Whether it’s graduation parties, barbeques or weekends at the cabin, summer brings many fun events that often include indulgent desserts — and a lot of added sugar. But don’t worry, you can enjoy these popular summer desserts using healthier alternatives that will still satisfy your sweet tooth.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10% each day, which is about 12 teaspoons.
Added sugars can hide in a lot of products we wouldn’t expect like condiments, yogurt, nut butters, dried fruits and even granola bars. This can make it hard to get a realistic count of how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming. This also adds to your daily calorie intake, without providing your body with any essential nutrients.
However, fruit contains natural sugar while providing the nutritional value of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber – making it an easy and healthier way to sweeten desserts.
Try these dessert swaps for your summer sweet fix without going overboard on added sugar and empty calories:
Instead of ice cream – Greek yogurt dots
One cup of ice cream has about 7 teaspoons of added sugar. Swap that out for this Greek Yogurt Dots recipe that has 0-3 teaspoons of added sugar, depending on the type of yogurt you choose.
1. All you need is ½ cup of your favorite fruit and 2/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt (check the nutrition label for added sugars).
2. Puree the fruit in a blender until smooth and mix in with the yogurt.
3. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.
4. Squeeze small swirls of yogurt onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Freeze overnight and enjoy!
Instead of a freeze pop – Flavored water popsicle
A freeze pop contains about 2 teaspoons of added sugar, which isn’t too bad. But who only eats one on a hot summer day? Swap that with homemade flavored water popsicles and you can enjoy more without the added guilt.
1. All you need is flavored water and fruit.
2. Pour flavored water into a popsicle mold.
3. Add fruit.
4. Freeze overnight and enjoy!
Instead of cheesecake – Fruit kebabs
Cheesecake is delicious but it’s filled with 7 teaspoons of added sugar. Trying swapping it out with this chocolate-dipped fruit kebab recipe, which cuts the amount of added sugar in half.
1. All you need is 1 cup of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, 24 pieces of fruit (ex: strawberries, bananas, blueberries), and six 4-inch wooden skewers.
2. Microwave and stir the chocolate until melted.
3. Dip or drizzle the chocolate onto the fruit and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
4. Thread four pieces of fruit onto each skewer and enjoy!