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Last Call for Summer Desserts

It’s summer time and parties and picnics are plentiful. Many people want to cap off the warm summer evenings and gatherings with something sweet. What are some healthy choices?

Several varieties of fruit are at their peak during the summer, making it the perfect time to enjoy a healthy fruit dessert! If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be hesitant to incorporate “nature’s candy” in your diet because you’ve heard that fruits are high in sugar. The good news is that while fruit does have sugar in it, it’s also full of water and fiber to help balance it out, unlike fruit juice, which is void of fiber. The fiber in a piece of fruit ‘acts as a net’ to slow down the process where your body turns sugar from food into blood sugar.  This means you the sweetness of fruit is much better for you than the sweetness in cakes or juices.

Here are some ideas to make the most of summer’s sweet bounty:

Grilled peaches: Nothing says summer like biting into a juicy peach. At less than 100 calories per serving, grilled peaches are an easy and tasty summer dessert. Grill peach halves covered on low or indirect heat for 2-4 minutes per side, then serve one half with a drizzle of honey, and a tablespoon of fat free vanilla Greek yogurt. They are delicious topped with yogurt and honey – especially plain greek yogurt which gives you the bonus of extra protein in your dessert. Pineapple slices are also a tasty option for the grill.

Fruit popsicles: The key to making healthy popsicles is to incorporate as much whole fruit as possible and to use liquids without added sugar. Sliced strawberries, blueberries and water blended with vanilla or chocolate protein powder, make a delicious frozen combo.  You can easily substitute for your favorite fruit, like kiwi or melon, or use coconut water with the protein powder. It’s a healthier alternative to store bought popsicles, which are often full of sugar, additives and preservatives.  

Fresh berries: In-season strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are delicious on their own, or try them sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs to get a “pie-like” effect for fewer calories.  Another delicious combination is sliced peaches and blueberries with a graham cracker crumble. As a bonus, raspberries give you more fiber than almost any other fruit.

Frozen chocolate banana: If you have a chocolate craving, try this fun dessert: Take a medium ripe banana and cut into half lengthwise, then in half to make four quarters. Insert Popsicle sticks into bananas and freeze on wax paper. Once frozen, melt 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in a pan with a tsp. of coconut oil, and then dip the ends of the frozen banana pieces into the chocolate, or drizzle the chocolate over the popsicles with a spoon.

As a final tip, we can’t forget the old picnic standby – watermelon –  which is perfectly sweet, simple and delicious on its own.

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