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Are Healthy Desserts Worth the Added Calories?

Healthy desserts seem to be a contradiction in terms. Desserts are supposed to be those moments of indulgence and extreme pleasure when, if you finish your broccoli and lamb chop, you are rewarded with a slab of rich chocolate cake or ice cream scoops topped with syrup—not necessarily healthy, but just wonderful.

As a diet-conscious person, you know better. Overindulging in sweets and fats piled on a dessert plate results in too many pounds. Should you eat desserts at all? Are even so-called healthy desserts worth the added calories?

Doctors and nutritionists have a firm reply: Certainly, yes.

All in the Mind

Your mind is already conditioned to recognize the very last course of a meal, where something baked and sweet, or whipped and frothy, or molded and jeweled with dried fruits and nuts, is placed on the table for you to enjoy.

Dieting shouldn't mean giving up desserts. If you have ever fallen off a too-strict diet with a long list of "forbidden" foods, then you know why. Your urge to eat something from the forbidden list progressed to a craving and you caved in.

We all want something sweet at least once a day. Weight-loss experts say that it is preferable to add some light desserts into your weekly diet so you don't feel deprived. Smartly chosen healthy desserts are just one more opportunity for giving yourself great nutrients to keep you fit and energized.

Calorie Discounts

This is doable, even if you are strictly counting calories. Even in the case of diabetics, medical practitioners say Type 2 diabetics can have about 100 calories a day in the form of desserts without having to worry about their health. Here are a few healthy desserts that add up fitness points, not excessive calories.

  • A bowl of sugar-free jello topped with a half cup of rich, creamy Greek-style yogurt and topped with a strawberry (calcium, protein, vitamin C) at under 100 calories.
  • A double chocolate dream muffin top from VitaTop (no trans fats, low sodium, 15 vitamins and minerals) at 100 calories.
  • Frozen banana on a Popsicle stick (fiber, potassium, vitamins C and B6) at 100 calories.
  • Designer-style fruit with a four-star hotel presentation: cut a mango in finger slices, put on baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon on top (vitamins A, C, magnesium, potassium, calcium) at 107 calories.

Portion Control

Health and weight maintenance require effort to make sure the extra pounds that you lost stay off. You may need planning to make sure you withstand second and third helpings of a daily dessert.

Nutritionists offer this advice. If you are nervous about having desserts around the house, for fear your one muffin top will turn into 10, don't keep them in the house. Buy a box and store it at work. Save them for an after-lunch dessert.

If you bake a half-dozen low-calorie cupcakes, keep one and share the other five with a neighbor or take them to your friends at work.

At restaurants, your mate might urge you to choose a dessert for the special occasion. Offer to share it. Two spoons on one chocolate mousse cut your intake in half, or more, depending on your mate's sweet tooth.

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