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Healthier Dessert Alternatives to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

If you’re like many people, you crave something sweet after dinner even when you’ve had a big meal. But if you’re trying to watch your weight and eat healthier, dessert is typically the first thing on the “do not eat” list. Yet not all sweet stuff is created equal, and there are lots of ways that you can enjoy something sweet without the guilt or consequences.

Here are some healthy dessert ideas and dessert alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to loosen your belt.

Photo credit: viviandnguyen_ via Flickr

Yogurt Parfaits Instead of Ice Cream

There are few things more comforting than settling down with a big bowl of ice cream in your favorite chair after a rough day. Yet the average bowl of ice cream offers virtually zero health benefits and way too many calories and grams of fat and sugar. As an alternative, try making a simple parfait dessert with plain, nonfat yogurt instead. Add dried fruit, nuts, and a few pieces of dark chocolate to the yogurt for a sweet after dinner treat that won’t make you feel bloated or overstuffed.

Pudding with Berries Instead of Pie

Lots of homemade pie recipes use pudding as an ingredient in the filling. So why not strip pie down to the basics and just eat the pudding and leave the extra sugar and carbs out of it? Pudding comes in many different flavors, such as chocolate and pistachio, and offers a creamy and satisfying treat when you have a sweet tooth. For some extra fiber and an antioxidant boost, add some fresh berries to your pudding.

Here’s a tasty pudding-style dessert recipe that’s simple and even makes a sweet addition to your breakfast routine as well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place orange juice and chia seeds into a food processor until it thickens.
  • Pour some of the mixture into a glass and layer with sliced bananas and blueberries.
  • Top with remaining fruit and serve immediately.

Smoothies Instead of Milkshakes

It can be tempting to stop by the fast food drive through for a milkshake on a hot day, but these days, milkshake sizes tend to be enormous and pack in more calories, fat, and sugar than a serving of ice cream. Smoothies make an excellent alternative to milkshakes, especially when they contain nutrient-rich foods like pomegranate.

Here’s an example of a healthy smoothie recipe that’s great for satisfying your sweet tooth at any time of the day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup frozen pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. pure honey

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add all ingredients into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Photo credit: Ida Myrvold via Flickr

Healthier Versions of Cookies

Believe it or not, cookies can actually be healthy treats! Look for recipes that are lighter than your average cookie and have healthy ingredients like lemon, chia seeds, and whole wheat flour. Here’s a sample recipe for cookies that are bite-sized and full of flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven at 350-degrees and mix the butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.
  • Add all other ingredients except the flour and mix.
  • Now add the flour and mix again.
  • Form dough balls with one teaspoon per cooking onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool, and enjoy.

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