The term “guilt free desserts” may seem like an oxymoron to some people. It’s easy to think of dessert as a rich food that you can’t have when you’re dieting or trying to eat healthy. Cookies, cakes, candy, etc become the enemy and a big source of blame for those struggling to lose weight.
But the truth is: you CAN enjoy dessert without feeling guilty about it—you just have to know the right tips and tweaks to use to make guilt free desserts. Completely cutting any desserts from your diet is usually not a helpful rule, as it can eventually lead to binge or closet eating when you “give in.”
And obviously when that happens, it will sabotage any health or fitness goals you’ve been working towards. The better approach is to work with moderation and focus on healthy ingredients. And we’re here to help! Use these five steps to guilt free desserts to guide you.
#1 Use Whole Grain Flours
If you have white flour in your kitchen, toss it. From now on, use a whole grain or whole food flour when baking. There are tons of options! Whole wheat pastry flour is the most common and works really well for substituting one-to-one, but avoid this if you’re gluten free. Other options include:
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- Oat flour (There are several great brands to buy or you can make your own by blending old fashioned oats in a blender or food processor. Also, make sure the flour says “gluten free” if you are avoiding gluten.)
- A whole grain gluten free blend
- Coconut flour
- Flax meal
- Almond flour
- Brown rice flour
- Spelt flour (not gluten free)
- Barley flour (not gluten free)
The key here is to make sure any flours you use are whole grain so you get the benefit of their fibers and vitamins. White flours are completely stripped of any health the grains once had, so they are doing little more than raising your blood sugar.
#2 Use Healthier, Wholesome Sweeteners
Just like white flour, corn syrup and white cane sugar are totally devoid of any helpful nutrition, so it’s best to completely avoid them in your desserts. Instead, get your sweetness from sources that are sweet but also have health benefits.
Examples of this could be pure maple syrup, raw honey, stevia, coconut sugar, date sugar, or using blended whole foods like dates, prunes, or bananas. These not only provide nutrition, they also have less of an impact on your blood sugar levels.
#3 Replace Fats or Use Healthy Ones
A lot of baked goods are full of unhealthy oils or butters that make their calorie counts skyrocket. You can significantly reduce the calories of a dessert by cutting out some or all of the fat.
To replace butter or oil, unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana is a great substitute.
For oils, you can usually replace at least half of what’s called for in the recipe with another lower-fat or fat-free liquid like almond milk.
Another options is replacing half of the butter or oil with healthy, whole food fats like avocado or nut or seed butters. Just be sure to give this a test run before you plan to serve it at a party or get-together. Results can vary depending on the dessert and flavors involved!
#4 Reach for Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate is higher in calories and saturated fat. There’s a reason so many of us are crazy about the stuff. But it’s true what you’ve heard: chocolate can also have health benefits.
To really get much from those benefits, though, it’s best to eat dark chocolate. Start with chocolate that is 73% cocoa and work up from there. Your taste buds will adapt to less sugar and begin to love the darker taste. Then, you’ll better reap the real benefits of chocolate, which include vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
#5 Eat Fruit for Dessert!
This one is always a good idea. Fresh fruits are the absolute best guilt free desserts because they contain vitamins and minerals, fiber, and a delicious punch of natural sweetness. Eat fruits when they are in season and ripe to get the most satisfaction out of them. I love to make a good fruit salad and sprinkle it with a little cinnamon. So yummy and filling for any sweet tooth!
Desserts are a great part of life, and choosing to be more conscious of what goes into indulgences is one of the best things you can do for your health. Just be sure to round out your nutrition with cleaning eating and the addition of a high-quality supplement like Mimi’s Miracle Minerals.