Summer desserts

Substitute a few ingredients and tickle your taste buds!

Typically when one mentions dessert or thinks about dessert, there are visions of rich, gooey, dripping desserts that just the thought of can add calories and pack on the pounds. Then there are other delicious desserts that may not put you too far off kilter or that won’t have you sweating in a kitchen. Michigan State University Extension suggests the following healthier alternative options:

  1. Consider fruit pizza, using a whole wheat crust, buttered with a light or no-fat cream cheese, sweetened with fruit puree, juice or a no-calorie sweetener. Top with your choice of sliced kiwi, strawberries, peaches, mangoes, blueberries, raspberries, etc. Place fruit randomly or in neat circles on top (see the fruit pizza link for ideas).
  2. Create fruit kabobs; all you need are a few skewers and some of your favorite fruit, cubed or cut into creative shapes. Put about five or six pieces of fruit on the skewer and enjoy. A light dipping sauce made with yogurt, honey and a touch of cinnamon is an option.
  3. For a fast, sweet choice make a fruit salsa from canned fruit – be sure that the fruit is canned in its own juice. Drain each can of fruit, then finely dice or chop the fruits, combine the fruits and serve with store bought or homemade chips.
  4.  Make your own layered pudding fruit cup. In a large glass or see-through plastic goblet, add a base layer of vanilla yogurt with small chunks of fruit, top with a layer of sliced strawberries, blueberries, etc. Next, top the fruit layer with prepared sugar-free instant vanilla pudding, and then add a layer of crushed graham cracker crumbs. Add another layer of fruit and end with a whipped topping and garnish with a cherry. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes.
  5. Design your own watermelon basket. See the linked video on how to hollow out the watermelon and add fruit to serve.
  6. If you find that you have a craving for cake, either make or purchase a mini or full size angel food cake, top with fruit and a whipped topping.
  7. If you are a chocoholic, occasionally settle on three to five chunks of chocolate dipped fruit. Partially dip fruit in a high-quality dark chocolate; or
  8. Make a chocolate pudding cup using sugar-free instant chocolate pudding, folded in with a low-fat whipped topping and top with a cherry. Or make a chocolate frosting shot. Notice the above “occasional” warning!
  9. For a more hardy dessert that is packed with fiber, consider a granola fruit cup. Layer the cup with store bought or homemade granola; add a layer of chunky canned fruit (in its own juice). Add a little applesauce if you need to soften the granola. Top with a sugar-free instant pudding and end with a whipped topping and a cherry for good looks.
  10. Try (especially with the kids) frozen fruit pops. Puree your favorite fruit, leave some chunks, add apple juice, put in popsicle molds and freeze. If you don’t have any molds, try filling an ice tray and serve as frozen fruit cubes.
  11. If you want to impress your family and friends, try a fruit trifle, while this is not a true trifle it could have the same wow factor (search the internet for ideas of trifle presentations). For the first layer, cut or tear into bite-size pieces, at least half of an angel food cake, drizzle syrup from a can of fruit in its own juice or with applesauce. Add a layer of drained canned fruit from a large can of fruit; a can of quality fruit cocktail looks best. If you want to use fresh fruit, the applesauce or other syrup needs to be used to soak the cake lightly. Then add a layer of sugar-free instant vanilla pudding (about half the mixture), repeat the layering, starting with the angel food cake again. For the last layer add a whipped topping or a no-calorie sweetener whipped cream. As an option, garnish with a cherry and a mint sprig and enjoy!

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