How can we satisfy a sweet tooth without having to worry about our waistlines? Here are a few dietitians’ healthy winter dessert ideas…

If you struggle with sweet cravings at night, you are not alone.

According to Catherine Day, a registered dietitian in private practice in Cape Town, many people want something sweet after dinner.

The good news is you don’t have to skip dessert in order to maintain a healthy diet.

“Enjoying a little of what you love can help you steer clear of feeling denied. Just be sure you are making a mindful choice and not reaching for a second helping on impulse,” says registered dietitian Terry Harris, from Discovery Vitality, Harris.

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Drink up

According to Day, the desire for dessert is either out of habit or a sign your body asking for something it still needs.

“You may find that you have not drunk enough fluids in the day and that your body is actually craving more fluids as opposed to food (for some reason the brain is not good at telling the difference between thirst and hunger),” says Day.

In that case, she recommends a warm cup of herbal tea or chai tea with low-fat milk and half a teaspoon of honey (if desired).

Related: 4 Quick healthy dinner ideas (ready in just 30 minutes)

Baked, grilled or stewed fruit

“If you have not eaten your fruit servings (most people need two to three fruits minimum per day), then end off your day with a stewed apple, which can easily be done in the microwave. It’s warm, sweet and delicious with some cinnamon or mixed spice,” suggests Day.

Harris recommends topping grilled pineapple or baked apples with a scoop of plain yoghurt for a delicious dessert.

Naazneen Sali-Ameen, Nestlé Health and Wellness Manager says her personal favourite in winter is poached pear and homemade custard with reduced amounts of sugar.

If you’re in a rush, she says you could slice a ripe pear into a ramekin, sprinkle some cinnamon on top, microwave for about one minute, sprinkle sliver of almonds and pour homemade custard when done.

“You sweet tooth will be satisfied, but you will also get a proper serving of fruit and some calcium too.”

Fresh strawberries with melted chocolate

Harris suggested dipping the tip of fresh strawberries into melted chocolate.

Hot chocolate

Harris and Cheryl Meyer, dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, agree that a mug of homemade hot chocolate may also offer just enough of a sweet treat that you are craving after an evening meal.

Meyer recommends the following healthy homemade cocoa recipe:

  • Combine one tablespoon cocoa powder and sugar or sweetener (optional – to taste) in a mug.
  • Stir into one cup steaming milk (go for skim/fat-free for a lower-cal option).
  • Spice it up with orange peel and ground cloves, ground cardamom and vanilla or chilli powder and cinnamon.

Related: 5 Dietitian-approved winter dinners

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.