Who says you have to completely curb your sugar cravings? I say, just get smart about your choices.
Sugar has been branded as the harbinger of all things bad (health wise) and has recently taken over from fat as the biggest villain in “what causes the modern day ailments” script.
Sure, it’s true to an extent. Besides the regular suspects like diabetes and obesity, research has proven sugar’s connect with hypertension, fatty liver, acne, cellulite and lowered immunity.
Phew! So does this mean one must give up on everything sweet, entirely? And does one really need to completely ban desserts even if one is otherwise healthy (non diabetic, etc.)?
Nope, there’s no need to go cold turkey. Coz the fact is, the more you try to run away from meetha, the more you’ll think about it
Instead, what you really need to do is follow some good rules of dessert eating. Here’s helping:
Cheeni Kum for Tea & Coffee
Get smart here. Sweeten your beverages with natural options like honey or jaggery. These are not only less processed (than refined sugar), they also contain some beneficial substances – including antioxidants and minerals, even if in trace amounts.
Pick the (Slightly) Healthier Dessert
Here’s how. When picking a dessert to eat, always make sure that it offers some nutritious goodness (besides just empty calories and fat). Avoid those that are just combinations of sugar, white flour, butter and trans fat.
Say, you had to pick between rasgulla and gulab jamun. Now, while both are comparable in calories and sugar content, rasgullas made of cottage cheese will give you some dairy, hence some protein and calcium too. It is, therefore, a better choice than the gulab jamun which is just a ball of sugar and fat.
Similarly, if there is a choice between fruit custard and jalebi, custard wins hands down for the same reason. Ditto for a choice between an anjeer (figs) burfee and a khoya one (anjeer gets you loads of calcium and fibre too).
The Secret to ‘Small Portions’
Portion control is absolutely essential. The first bite gives you the taste of the dessert, the second satisfies you, and the third seals the deal. Stop here as any more is simply greed!
Try this – if you’re at a buffet and have scooped yourself a small portion, go sit as far away from the dessert table as possible. That will make it cumbersome to get hold of seconds.
Also, if you’re mapping the number of calories, just follow this simple trick: if you’re planning to have a sumptuous dessert, just cut the main to size (or skip the snacks). That way you’ll ensure that excess is entailed.
Bake That Cake!
Making your own desserts is a smart tactic too. What we buy from the mithai shop and the patisseries are typically overloaded with sweet and refined stuff (and chemicals too, unfortunately). When we make/bake our own treats, we can better alter them according to taste/health and hold our hand a bit when adding sugar and fats.
Fruit It Up
Finally, fruits make a perfect and quick dessert. They satisfy our sugar cravings – yet are calorie wise and packed with lots of health goodies (read: antioxidants, etc.).
Pear is a natural choice as, not only does it have a scrumptiously delicate flavour and a melt-in-the-mouth texture, it has levulose, the sweetest of all known sugars in abundance too. This satisfies our sweet cravings brilliantly!
Litchi is another delicious fruit that works. Deseeded frozen litchi is far better than any sugar sweetened dessert. If you want to make it more decadent, try this: deseed the litchi, stuff it with lightly sweetened chhana (crumbled cottage cheese), chill and eat. A delicious combination of fibre, nutrients, calcium and protein, this is also a perfect dessert.
(Kavita Devgan is a weight management consultant, nutritionist, health columnist and author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)