You Don't Have To Desert Dessert!

Eating healthy doesn’t mean having to give up the foods that you love. If you are born with a sweet tooth, depriving yourself of your favorite treats may backfire and lead to overeating or frustration and abandoning your commitment to follow a healthy diet. For life-long health and weight management, the best strategy is to adopt an eating plan that includes all food groups and even includes sweet treats now and then. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy while satisfying your sweet tooth:

1)      Moderation is key: All foods can fit into a healthy diet when eaten in moderation. When available, buy your favorite treats in single serve packages (such as 100 calorie packages, small ice cream cups, etc.) to help keep you from finishing a box of cookies or a carton of ice cream in one sitting. If your favorite treat isn’t available in a single serve package, create your own by reading the label and measuring out a serving and then put the rest of the package away so you won’t be tempted to finish the whole thing.

2)      Forgo grazing: Rather than grazing from the candy dish on your co-workers desk all day or grabbing an Oreo from the cookie jar every time you walk through the kitchen, identify the time of day when your sweet tooth is strongest and allow yourself to enjoy a small amount of your favorite treat at that time only.

3)      Eat treats that are better for you: When it comes to desserts and sweets, some are healthier than others. Some examples of healthier options include pudding made with low-fat or fat-free milk, popsicles made with real fruit, strawberry shortcake made with fresh strawberries and angel food cake, or fruit smoothies made with low-fat yogurt or milk and fresh fruit.

4)      Fill your plate with the 5 food groups first: Before making room on your plate for dessert, it is important to eat plenty of servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy foods and lean meats. These foods are nutrient-rich and help promote health and prevent disease. If you fill up with healthy foods, you will be less likely to crave and over-eat less nutritious treats. 

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