Ask Ginger: Rethink Your Dessert
Oct 07

Ask Ginger: Rethink Your Dessert

By Let's Move Pittsburgh

You've got questions ... we’ve got answers! Email your queries about healthy foods, physical activity and screen time for kids and Ginger will answer them here on the Phipps blog.

Q: With the holidays quickly approaching I am already thinking about all the sugary foods that will be tempting me throughout the next few months. What are some ways that I can indulge my sweet tooth, but in a healthier way? (Brenda, West View)

A: Great question! Sugary foods and desserts make a big appearance during the holiday times which make them pretty hard to avoid. If you’re looking for a way to indulge your sweet tooth but in a healthy way, Harvard School of Public Health recommends a combination of the Three Pleasures1:

Fruit – Fruit is a naturally sweet option that will lower the need of adding sugar to your dessert.1 Including fruit in your dessert will also provide you with vitamins and minerals that are naturally found in them.
Nuts – Nuts are a great source of healthy fat and protein. They will also provide texture to your dish and come in a variety of flavors to choose from.1
Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate offers a wide range of flavors depending on the brand and cocoa percentage. The higher the cocoa percentage, the less sweet it will be. Harvard School of Public Health says a cocoa of 70 percent or higher will complement the sweetness of the fruit well.1

The Three Pleasures are a quick and easy way to indulge your sweet tooth at home or even at a restaurant since those three items are commonly used in the kitchen. If you are looking for ways to reduce sugar in your baking this holiday season use apple sauce or pureed banana as a substitute for sugar.2 Apple sauce and bananas are a 1:1 substitute for sugar, meaning if your recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar you would use 1 cup of apple sauce or mashed banana!

Here is a recipe for you ice cream lovers out there! Making ice cream with mashed bananas cuts down added sugar and tastes great. Feel free to experiment with other fruit mixtures or try adding some spinach or avocado. The sweetness of fruit will mask the taste and your family will have no idea it’s in there!3  Don’t forget the toppings like sliced nuts or toasted coconut for some added crunch.

Whipped Sorbet4


3 bananas, peeled and frozen

1 cup frozen berries


Puree ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Serve immediately or store in freezer in a covered container.



1 Harvard School of Public Health: Dessert by Design: The Three Pleasures

2 Greatist: 30 Sugar Substitutes

3 Small Kitchen College: 5 Ingredient Feast: Homemade Fruit Ice Cream

4 Martha Stewart: Whipped Sorbet Recipe