In a diet-focused culture, desserts often get a bad rap. But some can actually be beneficial.
Desserts made with fruit, nature's natural sweetener, are ideal, healthy after-dinner treats. Reducing the sugar and fats in a recipe can make favourite desserts more healthful and still taste good.
The July issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers healthy dessert suggestions, including:
Grill fruit slices: Cut apples, pineapple, pears or peaches into chunks. Brush them lightly with canola oil and sprinkle with cinnamon. Grill the fruit on skewers or wrap in foil and grill over low heat for three to five minutes.
Make a fruit dip: Mix together 1/2 cup of low-fat sugar-free lemon yoghurt, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lime zest. Serve cold as a dip for fruits such as grapes, sliced strawberries, kiwi or bananas.
Add a dollop: Add a dollop of fat-free plain or vanilla yoghurt to frozen or canned fruit. Opt for fruit without syrup.
Slim down baked goods: Favourite recipes can be made with much less sugar and fat. Reducing sugar by one-third to one-half works in many recipes. To enhance the sweetness, increase the amount of vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg. Applesauce, mashed banana, prune puree or commercial fat substitute can replace up to half the butter, shortening or oil in many recipes.
Use reduced-fat or fat-free ingredients instead of high-fat products: Fat-free, 1 percent or 2 percent milk can be used instead of whole milk. Evaporated fat-free milk can replace regular evaporated milk. Fat-free plain yoghurt or low-fat sour creams can be substituted for sour cream. Light cream cheese or low-fat cottage cheese often substitutes nicely for cream cheese.