For many people, myself included, sugar, and more specifically dessert, can be a vice, a weakness, what feels like a constant struggle.  There are times when you would kill for some chocolate.  Everyone looks like a walking Snickers bar…I get it.   

We assume that in order to be our best selves, we have to exercise for hours or restrict our caloric intake to that of a single piece of kale.   Don’t get me wrong, I do love kale!  But I also LOVE cookies.   I’m all about practicing balance and moderation.

Sugar is admittedly not great for you, and we have to be careful of the amount of sugar we are consuming (whether knowingly or not).   The more you cut out sugar, the less you crave it- it’s true.  Before opting for any traditional dessert I recommend trying to curb the craving with fruit.  Often times the natural sugars in fruit will subside your hankering for desserts with tons of refined sugars and/or artificial sweeteners. 

That being said, dessert can be OK!  For starters, there are plenty of healthy dessert alternatives.  To be clear, I do not mean the low-fat, low-sugar crap we often see on processed food labels.  These are not good alternatives.  Low-sugar means nothing more than a ton of artificial sweetener.  Low-fat usually has more sugar to compensate for flavor loss, therefore more calories than its full-fat counterpart.

Healthy dessert alternatives can be something like organic dark chocolate.  An “emergency” stock of dark chocolate is a great option to help subside your sweet tooth.  Dark chocolate, though an acquired taste, does have some nutritional benefits.  It is a great source of antioxidants!

If taking a small portion is a slippery slope for you, that’s ok.  In fact, it’s more than ok.  Recognizing and acknowledging these qualities can be a very powerful tool to your nutritional success.  For that reason, I prefer to have desserts where I can limit myself to a single serving size. For example, I whip up a batch of healthy chocolate chip cookies, and store them in the freezer.  When I want dessert I defrost only one cookie.

Don't live in a life of fear.  Dessert doesn’t have to be so scary or guilt-ridden.  Whether it's a Paleo cookie or splurging for the best, like a giant cookie from Levain, it’s important to listen to your body’s cravings.  I also believe that nutrition can’t be so constricting.  You will never truly succeed in a healthy, well-balanced life, if you are not able to live!  Part of this means enjoying yourself, the company you keep and all of life’s little and big celebrations, even if that means a few pieces of cake along the way!