In my quest to (finally) lose the last of this stubborn baby weight, I’ve made a conscious effort to eat healthier. But the one thing I refuse to compromise on is dessert. Fortunately, it’s easy to enjoy healthier desserts during the summer, when most people gravitate towards eating lighter foods to combat the heat.
Not all “skinny” desserts are created equal, so when I find light options that I enjoy, I like to share. Here are a few that I’m a fan of these days. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments.
1. Grilled fruits: The season’s abundance of fresh fruit is the perfect starting point when it comes to healthy desserts. Sure, you can just pull a peach from the crisper, but let’s face it—that’s kind of boring. To make fruit more of a “treat,” toss it on the grill for a few minutes—the process caramelizes the natural sugars. Simply brush the fruit with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grate, place it over indirect heat, and cook it for a couple minutes, flipping halfway through. If you want to get crazy, you can marinate the fruit or serve it drizzled with syrups like balsamic glaze. Or check out these recipes for inspiration.
2. Ice pops: Gourmet ice pops have become very trendy recently, combining fresh fruits, herbs, spices and more. A big hit in my house is plain Greek yogurt combined with Goya Mango nectar and fresh mango chunks. (I mix it all to taste, adding a little simple syrup if it’s not sweet enough for the kids.) Ice pops can also be an excellent use of extra herbs from the garden—like these refreshing minted watermelon popsicles from Food & Wine Magazine.
3. Fruit tarts and pies: If you’re looking for something a little fancier, consider making a fruit tart or pie. I always find inspiration at Cooking Light, and two of my summer favorites are this sweet-tart Frozen Blackberry-Lemon Chiffon Pie and Strawberry-Almond Tart, the latter of which has the easiest yet tastiest crust.
4. Chocolate desserts: Fruits are all well and good, but very often, I want something chocolatey. Oprah offers a solution in the form of a faux brownie, whose no-bake recipe is particularly appealing to people without central air. Made with dark chocolate chips, almond butter, almonds, walnuts and coconuts, this Chocolate Almond Bar is chock full of good-for-you ingredients. Or, for something richer, try these skinny chocolate chip cheesecake bars, made with Greek yogurt, light cream cheese and mini chocolate chips. Who would have thought cheesecake and skinny could be in the same sentence?
5. Chia Pudding: Chia seeds are fairly trendy right now in the health food world—they’re packed with nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids, and they are thought to control hunger by filling you up. The latter is supported by the fact that chia seeds expand in liquid, which is why the superfood makes a great base for pudding. You can mix them with regular milk, soymilk or almond milk, a little honey or agave and some fresh fruit for an easy dessert in just 15 minutes. Here’s a yummy triple berry chia pudding to get you started.