My four daughters all have a sweet tooth, and I blame genetics. I can sidestep french fries, chips and salty stuff pretty easily, but chocolate makes me drool. So if you love sweets, at least know you are in good company.
But, healthy-eating friends, let's have some straight talk about dessert: It's full of sugar, which means we can't have dessert every single time we want it.
In our house, we eat (real) dessert only on weekends. During the week, I serve plain fruit or unsweetened yogurt after dinner.
Even weekend desserts, though, are not a free-for-all sugar-fest. I follow one simple guideline to keep my family's sugar consumption in check: I make our desserts.
There are three major advantages to this rule. First, while sugar can wreak havoc on our health, weird chemicals — fake flavors, colors, preservatives — scare me even more. If I make the food myself, I can skip the strange ingredients I can't pronounce.
Second, having to cook my own treats usually stops me from mindlessly eating something I brought home from the store. Permission to eat anything that is homemade is simultaneously enough freedom to indulge our cravings sometimes and enough brakes to keep us from scarfing down a random box of cookies. Lastly, if I make the desserts myself, then I have control over the recipe. Usually, I reduce sugar and simple carbohydrates and add protein and fiber.
For instance, my Pear and Dark Chocolate Crumble turns almond flour and oats into a tasty topping that isn't loaded with empty calories, and a splash of almond extract tricks the palate into thinking this dessert is sweeter than it is. Splurge on high-quality dark chocolate chips, or just chop up a bar, and you'll be amazed how satisfying a small bit of dark chocolate can be.