School may be on the horizon, but summer weather is still in full swing. The sun is still shining, and the produce is fresh and ripe! When the workday is finally done, and the dinner fork has been placed aside, you may find it strikes hard and fast– your dessert craving. While I’m all for an occasional indulgence, added sugar is added sugar. In high quantities, it has health implications, even aside from weight gain, that won’t aid your health and wellness lifestyle. According to the Center for Disease Control, only 12% of Americans consume the recommended amount of fruit and vegetable servings per day. Making a better dessert choice that allows you to #haveaplant on these occasions may be part of the solution.
What: When you find yourself with a sweet tooth, these naturally sweet alternatives can provide antioxidants and fiber, without the load of calories in typical desserts. Fruit can provide ample vitamin C and antioxidants to fortify your body against infections. Including fruit is an excellent carbohydrate to help sustain glucose or blood sugar levels and satisfy our after-dinner craving. For under 200 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving, these three dessert options keep nutrition in check while allowing you to feel like you didn’t miss out on the summer’s sweetest flavors.
Why it’s a perfect option: There’s an alternative for everyone in these three great options. Grilled peaches are a spot-on combination of delicious ripe summer fruit with toasted coconut topping. If you like ice cream, then a strawberry cheesecake pop is a perfect summer treat. Are you looking for a daytime snack or dessert option? Blueberry-lemon coffee cake ties together ground almonds for a nutty flavor that can refuel your carbohydrate stores post-workout or provide an after-dinner dessert. All of these fun, fruit-filled desserts can be whipped together in a matter of minutes.
When: Consume when a sweet craving hits vs. driving to your local ice cream shop!
Serves 8 (1/2 peach/nectarine per serving)
- 1/4 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 4 large ripe peaches or nectarines, cut in half (pit removed)
- 2 Tbsp honey (I prefer local and raw)
- Optional: Toasted coconut (to taste) & raspberries
- Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Drizzle the honey over the peaches, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Place the peaches directly onto the preheated grill, and cook for 10 minutes, turning once halfway through. Top each with fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt / optional ingredients if desired and serve immediately.
Berry Cheesecake pops
Makes 6 pops (1 pop per serving)
- 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 6-ounce strawberries, hulled
- 1 pint of raspberries
- 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- Combine milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat; cook 3 minutes. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl; gradually add milk mixture, whisking until smooth. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Cool completely.
- Place honey, juice, and berries in a blender; process until smooth. Divide half of cream cheese mixture among 6 (4-ounce) ice-pop molds. Top with strawberry mixture, followed by remaining cream cheese mixture. Stir slightly with a skewer. Freeze 4 hours or until solid.
- Unmold ice pops; dip tips in graham cracker crumbs.
Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake
Yield: 12 servings
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup fat-free milk
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- Cooking spray
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Place 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add egg and lemon juice, beating well. Add flour mixture and fat-free milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries and rind. Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
- To prepare topping, combine 1/4 cup sugar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, tossing with a fork until moist. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Recipes adapted from www.cookinglight.com “healthy desserts.”