By Victoria Freixa
THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY MAZOLA©
Who doesn’t love to splurge every once in a while? Especially on food! Even the healthiest of health freaks has a “cheat meal” every now and then. And there’s no better way to cheat on your diet than with dessert, am I right? Whether you’re an ‘ooey-gooey’ brownie fan or a warm apple crumble kind of guy or gal, we all have a weakness for some type of sweet treat after a savory meal.
Sadly, indulging on desserts often means having to suffer the consequences—such as, wearing in a new notch on your belt or sporting a lot more sweats than usual. Why must the dessert gods be so cruel!? While a perfectly delicious and completely guilt-free dessert just simply doesn’t exist, we have found that there are some loopholes that bring us dangerously close to finding that perfect balance between healthy and tasty.
Here are 4 of our most popular tips for decreasing the guilt from some of your favorite desserts, without compromising that scrumptious flavor.
BANANA ICE CREAM
When it comes to dessert, there’s nothing like those 3 sweet little words: Á LA MODE. Frankly, most of us don’t know what the exact translation of that is, but that’s not important—because we know if we say those 3 magic words, our dessert goes from boring to spectacular! Ice cream makes everything better; I think most of us can agree on that.
Unfortunately, those 3 little words also come with some baggage (A.K.A: calories, saturated fat, carbs, etc.). But what if I told you we can turn that baggage into…. Hmm, what’s the opposite of baggage? Homemade banana ice cream in this case. Skip the store-bought heavy ice cream and opt for your very own low in fat, sugar-free, guilt-free alternative: fruit! Cut up some bananas, blend them, freeze the puree in an airtight container and serve them atop your favorite desserts or even solo. Either way, you can’t lose… okay, maybe lose those love handles.
BAKING WITH STEVIA
I think we all have a love/hate relationship with sugar. On one end it’s in everything, it can’t be avoided, our bodies crave it and need it at times, and it makes a lot of foods and beverages taste way better. On the other end, well… it’s pretty awful for you.
By now we’ve all used or heard of some pretty amazing alternatives to sugar (artificial sweeteners for the win!) and this new stevia craze has been making headlines lately for good reason. Finally, a completely natural sugar substitute with zero calories. It’s as simple as replacing sugar with stevia for all your dessert recipes and we’re talking tons of calories spared, but same sweet taste.
CORN OIL INSTEAD OF BUTTER
Butter in your dessert is as common as some people’s use of the words “terrific” and “tremendous.” And coincidentally, those are actually the words I would use to describe desserts that are made with butter.
Mmmm… Cakes, brownies, cupcakes, tarts, pies; the list goes on and on and on. But let’s face it, butter isn’t the greatest thing to put in your body. Lucky for us, there is a great alternative to butter and that is cooking oil. Use corn oil which can stand up to high heat baking and has a neutral flavor for tasty desserts. If you substitute 1 cup of butter with ¾ cup of corn oil, not only do you meet the needs of the recipe but you’re opting for a cholesterol free, and lower saturated fat choice. This one is a no-brainer!
THE DARK CHOCOLATE REPLACEMENT
While milk chocolate is insanely delicious, sadly there just isn’t enough of the cocoa bean in it to carry along any of the health benefits. But…dark chocolate to the rescue!! Dark chocolate, on the other hand, does have all that good stuff. It’s lower in calories, higher in cell-improving flavonoids, and can even help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
The best varieties of dark chocolates are the ones with 65% cacao or higher—cause they’re the ones with all the nutritional benefits. I think the point is: Don’t ever skimp on the chocolate! Hey, it’s good for your brain, your heart, and your sanity!