Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dessert Dilemmas

I'm not a fan of teaching dessert classes, because, no matter how you cut it, sugar is just not healthy. Still, realistically, people eat dessert (*I* eat dessert), so I know giving them better options can be useful. I guess I'm always a little wary that somehow the message will come across as "you should eat dessert" not "if you have to eat dessert, these options are preferable".

In last night's Unity healthcare class we made three quick and easy options. The kids were decidedly NOT excited about putting fruit on their ice cream, but it is my way or the highway in the classes. And guess what? Once they tried it, they liked it. One kid even asked for just a dish of frozen blueberries- which truly is the perfect dessert.

Some of our kids helping to dip pretzels

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

There is no redeeming nutritional value in this dessert at all. However, if you've got a few spare calories, it's a lower-fat way to get that peanut butter chocolate taste.

4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 bag of small pretzel twists/sticks
  1. Melt chocolate in a small pot. Stir in peanut butter until smooth.
  2. Dip one end of pretzel stick in mixture and then lay on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. 
  3. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm.
Blueberries with Lemon Cream
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, so here you at least get a bit of nutritional value. I sometimes serve this on a graham cracker for kids.

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchatel)
3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
  1. Soften cream cheese and break up with a fork in a bowl. Drain any excess liquid off yogurt and add to cream cheese along with honey.
  2. Beat with a mixer or whisk until smooth. Fold in lemon zest.
  3. Sprinkle with blueberries and serve.
Fruit Coulis over Vanilla Ice Cream
Not all ice cream and yogurt is created equal. Look for a brand (in big names, Breyer is not terrible) that has 6 ingredients or less and make sure they are all items you recognize. Avoid low-fat ice creams that don't give you the same sense of fullness/satisfaction and are packed with chemicals and additives.
2 bags frozen fruit (berries, tropical fruit, etc.)
Sugar or maple syrup
Lemon (for juice or zest)
Vanilla Ice Cream or vanilla yogurt (check ingredients!) for serving 
  1. Heat berries over medium-low heat with about 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup of sugar or maple syrup (use as little as you can while still making it palatable- when berries are sweet and in season, you may not even need to use any). Stir constantly. 
  2. Continue to cook about 10-20 minutes until berries begin to break down. Add squeeze of lemon juice or sprinkle of zest and stir.
  3. Cool slightly and serve over ice cream or yogurt.

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