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Dessert: Don't Settle for Cheap Thrills

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Chocolate zucchini bars recipe

(There is a recipe. Scroll down for that.)

Maybe the fact that I am a personal trainer and nutrition coach has you questioning why I would write about dessert, and more importantly, why you would read it. You might be asking yourself "Shouldn't she be sharing recipes for brownies made with beans and avocados?" or "Isn't this taboo territory for a personal trainer?" I would emphatically answer, "NO, this is exactly what we need to talk about!" Why? Because, as all the kids are saying, the struggle is real. My family, friends, clients, and yes, even nutrition coaches, sometimes struggle with sugar. Honestly, if you're an American, I don't know how you can escape the sugar trap. Walk through any grocery store and there are no limits on how to satisfy your sweet tooth. Beyond the cookie, candy, and frozen treat aisles, so much of our packaged foods have sugar added to them that even foods we typically consider healthy are adding to our daily sugar intake.

Why is this such a big deal? Well, science is making it increasingly clear that sugar affects more than just our waistlines. Increased sugar consumption may increase risk of heart disease, cancer, adversely affect your kidneys and liver, and help your dentist with their boat payment. We know that more sugar is not doing us any favors, healthwise.

But knowledge doesn't translate that well to behavior. The reality is, sugar is something we associate with celebrations and it tastes good. We're not likely to cut it out completely, and making foods off-limits just backfires. So, what can you do? First, start becoming better informed about what you're eating by reading labels and ingredient lists. Once you know what's in your food, you can start eliminating the truly frivolous stuff with better alternatives. Next, begin sensitizing your palate to sugar by decreasing overall intake. Most importantly, be picky, even snobby, about sweets. Rather than getting store bought products, try making your own with the highest quality ingredients you can use. This has the dual benefit of making it less convenient while also making it more delicious. If you don't bake, you probably know a star baker, so enjoy their special treats on occasion and skip the packaged stuff. As one of my baker friends says, "No box sh*t here!" (If you are a baker, you can experiment with lowering the amount you add to baked goods. Keep in mind that sugar greatly affects the final product, so you may want to read up on that a bit.)

If you're going to have dessert, be picky, even snobby, about what you choose.

Speaking of celebrations, Valentine's (and Galentine's) Day are approaching. Maybe you'd like to bake something delicious that has the sugar dialed down a bit, but still feels a treat.

Please note: I have made the recipe graphic smaller in order to be more mobile device compatible. If you're having trouble reading the graphic on a computer or laptop, click on the recipe link at the bottom of the graphic, which will give you a larger version to read.

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