For those who have a sweet tooth, resisting the dessert menu is often a challenging feat. With options from cakes to pies, tarts, puddings, pastries and everything in between, it's easy enough to indulge is all things flaky, buttery and delicious.
While these treats taste great, they're not the healthiest. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for people of all ages, but it's especially necessary for seniors. Consuming a quality meal plan in your retirement community keeps your risks of certain conditions lower including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
But here's the good news: There are plenty of options!
Healthy dessert options
Smoothie: A great way to get in a serving of fruits and vegetables is to put them in a smoothie. You can incorporate vanilla or chocolate protein powder for a delicious taste and added health benefits. Nut butters also add flavor and are another good source of protein. Then you can blend in bananas, blueberries, raspberries, avocados, celery, leafy greens or any combination of fruits and veggies for a sweet treat that won't put you over your calorie limit.
Dark chocolate: Chocolate lovers can celebrate – dark chocolate has a lower percentage of cocoa, which means it has less sugar. It's also a good source of antioxidants, which help fight diseases, and studies have shown it's beneficial for heart health. A square or two at night is a great way to end a day.
Yogurt parfait: Yogurt is a good source of probiotics, which encourages healthy digestion. It's also quite delicious and low on calories per serving. Mix in a variety of fruits such as strawberries, bananas, apples or pineapple to add delicious pops of color. Yogurt parfaits taste great and are sweet enough to curb your craving, but won't mess up your healthy eating habits.
Frozen fruit: If you are a big fan of fruit, trying freezing some for a new way to enjoy these healthy snack options. Frozen bananas, strawberries and grapes (plain or covered in yogurt or dark chocolate) might remind you of eating a popsicle without the excessive sugar intake. Fruits are a natural source of sugar, so eating them frozen will feel decadent.
Strawberry graham-wich: If you enjoy a combination of flavors and textures in your desserts, Bon Appetit suggests that you spread mascarpone on graham crackers and top them with slices of strawberries. To mix it up, you can try this with blueberries, slices of peach or make it more savory with cream cheese and cucumbers.
Caramel popcorn: One of your favorite retirement living community events may be watching movies, but it might not be complete without some popcorn to munch on. You can easily make this healthy snack before your feature presentation. Air pop corn kernels (which are whole grains!) and then drizzle melted caramel over the top.
Banana split: This dessert may remind you of trips to the diner, and a healthy twist allows you to continue to enjoy this delight. Instead of ice cream and whipped cream, Fitness Magazine topped theirs with ricotta cheese, but you can also opt for yogurt. Add cocoa powder and cherry to top it off, then enjoy!
Banana ice cream: These fruits make for great desserts, and you don't have to give up ice cream! Instead, opt for this healthy, fruit based frozen treat. To make banana ice cream, peel and cut ripe bananas into slices, then freeze. Once they are fully frozen, add a 1/2 cup or 1 cup to a blender and continue to blend until the bananas become the consistency of soft serve. Feel free to add peanut butter, cocoa powder, honey, almonds, Nutella, cinnamon or ginger to spice up the flavor. If you prefer softer ice cream, you can enjoy this as is, or you can stick it in the freezer for a bit to harden it up and then enjoy.