Dessert is one of those areas of a person’s eating habits that’s a breeding ground for anxiety. If your memories of childhood include threats of no dessert until you’ve slogged through eating something you loathed, you’ve probably been set up to feel like dessert is a privilege: A sundae with a cherry on top is the cherry on top of your otherwise lackluster meal.
Dessert may then take on an air of indulgence for you when you are trying to eat more healthy–something to be enjoyed with regrets as a rebellion, or as a special treat when you’ve met certain conditions. Let me encourage you to think of dessert in another light.
I eat a dessert every day. I often eat two desserts a day. I especially hold my dessert after lunch in high regard and, after having initiated this midday treat this summer, I wonder how I got along without it.
Dessert, to me, is something sweet that you eat to signal the end of a meal. The desserts I choose aren’t mile-high molten chocolate mountains, but they similarly get the job done in a few quick bites. What am I eating these days?
- Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookie
- Kashi Dark Chocolate PeanuttyTLC Layered Granola bar
- Jell-O Mousse Temptations in dark chocolate (sensing a theme yet?)
- Fat-free, sugar free chocolate pudding made at home and chilled in a 1/2-cup plastic containers
- Quaker Chewy Dipps–Peanut Butter
- 1/2 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt with 1/2-1T honey
- 1 cup of frozen raspberries mixed with 1T honey
- Plain frozen fruit (especially blueberries, pineapples, mangoes, and raspberries)
- 1 packet of fat-free, sugar-free instant cocoa, prepared
After I’ve finished consuming one of these things, I feel satiated. I’m full from the meal and the dessert, but my taste buds are satisfied as well.
If I satisfy my sweet tooth a second time in the day, after dinner, I usually go lighter, like the frozen fruit, or the instant cocoa (with or without cinnamon sprinkled in).
It’s a simple move, but one that keeps me from going off the deep end with my eating. I notice that on days when I haven’t had a dessert with lunch, I’m looking to make up for it somehow–and it’s easy to get tempted to do that in an overindulgent way. I’m proud to say that dessert is something I use to keep myself on track with healthy eating. For me, it’s a plan, not a privilege.