Answer courtesy of Beth Winthrop, RD, National Development Director for Wellness, Campus Services
Well, you might want to stay away from recipes that start “first cream 2 sticks of butter with a cup of sugar.” Grain-based desserts (basically anything made with flour such as cookies and cakes) are the #1 source of solid fat in the American diet, and the #2 source of added sugars. The healthiest desserts take advantage of the natural sweetness of fruit, accompanied perhaps by low-fat dairy products or a light “crisp” or “crunch” topping. Try caramelized bananas topped with honey yogurt, fresh raspberries with a little low-fat chocolate mousse, or pears poached in spiced red wine. Rice and bread pudding can be made with low-fat milk and whole grains for a low-fat, high-fiber treat. For cookies, make crisp low-fat biscotti sweetened with dried cherries, apricots and cranberries. To satisfy your sweet tooth and warm up on a cold night, make your own hot chocolate with unsweetened cocoa powder, nonfat milk and just 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup. When the weather warms up, make your own fruit sorbets in an ice cream maker with pureed fruit, juices, berries and even tea! Artificial sweeteners probably won’t harm you, but they don’t help you outgrow your sweet tooth and learn to appreciate the delicious natural sweetness of fruit.