Healthy Sweet Treats

When people think of healthy eating, immediately the idea of sweet treats fades into a one-time guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have to fade away completely. While refined sugar is not the best for anybody, there are alternatives that can satisfy that sweet tooth while helping you reach your weight loss goals.

Fruit

Fruit is always a good quick fix for a sugar craving. Biting into an apple can ease that sugar craving while providing ample amounts of vitamin A. One medium size apple contains only 95 calories and 4 grams of fiber. If apples aren’t your favorite, try frozen grapes. Grapes are another great bite-size treat that also prove key vitamins. One cup of grapes has over 100 calories and 1 gram of fiber.

Blending fruits like pineapple, bananas and mangoes with a little bit of yogurt can make a delicious smoothie that is nutritious and tasty. If you need more portable treats, add some dried fruits to your bag and you have a sweet treat at your fingertips all the time. However, remember that dried fruits have more sugar and are less filling per ounce than their fresh counterparts.

Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt can quickly satisfy that sweet tooth, and is pleasant and refreshing year round. It has been shown that yogurt has natural cultures that aid in digestion and help regulate the digestive track. It also adds a healthy boost of calcium to your diet. The added bonus with frozen yogurt is the vast array of flavors you can get. It isn’t just vanilla anymore, so you can indulge in other sweet flavors, like chocolate and strawberry, and many frozen yogurt shops include fresh fruit among the available mix-ins. With significantly fewer calories than ice cream, this is a healthy dessert which enhances your weight loss plan while easing that sweet tooth.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has come a long way too. Different varieties of Greek yogurt are available for healthy diets. With flavors like caramel, honey and chocolate, Greek yogurt can satisfy any sugar craving while providing the same benefits as frozen yogurt.

No matter your preference, sugar doesn’t have to be completely omitted from a healthy diet. Honey and blue agave are also great natural substitutes for refined sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t worry – you can have your sweets and lose weight too. With a proper diet and exercise regiment, you can reach your weight loss goals; however, a good natural weight loss supplement can assist a solid diet and exercise program, especially a natural appetite suppressant that can help curb those sugary cravings.

Frosting Choices For Sweet Treats

Most cakes, unless prepared by an expert, have to rely on frosting to give them a bit of punch. That sweet, smooth and creamy layer on top is what adults and children tend to look for when shopping for and sampling cakes. It may surprise amateurs to know that there are different types of frosting and each offers a unique flavor.

To make frosting, powdered sugar or sugar substitute is always used. Cream, egg white, artificial coloring and essences are added to transform an ordinary round cake into one that features patterns, vibrant colors and a combination of flavors.

Glaze

Cakes and other baked goods with a glistening surface have glaze applied to them. This is nothing but a simple preparation of sugar and liquid that can be brushed or poured. When it sets, it hardens into a shiny layer. If ordinary glaze is not used, melted chocolate can be applied to achieve a richer flavor.

Buttercream

Buttercream is a soft, sweet and buttery frosting that’s extremely popular. It can be spread like butter and is favored by both children and adults as an indulgent treat. It doesn’t set into a hard candy-like finish.

Comprising powdered sugar, liquid and artificial flavoring and color, buttercream achieves its creamy state because of prolonged beating or whisking to make it fluffy, smooth and easily spreadable.

Royal icing

More popular back when buttercream wasn’t, royal icing is still favored by many for decorating elaborate cakes as it sets and holds its shape. Like the rest, it contains powdered sugar, liquid and artificial color and flavor. Meringue powder is sometimes used.

Where buttercream is creamy, royal icing feels and tastes like candy. Use it when you intend to decorate cakes more elaborately.

Whipped cream

Easy to make and an all-time favorite, whipped cream frosting can be used to top cakes, cupcakes, cookies and pies. It isn’t as heavy as buttercream or royal icing and not as sweet. This makes it especially suitable for summertime desserts. You can also use it along with other types of frosting. Its composition is the same as the rest but with the addition of whipped cream.

Cream cheese

For a rich taste that will linger long after sweet treats are eaten, choose cream cheese. It’s smooth, thick and very filling. Cupcakes, muffins and carrot cakes go especially well with cream cheese frosting. Try to avoid dyes which create too bright a color and enjoy the original ivory texture.

Fudge icing

Wintertime treats can be topped with rich fudge icing for an energy boost. It’s rarely dyed as the dark brown color is what transforms cakes, brownies and cookies into mouth-watering goodies. To make fudge icing, use powdered sugar, butter, milk, cocoa powder and vanilla essence. Refrigerate to preserve it for up to a week.

Ganache

A simple mix of cocoa powder and heavy cream, ganache can be fluffy or stiff. It boasts a rich chocolate flavor and a delicious deep brown. The mix is beaten until fluffy or stiff to use as cake decorations, make truffles or coat a cake with a creamy layer of sweetness.

Rolled fondant

Where overly sweet frosting is not desired, rolled fondant delivers a blander taste. It’s pliable with a satin smoothness that makes it suitable for complex cake decorations. Consisting of powdered sugar, glycerin, gelatin and glucose syrup, it’s the only frosting that can be stored up to 2 months when refrigerated.

Santa’s Favorite Sweet Treats

Santa loves his cookies. After all, it’s one of the most special traditions of Christmas Eve night–to leave Santa his share of cookies on a plate, alongside a tall glass of cold milk. But where did this special tradition get its roots? And why does everyone, even Santa, eat cookies and so many other sweets around Christmas time?

Hundreds of years ago when celebrating Christmas first became an international pastime, sugar was a very expensive commodity. It wasn’t something to be enjoyed every day, unless you were fabulously wealthy. The only times ordinary folks ate sugary treats was on special occasions, like high holy days, birthdays, and weddings. And of course, the only people who could get their hands on treats were close family members, friends, and very important people, such as Santa Claus.

So when people had the chance to have sweet treats, they went all out. Cookies became all the rage in Europe, even as far back as the Middle Ages. Each country in Europe came up with their own special favorite type of cookie. Germans loved to make ginger bread cookies and butter cookies called Spritz. Swedish families baked ginger and pepper cookies, prized as much for their spiciness as their sweetness. And believe it or not, British folks took a liking to fruit cake.

In the United States, where immigrants from all over Europe came in the 1800s and 1900s, all of these cookie traditions came too. So instead of favoring one type of Christmas cookie, Americans have the good fortune of having a lot of different cookies to choose from. Americans also added their own touch to the Christmas cookie tradition. Beginning in the early 1900s, Americans started making metal cookie cutters, with funny shapes like Christmas trees, angels, and reindeer, and they used these cutters to make cookies of every shape and color.

Of course, some folks have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads come Christmas. We may not leave a plate of sugar plums out for Santa on Christmas Eve, but these candied treats are still an important part of the holiday tradition. Technically, sugar plums are seeds coated with confectionary sugar, and they date back almost as far as Christmas cookies. According to the accounts of the day, people enjoyed sugar plums during the holidays as far back as the middle of the 1600s.

Of course, possibly the most famous sweet holiday treat, or should we say infamous, is the fruit cake. As we mentioned earlier, we can blame the British for this. It was in the Middle Ages that this treat started, but back then, it probably was more edible than it is today. The fruit cake of yesteryear was more a bread, with some dried fruit mixed in, more like today’s raisin bread.

Nowadays, fruit cake is a glazed over, fruity feast. Back in the day, these types of cakes were considered only worthy of the very rich. Today, fruit cake has become a traditional holiday joke. And no, don’t leave a slice for Santa.

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