We spoke to some of India’s best nutritionists to learn about which healthy desserts to have when you’re on a weight loss diet. Here is what they had to say.
Studies show that dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants, and is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and promote feelings of fullness, which may even help support weight loss.
“I do not think anything is bad on a weight loss plan if you can stick to a calorie deficit even after consuming it. However, it does get challenging to consume high calorie desserts and still stay in a deficit, as calorie dense foods are lesser in volume and do not fill us up. If you are a big eater and need volume in your desserts then stick to a bigger serving of low calorie desserts. On the other hand, if you can make do with just a bite here and there, then any dessert under 200 calories is good. Options for healthy desserts include dark chocolate—60% or more, which is an excellent source of good fats. That being said, be careful, as sugar is extremely addictive, you do not want to consume desserts more than 2-3 times a week,” states Prateek Kumar, Founder of FitCru.
2. Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruits are the ultimate healthy desserts. The nutrients in fruits are vital for overall health and functioning of the body. Not only are fruits a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, but they also comprise antioxidants and help reduce the risk of developing chronic issues such as heart disease, inflammation and diabetes.
3. Homemade Fruit Popsicles
“An iced fruit popsicle made at home is the best dessert to have while on a weight loss plan!” remarks Seema Jindal Jajodia, Founder of Nourish Organics.
To make homemade fruit popsicles, blend your favourite fruit with water or milk. Thereafter, pour the blended mixture into popsicle moulds, place a popsicle stick in the centre of each, and freeze them overnight. If you would like a creamy popsicle, you can blend the fruits in yogurt instead. Homemade popsicles are better than packaged ones, especially when you are on a weight loss diet, as they do not include any added sugar or artificial ingredients.
4. Chocolate-Avocado Mousse
This dessert is a creamy pudding, which is simply made by blending avocados with a few ingredients such as cocoa powder, melted chocolate chips and milk. “Loaded with a host of healthy fats, fibre and antioxidants whilst being heart-healthy, the creamy and buttery texture of avocados makes for a lip-smacking, dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, refined-sugar free and vegan dessert that will suit any dietary preference,” remarks Guntas Sethi Bhasin, Patisserie Chef and Founder of Chef Guntas.
5. Trail Mix
Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and pistachios are great sources of fibre, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. In addition, nuts stimulate the body to burn excess fat and shed extra pounds. “For a dessert to be healthy, yet create the satiety a typical sweet treat does, it needs to have sweetness and some quality fat. I recommend having dates with some nut butter or roasted sunflower seeds. A custom trail mix with pieces of dark chocolate, raisins, cashews and roasted almonds works well too,” remarks Manasa Rajan, Head-Food Product and Holistic Health Coach, EatFit.
6. Chia Pudding
Chia seeds may be tiny, but they pack a lot of punch! A serving of chia seeds has a large amount of nutrients and very few calories. To make chia pudding, chia seeds are thoroughly mixed with milk and refrigerated for at least 2 hours or up to 7 days. Chia pudding can be eaten with toppings of your choice such as fresh fruits, dried fruits, chocolate chips or honey. Chia pudding is the ideal wholesome dessert as it is high in fibre, protein and calcium, and contains healthy fats that are good for helping you feel satiated.
7. Almond Flour Cake
Made with blanched almonds, almond flour is higher in fibre and protein, and lower in carbohydrates than white flour. It is also rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that aids in brain, eye, skin, and reproductive health. Moreover, almond flour is gluten free and reduces the risk of heart disease and improves blood sugar levels. “Almond flour is a healthy alternative for wheat flour as it has less carbs and less fat. Alongside its nutty and delicious texture, almond flour also contains more vitamins and minerals, enhancing its health benefits!” adds Guntas Sethi Bhasin, Founder of Chef Guntas.
8. Homemade Curd Parfait
“Even when we are trying to manage our weight, most of us fall weak in front of desserts. A wise option for satisfying a sweet tooth when you are watching your weight would be a homemade curd parfait. To make this at home, whisk hung curd with a pinch of cinnamon powder and raw honey, and pour it over cut strawberries. Then, drizzle a spoonful of your favourite granola and a few dark chocolate shavings. In addition, it is absolutely ok to indulge in any of your favourite desserts occasionally, as far as you mind the quantities,” states Kamna Bhandari, Lifestyle Coach and Co-Founder, Intermittent Fasting and Mindful Living.
9. Khoya or Mawa Desserts
Khoya, also known as mawa is the base of many North Indian desserts, especially those made around the time of Holi and Diwali. Desserts such as Rabri, Carrot Halwa, Peda and Gulab Jamun are made of Khoya.
“Khoya is a nourishing Indian sweet that everyone should include in their diet. It is a perfect mix of ingredients that keeps your head, heart and hormones balanced and healthy. Khoya is a blend of kesar, dhaniya magaz, khus khus and lots of nuts and elaichi in whole milk, along with natural sweetening from dates and cane sugar,” concludes Raksha Lulla, Lifestyle Coach and Nutrition Expert.
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