Good news – holiday desserts can contain good-for-you ingredients and taste sublime without adding unwanted extra inches.
Pastry Supervisor Andrew Ruga, who runs the bake shop at the Double U Café at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, says Canyon Ranch recipes – including pastries – are specially created to taste delectable while containing a minimum of fat and sugar. It’s simply a matter of making replacements, like substituting unhealthy amounts of butter in a cookie recipe with low-fat cream cheese.
Less is more
Subtly reducing portion sizes is another easy way to enjoy delicious holiday desserts with fewer calories. Bake pies in a 7-inch pan instead of a 9-inch one. Make desserts into a feast for the senses by adding a twist of tangy lemon, a seductive swirl of low-fat chocolate sauce or a sprinkling of colorful berries, and serve them in small, attractive dishes to create culinary memories that will last.
“Everyone loves desserts, but none of us likes the spare tire that comes from eating too many of them,” says Andrew. “Producing great-tasting desserts that are good for you allows you to enjoy a little treat without the guilt.”
In fact, adds Chrissy Wellington, M.S., C.N.S., L.D.N., C.P.T, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, desserts can be good for your health. “Noshing on low-calorie fruit along with your dessert adds sweetness and nourishment.” Better yet, she says, “New research has found that one ounce of 70% cocoa dark chocolate daily can decrease your risk of stroke by 30%. So go ahead and have a little slice of heaven!”
Holidays are on the way – tips for healthy eating:
- Don’t feel you have to say yes to every dessert or beverage offered to you.
- Chew or sip slowly, enjoy the music, laughter and experiences around you.
- Recognize when you’re full.
- Make exercise a part of your daily routine. If you do overindulge a little, challenge yourself with increased movement the next day.
- Begin each day with a protein-rich breakfast. Eat fiber-rich meals throughout the day.
- Remember holidays are only a few days. Stay within healthy calorie ranges by choosing smaller portions of higher calorie desserts.
- Treat yourself to a taste – moderation is the key to success.
“Food, especially dessert, tends to be the foundation of celebration during the holiday season,” says Chrissy. “You don’t have to deprive yourself during this festive time, but keeping control and a little self-restraint will help you stay ahead of the game.”