March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy diet limits the amount of calories people should consume from added sugars and saturated fat. Does that mean no desserts?
While many baked goods are a major source of both added sugars and saturated fat, dessert still can be an enjoyable part of a full and well-balanced eating pattern. Follow these tips for delicious baked goods with more healthy nutrients and less added sugar and saturated fat.
Watch Portion Size
Keeping portion sizes in check is a primary strategy for healthfully incorporating baked goods into a healthy eating pattern. Make portion control easier by preparing miniature desserts such as mini-cupcakes. Or cut brownies and sheet cakes into two-inch squares and portion cookie dough using a one-tablespoon scoop.
Use high-quality ingredients for a more flavorful product that will satisfy cravings even with smaller portions. For example, use vanilla beans instead of extract, opt for high-quality chocolate and make sure your spices are fresh for the boldest flavor.
Incorporate Nutrient-Rich Ingredients
Instead of focusing on what to cut out, why not add something nutritious to your recipe?
Reduce Saturated Fat and Added Sugars
You can do this in a number of ways. For instance, try these modifications:
There is room for all foods, even baked goods, in a healthy eating pattern. Focus on occasionally enjoying small portions of your favorite treats and experiment with creating healthier versions of favorite recipes for more nutrients in each delicious bite.