5 Tips for Healthful Desserts

By: Emma Slattery ‘18, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator


All foods can fit into a healthy diet- cookies and brownies as well as apples and broccoli- but it’s important to keep your fun foods in moderation. If you’re like me, and have a major sweet tooth, maintaining that healthful moderation can be especially challenging. If I start to get a sweet sugary craving my sweet tooth will see the Oreo cake across the diner and not just WANT that cake but NEED that cake. My sweet tooth wants the double chocolate chip muffin for breakfast, a cookie with lunch, and a cake after dinner. But your sweet tooth doesn’t have to be your enemy! There’s no reason you can’t satisfy your craving for sugar without sacrificing nutrition.  This is the premise in which our Nutrition Coaching Service at the Health Center is based on, “Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!”.

By following these 5 tips you’ll be able to enjoy desserts in a fun and healthful way!

Tip 1: Make fruit the main ingredient in the dessert.

By focusing on fruit you not only benefit from some valuable nutrients and fiber, but also a sweet taste! Fruits are full of natural sugars that can be a great, healthful way to satisfy a sugar craving. Some quick examples to try at home are dark chocolate covered strawberries or peaches with cool whip and frozen yogurt.

Tip 2: Use frozen yogurt instead of regular ice cream.

This substitution cuts back on saturated fats without sacrificing a cold treat. Frozen yogurt is also a great way to get some calcium and Vitamin D in your diet. Tossing some berries, banana, or even chocolate chips on frozen yogurt makes for a delicious dessert.


Tip 3: Substitute dark chocolate in place of milk chocolate.


The cocoa powder that is used to make chocolate has been proven to lower blood pressure, support heart health, and act as an antioxidant. Eating dark chocolate maximizes these effects because of the higher amount of cocoa (around 60%) and lower amounts of milkfat and sugar. You can eat it as a bar, dip strawberries or other fruit in it, or sprinkle dark chocolate chips on a bowl of frozen yogurt.


Tip 4:  Switch out denser cakes for angel food cake.

Angel food cake still has the classic cake taste and texture, but because it’s lighter it has fewer calories. It also pairs great with some berries, dark chocolate chips, or even a little drizzle of caramel.

Tip 5: Enjoy your dessert mindfully!

You don’t always have to switch out a brownie for a berry dessert, if you’re going to eat a brownie you should enjoy it! Portion it on a plate and sit down away from distractions. When you take a bite actually savor it, taste it, and enjoy it.

The next time you get a sugar craving and need a fix, use these tips to slow down and enjoy your dessert without sacrificing your nutrition. For more information on healthful sweets or fitting fun foods in moderation reserve your session with a Nutrition Coach today by calling 301-314-5664 or emailing nutritioncoach@umd.edu

This entry was posted in Nutrition, Physical Wellness, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 5 Tips for Healthful Desserts

  1. selenas06 says:

    I love the idea of making fruit the star of the dessert! Fruit is so delicious and can easily be turned into a gourmet (looking) treat!

  2. Thea B says:

    This is so helpful! Who doesn’t love dessert? I think that switching to frozen yogurt will be a great change. It can still satisfy a sweet too and and its so yummy!

  3. Ashley Statter says:

    Awesome article Emma! I love that you mentioned how important it is to eat mindfully, and that desserts can certainly be incorporated into a healthy diet! I Honestly do know what I would do without chocolate 🙂

  4. Avital says:

    YUM. That frozen yogurt looks so good! I have a frozen fruit-frozen yogurt maker where I take frozen fruit of any kind, and when its pushed through the little, but powerful machine it comes out like soft-serve ice cream! This has been a great way for me to satisfy my sweet craving with fruit. Great tips!

  5. Jane Jakubczak, UHC Dietitian-Nutritionist says:

    It is almost strawberry season! I love putting a little bit of whip cream on strawberries ~ it seems like a fancy dessert but is so simple! Thanks Emma for the great ideas!

  6. Rebecca Heming says:

    Great tips! I love dark chocolate and if get a bar of it, it’s super easy to portion it out using the squares. You can always break a few squares off and stick it in your bag before you leave your house.

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