Fitting Desserts Into Your Diet

Whether it’s for rich chocolate concoctions, fruit-flavored treats, or sweet temptations laden with spice, most people have an occasional craving for desserts. With the modern interest in keeping a slim figure and improving physical health, however, some people may feel that their favorite treats are off-limits, making the prospect of dieting seem especially grim. In excess and when sourced from poor ingredients, desserts can, in fact, be detrimental to a healthy diet, but this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible -or even difficult– to work sweets into a plan for quality nutrition. As with many aspects of healthy eating, choosing beneficial desserts requires taking a closer look at the ingredients found in standard sweet items, thinking about how these ingredients may impact a diet, and making any necessary changes to optimize results. When desserts are closely examined and steps are taken to make them more nutritionally valuable, those concerned about their weight will likely never have to skip dessert again.

Fitting Desserts Into Your Diet

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Desserts are often considered as being automatically bad for one’s health; eating dessert may seem like something to be guilty over, and many people attempt to abstain from sweet treats to avoid “ruining” their diets. This conception may well be true of certain items found in grocery stores or on menus, but there are scores of healthy desserts that can be just as nourishing as other components of a meal. An important step towards embracing a wider world of dessert choices is examining the nature of the sweet taste. A diet that’s rich in processed sugars such as corn syrup may result in a lowered ability to detect the fine, sweet flavors of more natural products, such as fruits. Those who abstain from soft drinks, high-sugar cereals, and other common culprits may find that their appreciation for the many shades of sweet flavor can grow a great deal, making it possible to think of dessert in very different terms.

In many dessert dishes, using only a small amount of sugar, honey, molasses, or other sweeteners is likely to yield delicious results without overloading the body. Scores of dessert recipes call for cups upon cups of sugar, whereas mere tablespoons are often enough to lend a sweet taste to a cake, a batch of cookies, or other dessert items. Dessert products purchased at bakeries or grocery stores typically include excessive amounts of sugar, and may also be laden with chemical preservatives and unhealthy fats, making them a poor choice for anyone attempting to lose weight or maintain a healthy waistline. One of the best ways to ensure that one’s desserts are positive in their nutritional value is to either make them at home or to carefully scrutinize their ingredients, passive over any items that include unfamiliar products or that list sugar as one of the principal constituents. At home, cooks can finely control the amount of sugar that goes into a given desert item, making this the best option in most cases.

From time to time, of course, a long-standing …

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Sorbet: Tips for Making a Low Sugar Dessert

Few things are more satisfying than a cup of smooth, cold sorbet on a warm and relaxing day. I love to make and eat sorbet, but there is a potential downside. Unlike ice cream, sorbet has neither fat nor lactose; but just like ice cream, sorbet has lots and lots of sugar. When making sorbet, in order to get a consistently creamy texture, I would sometimes add up to one full cup of sugar for every cup of juice. Of course, the amount I added depended on the juice I was using, but that is still too much sugar. Now that I am trying to eat healthier, I have turned to a low sugar alternative.

Sorbet: Tips for Making a Low Sugar Dessert

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Being on a low sugar diet, I decided to look at my local grocery store for sorbet that had reduced sugar content. Not only was the sugar levels similar to what I had been making at home, but there were other additives. Many of which I had not encountered since chemistry lab in college! The solution? Make your own sorbet, but replace the sugar with agave nectar. Agave nectar (sometimes called agave syrup) is a natural sweetener that is 1.4 times sweeter than white sugar, according to the Madhava company that makes the nectar. That means that you can immediately reduce the amount of sweetener needed in the recipe by 40%. To get the creamy texture, be sure to use the whole fruit instead of just fruit juice. Homemade sorbet is easy to make a treat that is delicious and healthy.

What you will need:

  • Fruit (or fruit juice) of your choice
  • Agave Nectar (or sugar)
  • Food processor or ice cream maker
  • Water (only if you are making lemon or lime sorbet)

There are two ways of making sorbet – with a food processor or an ice cream maker. To make it with a food processor, simply mix the fruit and sugar together in the food processor. Put the mixture into plastic containers and place it in the freezer. After it has frozen, take the containers out and run it back through the food processor. This will yield more of a gelato consistency with a little bit of a crunch. To use the ice cream maker, mix the fruit and sugar together, then put the mixture in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill. After it is chilled, transfer the mixture to the ice cream maker and let the machine do the work of mixing and freezing. This will yield a creamy consistency that melts on the tongue. My personal favorite is a combination of the two! Puree three-fourths cup of agave nectar for every cup of fresh fruit in a food processor. Then chill the mixture in the refrigerator and finish it off with the ice cream maker. By using the whole fruit, the sorbet turns out thicker, and you also get to keep all the nutrients!

The next time your sweet tooth comes calling, think of this homemade sorbet …

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Making the Best Mid-Autumn Recipe – Mooncakes

For weeks leading up to the Mid-Autumn festival every year, mooncakes and festival snacks abound. Many of these products were produced weeks ago and imported from places across the globe. If you’re living in the United States, finding fresh products to celebrate this year’s Mid-Autumn festival can be very difficult. Whether you’re celebrating with family and friends, or just looking for some good, traditional Chinese fare, stick around for some Mid-Autumn recipes and tips.

Making the Best Mid-Autumn Recipe - Mooncakes

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Background

Traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a major holiday across China, Taiwan, and Vietnam and is rife with traditions and history. As could be expected, food plays a major role in this autumn holiday.

Traditional Foods

One of the most visible and traditional Mid-Autumn recipes on display is often the mooncake. While many varieties exist, traditional mooncakes have a soft outside crust with a sweet, dense filling in the center. Other foods that are enjoyed during this time are things like pumpkin and taro to bring good health and good luck respectively. Other foods include wine with osmanthus flower and river snails, each of these is also tied to lore bringing happiness and bright eyes to those who consume them during the festival.

Simple mooncakes

Making mooncakes along with other Mid-Autumn recipes can be quite a challenge without access to traditional ingredients or mixes. In order to easily make this recipe, stopping by an Asian grocery will help speed up the process. Try to pick up ingredients like golden syrup, alkaline water, melon seeds, along with whatever fillings you’re considering for your traditional mooncakes. Another thing that should be picked up at any Asian market is a mooncake mold. They come in a variety of shapes and designs, so pick a few that could add a pleasant variety to your display.

Once you have picked up your ingredients, it’s time to make the filling and dough. For the filling to do ratio, consider this ratio 7 parts filling: 3 parts dough. That should give you an idea of how much to make when planning different types of filling.

Filling (feel free to make your own variations):

  • 14 oz. (400g Package) Lotus Seed Paste
  • 1.5 oz. (around 40g) Melon Seeds

Dough:

  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 / 2 Tsp Alkaline Water
  • 5 Tsp Vegetable Oil
  • 5 Tbsp Golden Syrup

To make the dough, first, mix together the alkaline water with syrup. Stir in the oil and mix until they are completely blended. In a separate bowl, add the flour and make a well where you will stir in the syrup mixture. Mix the dough until it forms a loose dough. From there, knead and shape the dough into a round ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let this dough refrigerate for at least two hours.

While the dough is resting, mix together the lotus seed paste and the melon seeds. Separate the mixture into two tablespoon portions and shape into balls. Set …

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