If you want dessert, you should eat it! It’s as simple as that. But many strict diets out there will try to tell you that you should refrain from sweets or your favorite dessert foods in order to lose weight. However, this not only robs you of food that brings you joy, but it often backfires against your weight loss goals in the long run.
If you’re a lover of dessert but want to lose weight, there are plenty of healthy dessert habits that dietitians recommend so that you don’t have to give up your favorite sweet treats! Continue reading to learn more about what they suggest, and for more healthy dessert ideas, check out 7 Weight Loss Desserts That Actually Satisfy
Opt for portion-controlled desserts.
Just because you’re trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to stop eating dessert. Instead, paying attention to your portion sizes can work wonders.
“While eating appropriate amounts of dessert can be a part of a weight loss-friendly diet, eating large portion sizes can work against your health goals. Pre-portioned desserts, like a fruit pop made with real fruit or an individual-sized treat, are nice options for those who want to manage their weight,” says medical board expert Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility.
Enjoy a cup of green tea with your dessert.
You may not automatically associate drinking tea with eating dessert, but the combination of the two can not only be deliciously cozy, but healthier as well. This is why Manaker suggests trying green tea.
“Green tea contains caffeine and a compound called EGCG, both of which have been shown to support weight loss,” says Manaker.
Lean on the natural sweetness of fruit.
If you’re a fan of fruit, try leaning on your favorite kind of fruit for your dessert options every now and then.
“Eating fruit can help satisfy a sweet tooth while providing your body with satisfying fiber, which can help control appetite and promote satiety. Or, you can make simple fruit-based desserts, like this kiwi-orange sorbet,” says Manaker.
Give yourself full permission to eat any dessert.
Sometimes, limiting ourselves too much in order to lose weight can result in the opposite effect.
“When we limit foods and don’t allow ourselves to eat foods we crave, the craving will only increase,” says Taylor Wesely, RD, owner of Radiate Nutrition LLC. “The craving will continue to increase until you most likely give in. At this point, you are more likely to eat more of the actual dessert than if you would have just eaten it right away.”
“It sounds counterintuitive to eat more dessert to lose weight, but it can really help you sustain weight loss in the long run,” Wesely continues. “The more often you give in to your cravings and eat dessert, the less ‘thrilling’ or ‘special’ it becomes. Over time, you will think about it less and your portion sizes will naturally get smaller. This is especially true when you are pairing this behavior with a nutrient-dense diet and regular activity.”
Always eat a nutrient-dense meal before dessert.
It’s also important to eat your dessert after you’ve already had a nutrient-dense meal for dinner. If you try to eat dessert on an empty stomach or after a nutrient-lacking meal, it can have some negative effects on your health goals.
“Skipping meals is going to leave you ravenous when a dessert is placed in front of you because it’s a normal reaction to overeat to account for the missed calories that your body needs,” says Wesely. “Also, eating high carbohydrate meals, especially those in refined carbohydrates raise your blood sugar quickly. These types of meals will also increase your appetite for sugary desserts.”
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