Everyone has heard the well-intentioned diet tip to eat fruit for dessert. In fact, it’s one of the pillars of the renowned Mediterranean diet, which is linked to a lower body mass index and lower rates of many chronic diseases.
The problem is, when you’re craving ice cream, cake, or rich chocolate pudding, who wants to settle for an apple?
Forget what you thought about fruit for dessert before. If plain flesh fruit doesn’t feel like a confection for you, the trick is to transform fruit into something special with a few simple tricks.
1. Grill it.
Grilling fruit is a simple step that yields amazing results. Cooking fruit always enhances the natural sweetness, but grilling also adds that beloved smoky flavor. You can place slices of some fruits directly on the grates of the grill to give them the lovely and enticing grill marks.
Certain fruits work better on the grill than others. Look for firm fruits that can be sliced yet hold their shape, such as:
Peaches and nectarines
2. Roast it.
If you don’t have a grill (or it’s 10 degrees outside), you can still bring out great flavor from fruit in your oven. Roasting brings out the sweetness and fruits—and sometimes makes them a little juicier, too. You can also play with spices, like cinnamon or a pumpkin pie spice blend, to make your roasted fruits taste even more incredible.
Pretty much any fruit can be roasted, but some favorites include baked apples or broiled grapefruit.
3. “Mold” it.
No, we’re not advocating for eating rotten fruit for dessert. Many fruits can be pureed and frozen into popsicle molds, bringing you back to your childhood days of eating cherry popsicles at the public swimming pool. (Psst … If you don’t have a popsicle mold, you can use ice cube trays or paper cups.)
Mango and pineapple make great fruits for healthy popsicles since they are naturally sweet, and bananas work great if you want something creamy like ice cream. Don’t be afraid to combine flavors, like strawberry-banana, blueberry-peach, or pineapple-coconut.
4. Freeze it.
Some fruits don’t need a popsicle stick. Frozen grapes, banana slices, or berries make a delicious treat on their own. (For extra indulgence, smear a little peanut butter on the frozen banana slice.)
Speaking of frozen bananas, find out how to make chocolate chip almond ice cream using bananas.
It’s true that retraining a sweet tooth isn’t easy, but these tricks make it a little easier. For more healthy dessert tips, here are 6 low-calorie desserts to help with weight loss.