From trips to the gym to extra servings of vegetables, you probably do a lot to stay healthy. But does pursuing a healthier lifestyle mean you need to give up desserts altogether? Of course not! There are plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without indulging in dishes full of sugars and fats. That's not to say that you can't ever have your favorite cheesecake again. But it's best to save those decadent options for a special occasion.
Try one of these guilt-free desserts that are easy to make and healthy enough to eat multiple times a week:
1. Yogurt parfait
Looking for a quick treat? Try a yogurt parfait. It's an easy way to get in some extra protein while indulging in something sweet. Just layer some Greek yogurt – which has more protein than other options – with your favorite granola and fruit.
Better yet, you don't need to limit yourself to dessert. This tasty snack can also double as a nutritious breakfast to help you start off your morning. After all, breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day!
2. Frozen banana ice cream
A guilty-pleasure food that is particularly hard to make healthy is ice cream. Rich treats tend to rely on dairy to give you that lush taste, and if you reduce the fat, you lose the creaminess. But if ice cream happens to be your favorite, don't worry too much. You can still get your fix with a frozen banana alternative. Just freeze several peeled bananas, pop them into a blender or food processor and enjoy your own homemade soft serve. Add peanut putter or a handful of frozen berries for variety.
3. DIY popsicles
The classic treat of the summer, popsicles are probably a favorite from your childhood. However, despite their warm-weather appeal, they're often packed with a large amount of added sugar. Keep your icy treat nutritionally sound by making your own fruit popsicles. This blueberry popsicle recipe from the Food Network combines 2 cups of blueberries, 1/4 cup of apple juice, 2 tablespoons of honey, juice from half a lemon and a pinch of salt to make the perfect snack for summer. Buy your own popsicle mold and try out a variety of recipes throughout the warm weather months. Keep an eye on your Baby-G pink series digital watch to make sure you don't take them out of the freezer before they're done.
4. Chocolate-dipped fruit
In an ideal world, fruit would be the solution any time we need something sweet. But the reality is that sometimes we want something a little extra. So why not have the best of both worlds by starting with fruit and dipping it in chocolate? Strawberries are of course the classic choice, but other berries, bananas, apple slices and even citrus fruits all pair well with chocolate if you want to try something new. Just make sure that you don't add too many layers of chocolate!
5. Vanilla ice milk
In this vanilla ice milk recipe from Southern Living, milk replaces cream to give you the same decedent vanilla taste that you're used to without the extra fat and calories. Just combine a 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar-free, fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix. Whisk in 2 cups of reduced-fat milk, 1/2 cup of egg substitute, a 12 oz. can of evaporated fat-free milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour the resulting mixture into the frozen 1 1/2 quart container of an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions to finish your dessert.
6. Graham crackers and peanut butter
Craving something sweet after your workout? Pack in the protein with a few graham crackers smothered in peanut butter. It's a simple solution, takes next to no time and gives your body the nutrients it needs to build muscle. Just keep a box of graham crackers and a jar of peanut butter – or other nut butter – on hand for any time a craving strikes.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean you need to give up your favorite treats altogether! Moderation is the key to any nutritious diet.