You shouldn’t have to skip your desserts to save your waistline.
Yes, what we’re saying is that you should have your cake and eat it, too.
Try these 10 smart, healthy hacks for keeping your desserts just as sweet, smooth, moist and mouth-watering as the original recipes intended.
1. Get portion perfect.
Did you know that most cookies are actually seven times larger than what the USDA considers to be a healthy portion size? Yikes. To indulge your sweet tooth without expanding your waistline, try this: Use a tablespoon to measure out dough for each cookie. For brownies, cut 2”-square serving sizes.
2. Chill out on the sweetener.
Many recipes overdo sugar and other sweeteners, so start by cutting one-third of what the ingredients list calls for, and then, if you’re feeling adventurous, go to one-half. Your desserts will still taste amazing!
3. Beets can be sweet.
Pastry chef Marisa Churchill, author of Sweet & Skinny, recommends adding two-thirds of a cup of finely grated beets to brownie batter to reduce the sugar by 25%.
4. Use natural fats.
While the experts continue to debate on which fats are healthiest, a smart idea is to say bye-bye to margarine and processed fats, and instead use natural fats like coconut oil, butter, olive oil and palm shortening.
5. Try a full-fat and low-fat combo.
Instead of using all low-fat ingredients (and then loading up on sugar to make up for the lack of fat), combine full-fat and low-fat ingredients - this works for homemade ice cream, cakes, cupcakes and muffins.
6. Say yes to whole-wheat flour.
If you sub out refined and processed white flour, you’ll cut calories and score some extra fiber. And most likely, you’ll hardly notice the difference in the taste and texture.
7. Make dark chocolate your go-to.
Try using dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa. The higher the chocolate’s cocoa count, the lower the sugar content, making it a healthier choice than milk chocolate. Another hack: swap in dried cranberries or unsweetened coconut flakes in place of chocolate chips.
8. Go a little nutty (or not).
If a dessert recipe calls for a couple cups of raw nuts, measure out 25% less Tip: Use roasted nuts to add even more flavor.
9. Puree your fruits and greens for flavor.
To add even more moisture and sweetness to desserts, use dried fruit or pureed bananas, avocados, zucchini and spinach, especially in chocolate desserts.
10. Juice will be your new BFF.
Fresh-squeezed lemon, lime or orange juice (and citrus zest!) can really wake up a dessert.