“You dietitians have banned all desserts for me.. “
“I have not tasted sweets since I discovered I am diabetic “
“No Artificial sweeteners, you say; does that mean I can’t ever enjoy life? “
Since the time I became a dietician, and later a GOQii coach, I must have heard these statements at least once every week.
What I like to explain to my players is that – It’s not that you can’t enjoy desserts; it depends on how you choose to enjoy them.
Even where diabetics are concerned – our focus should be, not on cutting off all their sugar but, to achieve good sugar control.
Growing up, I had always observed an aunt of mine, whose husband was diabetic; make a separate serving of sugar free dessert for my uncle.And, I always used to wonder how would a dessert taste without any sweetness in it – But, the main ingredient of her sugar free custard or puddings, used to be some or the other added fruit.
When god has given us naturally sweet ingredients, why not use them to their fullest potential.
Going forward I would also like to add that, even though the recipes I am sharing are sugar free – they are still desserts, made with some amount of fats and are still an extra to our routine meals, hence should still be enjoyed occasionally and in smaller quantity than our main meals. I always like to remind my players that our society has smaller sized dessert plates and bowls for a reason. Because, we were meant to enjoy them in smaller quantities from the beginning – It is only, the commercial trend of JUMBO sizing everything that starts the trouble.
It is a customary Indian tradition to celebrate everything with laddus (sweet balls). You get good grades – laddu, you have a baby – laddu, your wedding gets fixed -laddu, and the list goes on…Why not have healthy Laddus then to celebrate every occasion?
1 cup deseeded dates
¼ cup mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachio)
Just soak the dates in ½ a cup of water for 10 minutes – and churn in a grinder jar with the nuts. If too soft, refrigerate for half an hour. Make lemon sized balls of the mixture and coat with desiccated coconut.
Everyone knows how to make custard – It’s the simplest desserts to satisfy our sweet cravings. And the recipe couldn’t get any more basic than this.
The trick to make a sugar free custard is to mash up an over ripe banana and mix it in the milk, instead of just adding chopped fruit.
Just follow the instructions on your packet of custard powder – and mix an overripe mashed banana in the end – strain the mixture if you don’t want any lumps. Serve as you wish – plain as a fruit salad or even a healthy trifle.
You could try the same thing with mango puree too, to make mango custard.
This is a recipe I pulled off the internet in my earlier baking days. And, the first thing I realized after trying it once – there is no need of sugar in it, although the original recipe calls for it. So, I went on to perfect it, minus the sugar and it actually made no difference whatsoever.
3 cups (400 grams) pitted dried dates
1 cup (240 ml) water
2 cups (200 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (130 grams) Whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup (175 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Date Filling:Place the dates and water in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water (about 5 – 10 minutes). Remove from heat, Let it cool to room temperature and then puree in your food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Grease an 8 x 11 inch (20 x 28 cm) or a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Oatmeal Crust: In the bowl of your food processor, place the oats, flour, and baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Pulse to combine. Then add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the base of the prepared pan.
Spread the dates evenly over the oatmeal crust. Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the top of the dates. Bake for about 30 -40 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the squares have cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator at least one hour or until firm enough to cut easily into squares.
These will keep, covered, in the refrigerator up to a week.
Makes about 20, 2 inch squares.
Banana and mango ice cream:
I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM ICE CREAM!!!
Ever heard that phrase? I have grown up with it… Well, this is technically frozen yoghurt but, I don’t see anyone complaining when it’s served up in a cone or a pretty ice cream bowl.
- 6 bananas, peeled and chopped
- 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup (280g) yoghurt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the banana and mango in an airtight container and freeze for 4 hours or until frozen. Place the banana, mango and yoghurt in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve as you like.
When it comes to cooking, there is no reason to stick to only these fruits – if some other fruit catches your fancy like straw berries, raspberries or peaches or any other, you can try using them too in a similar manner.
Tip: If not serving straight away, return to an airtight container and freeze. Allow to soften for 5 minutes before serving. You could scoopinto ice-cream cones to serve.
Serves 6 -8
My list can be endless, Sweet potato porridge, Date pudding, Carrot and Date Porridge /Halwa…..
But, why should I do all the work, cooking is therapeutic for some and for some it’s an experiment. So why not all of you try this experiment and make sure to share your results..