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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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                                Published on November 14, 2018

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                Symptoms of Fatigue

                                Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                • mental blocks
                                • lack of motivation
                                • headache
                                • dizziness
                                • muscle weakness
                                • slowed reflexes and responses
                                • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                • moodiness, such as irritability
                                • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                • reduced immune system function
                                • blurry vision
                                • short-term memory problems
                                • poor concentration
                                • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                Causes of Fatigue

                                The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                Anemia

                                Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                Diabetes

                                Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                Sleep Apnea

                                Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                Thyroid disease

                                An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Lack of sleep
                                • Too much sleep 
                                • Alcohol and drugs 
                                • Sleep disturbances 
                                • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                • Poor diet 

                                Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                1. Tell The Truth

                                Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                • How you feel
                                • What time of day it is
                                • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                • How your mind and body reacts

                                This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                4. Express More Gratitude

                                Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                5. Focus On Yourself

                                Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                7. Take a Power Nap

                                When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                8. Take More Exercise

                                The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                10. Improve Your Diet

                                Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                12. Get Hydrated

                                Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                The Bottom Line

                                These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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