After a long day, all you really want to do is kick back, watch some TV, and dig into your favorite dessert. Ice cream, chocolate, cookies, maybe all three.
Or maybe you feel like you deserve a little dessert after a solid week of clean eating.
But if you’re not careful, your definition of “a little dessert” might not exactly fit your macros.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some dessert or sweet treats once in awhile.
In fact, I’m not a fan of all-or-nothing restrictive diets. It’s just too hard for most people to stick to. It’s why my training and meal plans include the foods you like to eat, within reason, to help you achieve your goals.
Leaving a little room in your diet for some dessert or sweet treats, can help you stick to your meal plan the rest of the time and make eating and training enjoyable.
But if you’re not careful, dessert can derail your diet in a hurry.
The Darkside of Dessert
Here’s what typically happens when you try and cut out all desserts and sweet treats.
First, you make up your mind to swear off dessert. And it’s OK for a couple of days.
- You throw out any junk food you have in the house.
- You drink more water.
- You try and stay busy.
- You swap chocolate covered candies for snap peas, and pretend it’s enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Then, little by little, your cravings keep getting stronger.
Finally, something stressful happens that tips you over the edge. Your willpower isn’t strong enough to resist the cravings anymore. And you finally give in.
- You scarf down a whole container of ice cream.
- You bake a cake and eat the whole thing piece by piece.
- You order a restaurant dessert big enough for four and you devour it on your own.
It happens.If you let loose and eat an obscene amount of dessert once, then get back on track, it’s probably not going to have a big impact on the scale or results when you look in the mirror.
But too often, one indulgent dessert leads to another and another.
And if biggie-sized desserts become a regular thing, you’re going to be sabotaging your best efforts even if you’re training hard and eating well the rest of the time.
Need proof? Take a look at the nutrition profile for these popular desserts:
Peanut Butter Dream Bar
|Hot Fudge Brownie Ala Mode||830||37g||
|Chocolate Chip Sundae||1,010||55g||
|Tennessee Whiskey Cake||1,110||52g||
|Chocolate Chip Cookies (two)||420||22g||
|Apple Pie Ala Mode||500||7g||
Where Are Your Calories Coming From?
If you’re not getting the results you want, take a closer look at your diet.
You might be eating chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, protein shakes, lean meat, and plenty of leafy greens on a regular basis.
But if your diet also includes a hefty dose of high-calorie desserts (you should track everything you eat), you’re probably eating too many calories.
If you are, you’re probably a long way from hitting your daily macro goals for protein, fats, and carbs.
And that’s going to have an impact on your weight, body fat percentage, lean muscle mass, and what you see when you step in front of the mirror.
If you don’t know how many calories are in a dessert, find out before you start stuffing it into your mouth. You can look up calorie count and macronutrients for just about anything at MyFitnessPal.com
A Little Dessert Can Lead to Weight Loss
But that doesn’t mean you have to swear off desserts and pretend rice cakes are just as delicious as donuts.
In a recent study, researchers found that eating dessert in moderation can actually support weight loss.
In the study, researchers found that people who quit chocolate cold-turkey for a week faced withdrawals and cravings as intense as someone addicted to illicit drugs. And most indulged when the cravings became too intense.
But when people made room in their diet for a little dessert, it actually helped support their weight loss goals and prevent the kind of cravings that lead to overeating.
Dig into These Desserts
Can you eat dessert and still achieve your health and fitness goals? Absolutely.
Eating and training to build your ideal body should be enjoyable. With a little practice, it should become part of your lifestyle.
And as far as I’m concerned, that should include dessert. But not just any dessert.
Take a look at the list of sample desserts that can destroy your diet, and it’s pretty easy to see that’s not the way to go, especially if you’re in a calorie deficit.
So what kind of desserts can you eat?
Check out these healthier desserts, that taste just as good or better, that will fit your macros and daily calorie goals.
Give yourself just a few minutes of prep time, and you can enjoy these lower-calorie desserts without destroying your diet.
|Low-Carb Strawberry Protein Ice Cream||152||3g||16g||9g|
|Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies||155||10g||10g||8g|
|Blueberry Protein Cheesecake||137||5g||11g||10g|
|Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies||97||5g||2g||11g|
|Strawberry Protein Cheesecake||108||3g||15g||5g|
|Chocolate Mint Fudge Protein Balls||70||2g||6g||7g|
|Low-Carb Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies||91||3g||7g||9g|
|Healthy Snickerdoodle Cookies||62||2g||5g||6g|
|Raspberry & Coconut Cheesecake||177||13g||12g||9g|
Hungry for dessert? Or need help planning healthier meals? Check out all my recipes to help you lose fat, build muscle, and achieve your health and fitness goals.
1. Jakubowicz, D., et al. (2011). Meal timing and composition influence ghrelin levels, appetite scores and weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults. ScienceDirect. From: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0039128X11003515.