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Quick And Easy: 15 Healthy Desserts To Replace Ice Cream

Quick And Easy: 15 Healthy Desserts To Replace Ice Cream

As more and more scientific studies demonstrate that diet, not exercise, is the key to weight loss and weight management, we know that we should all make a few healthy substitutions in our diet. The good news is that finding nutritious alternatives to calorie-rich foods doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.

When you’re craving a heaping bowl of ice cream, try any of 15 these easy, healthy desserts instead. Packed with nutritional benefits, you’ll feel just as good after you eat these treats as you do while you eat them.

1. Cinnamon Bun Smoothie

Cinnamon

    Required ingredients: frozen bananas, rolled oats, pitted dates, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract

    Simply all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.

    The rolled oats in this smoothie not only create a thick, creamy texture, but they also provide a ton of healthy fiber. Research has also shown that a diet of whole oats can lower bad cholesterol levels.

    2. Coffified Green Monster

    15 Healthy Desserts

      Required ingredients: fresh spinach, brewed coffee, instant coffee, frozen banana, chocolate protein powder, ice

      Blend the ingredients together, adding more or less ice depending on your preferred texture.

      This smoothie combines the caffeine boost of coffee with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber of fresh spinach. One of the most nutrient-rich superfoods, spinach is high in iron and vitamin K, two minerals that promote healthy blood function and bone health. For extra variety, add any flavor of protein powder you like.

      3. Greek Yogurt Popsicles

      Yogurt popsicle

        Required ingredients: Greek yogurt, honey, frozen fruit of your choice

        These popsicles are effortless to make. Just pulse the yogurt, honey, and frozen fruit together in a blender. Scoop the mixture into a popsicle tray, freeze, and enjoy. Blend separate batches of frozen fruit to create beautiful colors, which you can use for a fancy, layered effect.

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        Greek yogurt is a creamy alternative to ice cream. Though it’s high in fat, Greek yogurt is also high in protein, calcium, and probiotics to support a healthy gut.

        4. Peanut Butter Mousse

        Peanut Butter Mousse

          Required ingredients: silken tofu, reduced-fat peanut butter, powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff, peanuts for garnish

          Puree the tofu, peanut butter, and sugar in a blender. Pour the pureed mixture into serving dishes, and let them cool in the fridge. Top with marshmallow fluff and chopped peanuts.

          This velvety mousse gives a serving of healthy plant-based proteins from the peanuts and the tofu. For an even healthier variety, use homemade peanut or almond butter (which has no preservatives or sugar), and skip the sugar.

          5. Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt, and Mint

          Strawberry Mint

            Required ingredients: fresh mint, Greek yogurt, strawberries, real maple syrup, pepper, honey

            Slice strawberries, and stir in maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of fresh ground pepper. In another bowl, mix Greek yogurt and honey. Top the yogurt with the strawberries, and sprinkle with fresh mint.

            This sweet and savory dessert takes advantage of the many health benefits of Greek yogurt. It’s also the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling under the weather, as some studies have shown that honey can suppress coughing as well as medicine.

            6. Pumpkin Rice Pudding

            Rice Pudding

              Required ingredients: rice, milk, canned pure pumpkin, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt

              While the rice is cooking, heat the milk, pumpkin, honey, and spices on the stove. Add this mixture into the nearly cooked rice, and bake together for about 50 minutes. Let the pudding thicken in the fridge overnight before serving.

              This heart pudding gives an autumnal twist on a classic rice pudding. The addition of the pumpkin not only brings a seasonal flair, but it also provides some serious nutrients. Pumpkin is fiber-rich and especially high in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which contribute to healthy vision, a stronger immune system, and more youthful skin.

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              7. Pina Colada Smoothie 

              Pineapple

                Required ingredients: frozen banana, frozen pineapple, coconut milk, vanilla extract

                Just blend everything together, and garnish with shredded coconut and pineapple.

                This tropical smoothie gives the full pina colada flavor without the calories of added sugar or alcohol. Though coconut milk is high in saturated fat, much of the fat is in the form of lauric acid, which the body converts into a compound that fights viruses and bacteria.

                8. Pistachio Chia Pudding

                Chia seeds

                  Required ingredients: pistachio milk, chia seeds, vanilla extract, cardamom, maple syrup

                  Add the ingredients together in a sealable container, and shake to mix well. Use a spoon to stir the mixture, let it rest for around 10 minutes, and then shake again for a smooth texture. Refrigerate and serve cold.

                  This pudding is a great alternative for pistachio ice cream. It mimics the smooth, creamy texture but with fewer calories and less fat. Chia seeds are a superfood high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which improve essential brain functions.

                  9. Cannoli Strawberries

                  Strawberries

                    Required ingredients: ricotta cheese, strawberries, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest

                    Strain the ricotta through a cheesecloth in the fridge, and then mix the strained ricotta with the sugar, vanilla, and grated lemon zest. Hollow out the center of large strawberries, and fill them with the ricotta mixture. Garnish the cannoli strawberries with chocolate, nuts, or chopped fruit.

                    These bite-sized treats are a light alternative to traditional cannoli, with are rich in heavy cream and refined sugars. Ricotta cheese is full of healthful benefits like protein, calcium, and minerals such as phosphorus. Use light or skim ricotta cheese for a lower-calorie variety.

                    10. Carrot Cake Smoothie

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                    Carrot Smoothie

                      Required ingredients: banana, diced carrots, almond milk, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

                      Blend all the ingredients together in a blender, and enjoy! Top with traditional carrot cake toppings like coconut, walnuts, or shredded carrots.

                      This recipe is a nutrient powerhouse! With the calcium and protein from the Greek yogurt, the potassium and fiber from the banana, and the beta-carotene from the carrots, this smoothie will fill you up and give you energy to start the day.

                      11. Chocolate Chia Pudding

                      Chocolate Chia

                        Required ingredients: milk, semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder, agave nectar, salt, chia seeds, vanilla extract

                        Slowly heat the milk, chocolate, cocoa powder, agave nectar, and salt together, and then add in the chia seeds and vanilla extract. Let the pudding cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. Serve cold.

                        Chia seeds add a hearty texture to this chocolate pudding, while providing their fiber and omega-3 health benefits. For extra superfood power, substitute the semisweet chocolate with dark chocolate, which science has proven to lower cholesterol and improve healthy blood flow.

                        12. Almost-Famous Frozen Yogurt

                        Frozen Yogurt

                          Required ingredients: whole-milk yogurt, Greek yogurt, extra-fine sugar, light corn syrup

                          Stir all ingredients together, place in an ice cream machine, and prepare according to the machine’s instructions. Serve with fruit, chocolate, or nuts for toppings.

                          This recipe is a close and healthy alternative to vanilla ice cream. With a satisfying and light texture, this frozen yogurt provides the calcium, protein, and probiotics of Greek yogurt. For a more natural take, substitute the corn syrup with all-natural honey or agave nectar.

                          13. Fruits in Lemongrass Syrup

                          Fruit Salad

                            Required ingredients: canned lychees, fresh lemongrass, sugar, mixed fruit of your choice

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                            Bring the lychee juice, sugar, and crushed fresh lemongrass stalks to boil, and let it cool to room temperature. Pour over cut fresh fruit.

                            The lemongrass syrup in this modern fruit salad gives a unique zest to fresh fruit. You can add any fruit to this fruit salad, but especially consider adding fruits with the most health benefits, like grapefruit, papaya, and blackberries.

                            14. Homemade Cookie Dough Green Smoothie 

                            Green Smoothie

                              Required ingredients: milk, bananas, kale, oats, almond butter, dates, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, lemon juice

                              Add the ingredients to a blender, and blend until you reach your desired texture.

                              Because it’s vegan, raw, nut-free, and gluten-free, this smoothie can fit any diet. Containing superfoods like kale, almonds, and dates, this tasty dessert is full of fiber, antioxidants, folate, and minerals to keep you feeling full—and full of energy.

                              15. Blueberry Sorbet 

                              Blueberries

                                Required ingredients: fresh blueberries, apple juice concentrate

                                Blend the fresh blueberries and juice in a blender until a thin liquid forms. Freeze the liquid in a baking pan for about 2 hours, and then lightly blend the semi-frozen mixture again. Place the mixture back in the freezer, and serve when fully frozen.

                                This two-ingredient recipe provides the antioxidant power of fresh blueberries without any added sugars. Substitute the apple juice concentrate with fresh-squeezed orange to add extra vitamin C and pulpy fiber.

                                Want more on-the-go healthy recipes? Learn how to cook healthy in less than 10 minutes!

                                Featured photo credit: Ken Hawkins via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                                How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                                How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                                Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                                To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                                Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                                1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                                Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                                Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                                To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                                2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                                Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                                If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                                Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                                3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                                Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                                Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                                4. Feed Your Brain

                                Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                                This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                                Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                                Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                                5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                                According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                                Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                                Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                                6. Write it Down

                                If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                                It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                                You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                                7. Listen to Music

                                Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                                8. Visual Concepts

                                In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                                Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                                Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                                9. Teach Someone Else

                                Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                                Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                                10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                                Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                                So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                                Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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                                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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