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Health and Wellness

7 steps to guilt-free desserts

Desserts are a delicious and fun part of life that most of us enjoy.That is until you start working toward a fat loss goal. Then, dessert becomes the enemy that pops up at birthday parties and get-togethers in the form of cakes, cookies, cupcakes and candy; tempting you to give in.Do you give up desserts forever?Taking a zero-dessert stance can be risky because it increases your chances that the large slice of cake that ends up taking you down will be followed by some ice cream, a handful of cookies and topped off with some chocolates for good measure.I don’t want your fitness results to be forfeited over a slice of cake, so I’ve come up with the following 7 Steps to Guilt-Free Desserts. Use these steps as your guide to safely navigate sweet temptations and arrive at your fitness goal.

  1. Fruit is best. Fresh, organic, seasonal fruit is the ultimate guilt-free dessert. It’s filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals and delicious, natural sweetness. Don’t be afraid to include some fruit in your diet. Learn to savor and enjoy fruit just as you would a decadent slice of cake. Fruit should be your No. 1 go-to favorite dessert.
  2. Wholesome sweeteners When fat loss is your goal, cane sugar and corn syrup have no place in your diet, not even when you indulge in dessert. Lucky for you, there are plenty of more wholesome sweeteners available, which will have less of an impact on your blood sugar. Try raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut crystals or Stevia.
  3. Whole food flours So, you have your wholesome sweetener and now you’re reaching for some white flour to bake a cake? Try these whole food flours instead: almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal or oat flour.
  4. Dark chocolate If chocolate is your dessert-of-choice, then learn to love the dark stuff: 73 percent cocoa content is a good place to start. As your sweet receptors become more sensitive, you’ll start to like even darker chocolate. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar and higher in cocoa, which is where the actual benefit of chocolate lies: antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  5. Portion size matters Yes, this applies even to fruit. When you’re working toward a fat loss goal, you do need to control the amount of sugars that enter your body, even when that sugar is wholesome and from a piece of fruit. Keep your desserts to no more than a few bites. Learn to savor and enjoy.
  6. Moderation If fat loss is your goal, then dessert should not be an everyday occurrence. Lean meats and an abundance of fresh vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet. Wholesome, portion-controlled desserts are OK to include occasionally, but not regularly. When you’ve met your fitness goal and are maintaining your results, then you’ll be able to include wholesome desserts more often.
  7. Hard workouts I would never propose to use food as a reward for exercise, but I will say that working out should be a requirement before including wholesome desserts in your diet. If you’re not working out, then even wholesome desserts in moderation could lead to pounds gained. Exercise is a huge part of the puzzle when it comes to losing fat and getting lean.
RECIPE OF THE MONTHDouble Chocolate Mini BrowniesBoxed brownie mixes are filled with refined sugars and grains, so make this recipe instead. It’s always a good idea to make these brownies in a mini-muffin pan since this forces portion control. Just eat one brownie and you’ll be able to enjoy this wholesome treat guilt-free! Servings: 24Ingredients3.5 oz dark chocolate (72 percent cocoa or higher)1/2 cup coconut oil1/3 cup raw honey2 eggs1 tbsp. vanilla extract1/4 tsp. almond extract3/4 cup blanched almond flour1/2 tsp. salt1/2 cup mini chocolate chips1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil.2. In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate, coconut oil and raw honey. Remove from heat, allow to cool, add the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts.3. In a medium bowl combine the almond flour and salt. Add the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.4. Fill the mini muffin tins nearly to the top. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden and set.5. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan; if you don’t wait then they fall apart!Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 125 calories, 8g fat, 48mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 2g proteindavid@perfectfitwc.com719-331-3352

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