You can’t have your cake and eat it too…but maybe you’d feel less guilty about trying to if it was actually good for you, right? Running away from your sweet tooth is an endless uphill battle when you’re on a women’s weight loss plan, but the right sweet treat makes it perfectly okay to slow down and give in every now and then. Learning how to substitute with slimmer ingredients without affecting taste and how to sneak in foods that boost a dessert’s health factor are the perfect ways to make your desserts more tummy-friendly – from both the inside and outside.
5 Ways to Make Desserts More Healthy & Weight Loss Friendly
1.) Amp up the Flour Power. Eating more fiber every day can seriously boost your weight loss. Eating more fiber-less refined flour, on the other hand, can seriously bust your waist band. So swapping out all-purpose flour, cake flour, or any kind of refined flour from your dessert recipes in favor of whole grain flour can make a huge different for where the dessert ultimately lies on the naughty scale. When making tougher dough, such as pizza crust or bread, you can go ahead and replace all of the refined flour in the recipe for 100% whole grain flour. For baked goods with a more tender texture, try using whole grain pastry flour, made from a softer wheat. You can also try lowering the carbohydrate and gluten value of your dessert by avoiding a grain based flour all together, and swapping in a flour made from rice, sorghum, oat, quinoa, buckwheat, coconut, ground nut meal or bean flour instead. Rice flours, oat flour and sorghum flour replace well in all-purpose flour recipes. Quinoa, buckwheat, nut and bean flours are heavier and work better in baked goods with denser dough and less rise, providing more of a whole-wheat texture and weight.
2.) Fix the Fat. While it’s clear that you need to consume a small percentage of fat every day for health and weight management, there seems to be endless debate about precisely which fats are the best ones for weight loss. Fats unanimously labelled as evil and that you can confidently replace from all your dessert recipes include margarine, shortening, and all fats that have been hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. While pounds of butter are a definite no-no, small amounts of saturated fat (in their natural state) in your dessert can help to balance out the harmful blood sugar affects and insulin response that your sweet treat may otherwise wreak in your body. Healthy coconut oil or mashed avocado can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace margarine or butter (just keep in mind that these substitutes will lend a slight flavor, so use them when they will compliment the other flavors of your desserts well). If you are creating a no-bake dessert, unrefined mono-unsaturated oils and poly-unsaturated oils (think olive oil, flax seed oil, walnut oil, etc.) can be used in place of solid fat in the recipe, in about a 7/8:1 ratio. Another useful trick for reducing fat and slimming up desserts is using mashed fruit in place of solid fat. Replacing butter in a recipe for mashed apples, pears, peaches, bananas, dates or prunes not only lowers the fat content in your dessert, but also adds fiber and sweetness, allowing you to cut back on the sugar in the dessert as well. Mashed vegetables, like sweet potato and squash, also work well. When replacing the fat in a recipe with fruit puree, use half of the total fat called for in the recipe (for example, replace 1 cup of butter with ½ cup of apple sauce). Keep in mind that replacing fat with puree with also reduce the baking time, so keep checking the oven throughout the baking process to make sure you don’t dry out your dessert.
3.) Substitute the Sweeteners. Study upon study continues to show that refined sugar and artificial sweeteners can have disastrous effects on our bodies, brains, and weight loss efforts. This is why it’s imperative to seek out healthier, natural sources of sweetness that don’t lead to nasty health effects and weight gain. Replacing sugar with raw honey, agave nectar, sucanat, black strap molasses and pure maple syrup will not compromise the sweetness of your treat while adding trace nutrients (keep in mind that using liquid sweeteners in place of dry sweeteners require you to reduce the amount of other liquids added to your recipe). If you are trying to stay away from sweeteners with a high glycemic load (sweeteners that raise your blood sugar) all together, than you can replace sugar with pure stevia extract or a stevia blend (1 tablespoon of sugar can be replaced with about ¼ teaspoon of powdered stevia, or 6 to 9 drops of liquid stevia), sugar alcohols such as xylitol or erythritol, palm sugar or coconut sugar (which raise blood sugar far less than regular sugar), or with yacon syrup or Jerusalem artichoke syrup. Or keep it simple and stick to naturally sweet, delicious and nutritious fruit, mashed up and used in place of sugar or syrup.
4.) Go Nuts. Natural nuts are sources of protein, fiber and heart-healthy fat. They help to keep your blood sugar from spiking and help you happily push away your dessert plate after one serving with little effort, feeling satisfied and satiated. Try sprinkling crushed almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios or pecans into and onto your desserts. Or use raw nut butters as a creamy base for cake or cupcake frostings, mixed with nothing but cocoa powder and date puree – heavenly!
5.) Turn It Upside Down. Instead of sprinkling on fruit, nuts and seeds as the token-health toppers on an otherwise lusciously unhealthy dessert, turn the healthy part of the dessert into the main event and the indulgent part into the topping. Thread strawberries and banana chunks onto skewers and drizzle with melted dark chocolate. Lightly grill fresh peaches and top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt. Spice nuts or chickpeas with cinnamon and sucanat and roast in the oven until crunchy. Or try making these delicious, low-fat, gluten-free, sugar-free and fantastically pretty Nice-Cream Sundaes