How to be smarter with sweets

Parkview Health is celebrating National Nutrition Month every Friday in March with helpful tips on a different topic each week. Today, Brittany Swygart, clinical registered dietitian, is discussing the highlight of the meal for many people, dessert.

No matter what time of year it may be, or who you ask, most people are happy to share their favorite desserts with you. Pie at Thanksgiving, caramel apples in the fall, ice cream in July … Even the team of Parkview registered dietitian-nutritionists have their favorites!

But desserts, while delicious, can quickly add up in calories and inches on your waistline. The good news is, there are different dessert options that are full of flavor that won’t ruin your health goals. Try to choose options that incorporate fresh fruits and watch your portion sizes. Taking time to slow down and enjoy your treat can also cut down on the overall amount of calories you consume.

Also, there are numerous ways you can modify recipes to decrease calories, fat and sugar. For instance, did you know that you can substitute ¼ cup applesauce for ¼ cup oil? This can significantly reduce the number of calories as well as grams of fat, while helping to keep your baked items moist and delicious. Simple substitutions such as sugar-free sweeteners and reduced fat whipped toppings or puddings can make your favorite treats healthier.

Are you someone who has a sweet tooth? Fresh fruit is a great way to cure the craving. The next time a sugar craving strikes, reach for a bowl of fresh melon or berries.

Want a cool alternative to your typical treats? Try this versatile, three-ingredient dessert that is sure to satisfy any dessert-lover!

Blueberry Yogurt Bars

2 cups blueberries (or other fruit)
2 tablespoons of honey
2 cups vanilla yogurt (or any flavor)*

1. Blend the blueberries in a blender or food processor.
2. Stir in honey and yogurt.
3. Pour the mixture evenly into popsicle molds and freeze. Place popsicle sticks in molds after 2 hours of freezing. Freeze for 2-4 additional hours or overnight. Remove from molds and enjoy!

Makes 6 yogurt bars

Each yogurt bar is about 100 calories and offers 7 grams of protein!

*Try swapping traditional yogurt with Greek yogurt for less sugar and additional protein. 

Learn more about smart sweets and watch a Parkview registered dietitian make these simple Blueberry Yogurt Bars. 

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