lurk in every forkful of your favorite sweet confection, and instant gratification can lead to instant regret. There’s the oil, the butter, the flour, the sugar, the decorations: they all add up to something delicious, but at the same time, they can be harmful to your waistline.
Who can resist those sweet things — fluffy vanilla cake, decadent cookies with all the toppings, spongy cupcakes and swirled frosting, fudgy chocolate brownies? A little mid-afternoon pick-me-up or something to round out a savory dinner: so many tasty desserts are luscious, sexy, and just plain delicious. The irresistibility of desserts makes them close to impossible to give up all together.
The kid in all of us probably wants to indulge in such yummy treats, but our adult selves know better. We shouldn’t be eating all the cookies at our youngster’s bake sale, or devouring that second slice of oh-too-tasty birthday cake. We should make more responsible sweets decisions, and it is possible.
There are ways to make these treats a little less detrimental, whether that means cutting calories, reducing the amount of sugar, or decreasing fat content. Sometimes it’s as easy as changing the white flour in your baked good recipe to whole wheat pastry flour. Other substitutions may seem a little more outlandish, like using avocado in the place of fatty butter or silken tofu instead of eggs. Such swaps may make you feel a little less guilty about indulging in dessert, and the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing so makes them that much sweeter.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Check out these healthy swaps; you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Instead of Baking Chocolate…
Nothing says decadence like chocolate. Add some antioxidants and use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate in your next recipe. Three tablespoons of natural, unsweetened cocoa with one tablespoon of canola oil replaces one ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate. Swap out the baker’s chocolate in a batch of brownies.
Instead of Butter…
Butter may make everything better, but, unfortunately, it’s not better for you. Butter adds calories and fats; however, there are many replacement options. Try fruit purées in exchange for butter (added bonus, you can cut some of the sugar, too!). Bizarre as it sounds, avocado purée makes for a great butter substitute. Substitution ratios may require experimentation, but about a 1:1 works for these two. Make your next batch of apricot oat bars or s’mores cake with healthier butter alternatives.