Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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How to Eat Dessert and Stay Lean!
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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It’s happened to the best of us at one time or another.  You decide to start a diet, or just to start eating healthier and being more active, and thoughts soon drift to how much you’re going to miss enjoying dessert after meals.  Not to worry – you don’t have to give it up!  It is absolutely possible to include desserts as part of a healthy lifestyle.

whole grain cookies

  • Make the simple switches.  Traditional desserts have a lot of extra calories, fat and sugar added to them, but making a few simple substitutions can reduce these by quite a bit.   Try mashed bananas instead of oil, or whole-wheat flour instead of white flour.  Even Greek yogurt or canned pumpkin can be added to most dessert recipes!
  • Find a way to include fruit.  Whether it’s apple slices baked with cinnamon atop frozen yogurt, roasted bananas with chopped nuts, or simply strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, fruit can always be part of a great dessert!  Make the focus on the fruit in the dessert, and you’ll end up eating less of the other high-calorie parts.

fruit salad

  • Watch your portions. If you’re still stuck on your favorite desserts and refuse to give them up or make any recipe changes, you can still include them in your healthy diet.  The key is just to keep an eye on your portion sizes so that you don’t load up on too many calories at the end of your meal.  You can split restaurant desserts with family or friends, or even take half of it home to enjoy the next day!
  • Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate.  Let’s face it, we all love a nice chocolate dessert every now and again.  Why not make it the kind of chocolate known to have health benefits?  Dark chocolate is known to have antioxidant properties similar to that of red wine, while milk, white and other kinds of chocolate do not share this benefit.  As with all decadent treats, this doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want – try to keep it in moderation – but if you’re going to eat chocolate, make sure it’s the dark variety!

dark chocolate dessert sauce

How do you include desserts as part of your healthy lifestyles?  I’d love to hear your tips – leave me a comment below and fill me in!

Assistance provided by Megan Skinner

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