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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