It’s the heat of the summer and you know what that means? Cookouts, BBQs, and lots of other outdoor celebrations. I have been particularly bombarded with delicious ice cream treats, coming at me from all directions. (Ok, the one time I demanded we go to Rita’s was 100% orchestrated by me.)
While yes, the Ritas was delicious and satisfying for a few moments, afterwards, I felt sick and guilty. I can’t keep eating all the ice cream and all the desserts if I want to feel my best this summer. And neither can you.
Or can you?
Ice cream will certainly make you feel crappy (and look run down) because our bodies are simply not designed to digest dairy. Throw all that sugar into the mix and it will leave you with an inflammatory response and seriously disturbed hormones. Repeat the ice cream habit (or cookies, cakes, etc) week after week, and you will be in trouble. Tight pants, puffy skin, headaches, acne, irritability, gas and bloating are only a few potential side effects.
But I want to eat my dessert darn it!
You can. Nature has provided us with so many delicious flavors and treats to enjoy when we need our sweet fix. Here are three of my favorite go to desserts!
- Mixed berry salad
It is beautiful and delicious! Berries are the fruit with the lowest amount of sugar, and they are also high in antioxidants and other phytonutrients. A ½ cup of mixed berries has under 40 calories and only 7g of sugar. I like to bring berries to a cookout so I know I have something sweet to enjoy after the meal!
You can also dress up the berries a bit with some chopped nuts or toasted coconut flakes. Pour a little almond milk over it too, and it almost feels like you are eating a delicious bowl of berry cereal! (Ok, that might seem a little weird, but its totally delicious!)
- Coconut Chia Pudding
Coconut milk is a delicious source of healthy fats, and has a hint of natural sweetness to it. The medium chain triglycerides that are found in coconut milk help improve cholesterol and heart health. Chia seeds are also a good source of Omega-3 fats and other vitamins and minerals.
Mix 1 cup of full fat coconut milk with ¼ cup chia seeds in a mason jar. You can add a touch of vanilla, cinnamon and stevia to taste. Shake the mason jar well and leave it in the fridge. Every once in a while, go back and give it another shake so that it gels uniformly. Let it sit for 4 hours to overnight, and enjoy!
- Banana Ice Cream
If you are still craving your ice cream, give this version a try, and see how you like it! Basic banana ice cream can be made from 2 ripe frozen bananas, cut into chunks. Just put it in your food processor and blend until smooth. You can enjoy the ice cream immediately, or put in the freezer for up to one hour.
You can also get creative and make variations of this ice cream! Add 1 cup of frozen strawberries for strawberry banana ice cream, or 2 tbsp of coco powder for chocolate! The options are truly endless. Your kids will enjoy helping you make this ice cream as well.
So there you have 3 delicious desserts that you can enjoy this summer, without the guilt. You can know that these desserts are actually IMPROVING your health with the variety of nutrients they contain. Make a decision to feel and look your best this summer… but you don’t have to skip the dessert!