4 Tips for Making Healthier Desserts

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  Almond Joy Candy Bars

Healthy Desserts.

Is that really possible?

For those of us with a sweet tooth (or shall we make that "teeth"), sweet treats derail the best laid plans for staying or getting healthy.

Ideally, limiting sweets or getting them out of your diet entirely is a great way to go, but I know that's a pretty tall task for most of us.

So, in the interest of setting reasonable goals, I am going to share with you all today:

  • ways to make your current dessert recipes healthier
  • some healthy dessert options from my recipe box
Of course, these tips can be modified depending on needs and desires, but basically, there are three steps to take when making a dessert recipe healthier

1.  Cut the Sweetener

Start by cutting 1/3 of what the recipe calls for and step it up to 1/2 if you are feeling adventurous!  You'll most likely be surprised by how good your desserts still taste!

2.  Try a Healthier Sweetener

If you are able to eat sweeteners with a higher glycemic load (that's the effect that food has on your blood sugar) then:

  • sucanat
  • honey
  • agave
  • maple syrup would be better choices than white sugar.

If, however, you really need to stay away from sweeteners that raise your blood sugar or that feed candida, then choose sweeteners like:

  • stevia (Stevia extract is super sweet!  1/32 tsp = 1/2 - 1 Tbsp)*
  • erythritol
  • xylitol
  • vegetable glycerine and
  • yacon syrup
  • palm and coconut sugar (both have quite low glycemic indexes and taste great)
Substituting sweeteners can be a little tricky.  I've got a post on Substituting Sweeteners in Cooking and Baking that should give you a good start.
*A note on stevia:  It really matters which stevia you get.  Some brands are really bitter.  One of the brands I like is NuNaturals.)

3.  Use More Whole Grain Flours

Just making a move in the direction of more whole grains is a great step to take.

Try substituting 1/3 - 1/2 of the flours in your recipes with whole grain alternatives.  Eventually you can make the move to more and more whole grains.

4.  Use Natural Fats

There's a lot of debate about which fats are healthier, but an easy move to make is away from margarine and processed fats to fats in their natural state.

Good choices would be:

    • coconut oil
    • butter
    • olive oil
    • palm shortening

A general rule of thumb is to use 7/8 the amount of olive oil in a recipe calling for a solid fat.

When baking with coconut oil instead of butter, sometimes a 1:1 substitution works.  I don't have the substitutions figured out completely here, but I'm working on it!

I hope this gives you inspiration to take some of your dessert recipes and give them a healthy makeover.

You may notice a change in flavor or texture, but over time, you will appreciate the healthier, heartier taste and the blessing of knowing that you are doing your family a favor with healthier choices.

Here is a list of some of our family favorites--the ones that get requested over and over again.

They all have special diet options included.

Enjoy--in good health--from my family to yours.

Which step will you be taking next?
Shared at Permanent Posies, Tammy's Recipes, At Home with K, Cooking Traditional Foods, Grocery Cart Challenge, The Finer Things in Life, Creation Corner, It's a Hodgepodge Life, Simply Designing, The 21st Century Housewife, Alli-n-Son, Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery, Jill Conyers, Food Renegade, Thirty Handmade Days, The Shabby Nest, Whipperberry, I Should be Mopping the Floor, Delightful Order, A Glimpse Inside, House of Hepworths, Beyond the Picket Fence, Allie Makes, Somewhat Simple, Real Food Whole Health, Real Food Freaks, Rattlebridge Farm, Butter Believer, 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, and Learning the Frugal Life.