Should someone who’s trying to lead a healthy lifestyle bid a permanent farewell to sweets? With classic desserts often carrying an astronomically high calorie content, it may seem that avoiding sweets altogether is the only safe move. Just because it’s difficult to say no to cake, that doesn’t mean your cake needs to be riddled with sugar nor does it need to be nutritionally sparse.
In the past, we’ve provided numerous ways to make dessert nutrient-rich. We wanted to hear what the experts had to say, so we reached out to nutritionists and registered dietitians, asking them to shed some light on the world of healthy desserts.
“Life without dessert? That's just crazy talk,” says Amy Kubal, MS, RDN, LN. “Often when we try to eat healthy or lose/manage our weight, dessert is the first thing to go. But it doesn't have to be that way! There are lots of tasty options that allow for indulgence without overdoing it. Choosing treats that contain a mix of protein and healthy fats and that are low in sugar will leave you feeling both satisfied and gratified.”
Health coach Sally Eisenberg, certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University, accredited by the Association of Drugless Practitioners, founded Nourish Ur Life in 2007 and maintains a private practice in Center City Philadelphia. She says, “Desserts made from whole foods rather than being drenched with refined sugars are much more satisfying, take longer to digest, and therefore prevent the need to keep going back for more. Using fruit and yes, even some veggies, offers fiber and an abundance of vitamins and minerals, which create calories that mean something rather than empty calories produced from processed foods.”
Rebecca Lewis, in-house RD for HelloFresh, says, “There really is no such thing as a ‘bad’ food — but there is usually a better choice food. When it comes to dessert[s], they should be thought of as a treat — meaning that by their very nature [they] are meant to be considerably smaller amounts of food calorically than the full meals they come after. But the easiest way to make your desserts healthier is to make them yourself at home, instead of relying on something boxed and bagged.”
“If you are shopping in the dessert aisle,” Lewis says, “check the labels. The best kind of desserts should be balanced, with at least 1g of fiber for every 10g of carbs, and approximately 250 calories or less. Although, it’s not always the caloric number we should be looking at on a nutrition label. People should consider the full ingredients list, avoid highly processed ingredients, and focus more on a balance of healthy nutrients.
You’ll see that the ingredients used in the following list of desserts are far from processed, with most of them being whole, healthy foods. Click ahead to see our 9 Nutritionist-Approved Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth.