An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Blah. Blah. Blah. What if I told you a dessert a day kept the doctor away, too? I’d be your best friend. Guess we’re pals now.
I indulge each and every day and I’d encourage you to do the same.
I told this to a nutrition client last week and she looked at me like I’d gone mad. “But how do you stay trim?” she questioned. The two keys to indulging is to do it often and do it healthfully. There is a very real psychological and physiological reason why “cheating” is a must. Grab a brownie, and have a read.
- Treat Yourself Often:
It is important to treat yourself with regularity for a variety of reasons. For starters, and most importantly, it improves quality of life. If you are only eating broccoli sprigs and chicken breasts, you are missing out on life. Really, I like leafy greens as much as the next nutrition coach–trust me–but food variety is important for our mental well-being. If your own joy isn’t convincing enough, let me explain why treats actually help you meet your physique goals, too.
Diet mentality is typically an oscillating hybrid of guilt and punishment, with an undertone of resentment. It causes your relationship with food to morph into “bad” and “good,” instead of one of nourishment and self-love.
Here is the common scenario: You are “good” for many days in a row—lean meat and veggies galore. Then you see your husband eating ice cream. You rationalize and barter with yourself. It is Saturday after all, and you’ll just have one bite…just a taste. Next thing you know, you are fist deep in a pint and you can’t decide which is worse–your will power or your stomach ache. You repent by swearing that Monday is the start of a stricter diet and a promise to “be really, really good this time.” But you know where you’ll find yourself in a week or two. Diets don’t work. If you are truly committing to a life of healthy eating, you simply must drop the diet and adopt balance.
Eating sweets with regularity actually prevents binges, and thus, helps you reach your goals longterm. It affords you the upper hand with your nutrition and life balance. Not only is that empowering, but it allows you to make healthier “indulgences” with control and purpose. If you can keep your sweet tooth at bay with a homemade zucchini cake instead of store bought cupcakes, you will feel satisfied physically and emotionally, and haven’t set yourself back on your health goals.
Eating treats also helps you maintain motivation to keep a healthy lifestyle. You can’t live life deprived. It isn’t sustainable, and you will crack. Eradicate the resentment, otherwise you will fail.
Also, eating treats can help prevent dips in metabolic rate that occur when dieting too strictly. (Read this article on five tips to keep your metabolism optimized.)
- Treat Yourself Right. Healthy Desserts Is a Real Thing!
Here’s the catch. You have to “cheat” the right way. There is a big difference between eating a box of Oreos and having a few squares of dark chocolate. You know this intuitively.
Avoid refined, white sugar, white flour, and processed garbage. Garbage is still garbage. Instead, make sweet treats with honey, maple syrup, Monk Fruit Sweetener, Stevia Sweetener, dates and other natural sweeteners. Use real food ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa, and pumpkin. Satisfy your cravings with healthy alternatives. The list is endless.
Here are some of my favorite ingredients:
Be mindful of portion control. You can’t eat an entire pan of healthy brownies and tell yourself you are boosting your metabolism. Have one serving, savor it, and enjoy. You’ll find that one serving is satisfying anyway, because you aren’t in a state of deprivation when the timer beeps on the oven.
Above all else, please remember that feeding your soul is just as important as feeding your body.
- My favorite healthy bakers (Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan Options!)
- Detoxinista: Paleo and vegan desserts galore! She has amazing recipes and an easy to use website. She uses all-natural, healthful ingredients that will prove to you that healthy eating is freaking tasty!
The Big Man’s World: Don’t be fooled by the name, ladies. It will not make you big, or manly. What is “big” is the epic selection of healthy dessert recipes. Each time his posts come across my screen, I tell my husband I am leaving him. (I kid). His food photos are seriously beautiful though. So beautiful, in fact, that I often find myself unable to make anything because once I get to his site, I start scrolling through all the yummy desserts and then I just can’t decide. Maybe he can give me pointers on how to make my food pics not look like dog poop.
The Minimalist Baker: She is so badass. Awesome photos, and even better is her practicality. Here is her motto: delicious recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare. Again, a ton of vegan and paleo options. YUM.
Now go enjoy some dessert!