As we all know, sweet treats are a part of life, and deprivation is never conducive to sustaining a happy, healthy relationship with food. Instead of cutting out all sweets, take a smarter approach by putting fruit at the center. First, start with a palate reset! Today’s modern food environment includes ultra-sweet foods that can make our taste buds accustomed to extreme sugary tastes over time. Some studies have shown that high-calorie, high-sugar desserts can activate pleasure centers in the brain, which may set up cycles of cravings and overeating in some individuals.
When we consume foods with more moderate levels of sweetness, as well as natural fiber to keep us full, we help to satisfy a natural affinity for sweetness without sending our tastes into overdrive. Fruit can play a major part in fulfilling those aims. Also, we know that about 80% of Americans don’t consume enough fruit, so putting fruit on the dessert plate helps get us closer to our healthy eating goals.
5 Win-Win Strategies for Good Health
- Pineapple + Chocolate! Place popsicle sticks in the center of pineapple chunks. Dip each chunk into melted dark chocolate, and then place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Place in the freezer to harden.
- Fruit Crisp. Make a super quick fruit crisp. Place canned peaches in a small baking dish, then top with oats, drizzle with 1 tsp. melted butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and a touch of sugar. Pop in the oven until oats are slightly toasted.
- Strawberries & Cream. Keep it simple with sliced, fresh strawberries, fresh whipped cream, and a few mint springs.
- Stuffed Pears. Stuff a halved, fresh pear with a simple mixture of honey and chopped pecans.
- Grilled Fruit. Consider grilling fruit for a new twist on flavor! Lightly grill peach halves, then top with a small scoop of lemon sorbet.
The next time you’re craving something sweet, make sure you invite fruit to the table. You’ll walk away with fewer calories, more nutrition and at least one serving closer to your daily fruit and veggie goal. Feel free to switch up the above ideas with new and seasonal fruit varieties to discover even more unique tastes!