Friday, November 9, 2012

Sweet Treats

For all the healthy and home-cooked eating we do in our home, there’s one little dietary habit my husband and I can’t seem to shake: dessert.

About 9 nights out of 10, we cap off a good meal and a long day at work with a sweet little something. All the health research and all of my health magazines continually suggest that dessert should be a once-in-awhile treat, and that reducing animal-based fats and sugar intake is critical for long-term health. While I certainly heed these warnings and do resist sugar and treats throughout the day, I’ll be totally honest in saying that my sugary little night cap probably isn’t going anywhere.

But while I am in no hurry to change our nightly ritual, I have changed what we consume for dessert. The rule, just like everything else we eat, is that it must be real food. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it’s not.

Of all the things we’ve changed in our diets, dessert has been far and away the most difficult thing to find in a natural state. Read the label on any package of cookies or any carton of ice cream and the list of ingredients, most of which are completely unrecognizable, goes on for days. The brands that claim to be “all natural” (i.e., Breyers, Dreyers/Edys) are amongst the worst offenders of being anything but natural, and while I love the taste of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, I can’t bring myself to eat that mess of chemicals posing as food.

Thankfully, there are a couple alternatives we’ve found that satisfy our “must be food” criteria and our taste buds:

Kirkland’s Premium Vanilla Ice Cream (Costco brand). Suggested to me by my mother in law, this is the richest and creamiest ice cream I’ve ever bought from the store, and it only has about five ingredients. In fact, it’s so good that it has completely ruined all other store bought ice cream for me, which worked out to be a pretty good little bonus for resisting temptation.

Kozy Shack Rice Pudding. Found in any grocery store and frequently on sale (Publix often has them buy one, get one), the five or so ingredients are all completely natural. Note that it’s just the rice pudding varieties that are good. The other pudding varieties without rice use far more ingredients, some of which are not natural.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid eating chemical-laden dessert is to make your own, which we do on occasion. But for a quick dessert fix, these are some great store-bought alternatives.

What’s your favorite all natural, real food dessert?

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