Let’s face it, we all love a little something sweet at the end of a meal, but when we’re talking about young athletes in training, things are different. I was recently asked if I could give ideas for “healthy desserts” for a football team. They’re starting their “pre-game” team meals, and while they have managed to make dinners a lot healthier (yay for them!), the boys have complained because they want their “sweet treat” at the end of the meals. They’re still asking for cookies, cakes, brownies and the like.
Here are several options that really should satisfy their sweet tooth, while keeping it reasonable for meals during training and competition season. Before I go on, I do want to point out some general rules regarding end of meal sweets:
- Portion control- this is KEY. While there’s nothing wrong with a cookie here or there, limit the number served! This goes for younger and older athletes. If you’re going to serve them dessert, make it a reasonable portion. One or maybe two small cookies is all they should need to satisfy that sweet craving.
- Homemade is best! When serving cookies, cakes or brownies, homemade is best! You can control and substitute ingredients, and more importantly, you eliminate all the artificial ingredients and preservatives often added to processed foods.
- If you decide as a team sweet treats are ok after team meals, be ready to cook and be creative!
1. chocolate/yogurt covered strawberries and fruit kabobs- I know, I know…most kids do not think of fruit when they think dessert. But when covered in chocolate or yogurt, it might just work!
2. add chocolate chips to muffins and cover with a little frosting- I have been making muffins for my athletes for a long time, and for special occasions, chocolate chips are added or maybe even a a dollop of whipped cream or frosting on top. Two mini muffins should be enough! Check out my sweet Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins.
3. cake pops- cake pops ensure portion control, 2 pops will limit the amount of sugar and fat while giving kids and teens their desired “treat.”
4. fruit popsicles- I make fruit smoothies into popsicles all the time, and they really serve as “portable ice cream.” Check out this recipe for fruit creamsicles, or you can even make milkshakes and freeze them into popsicles to ensure that portion control without deprivation!
5. pecan pie squares- pecan pie can be one of the unhealthiest (yet delicious!) desserts. So why not have small bites of an upgraded version?! Check out these delicious Babble’s Pecan Pie Squares
6. nutella and fruit- as my daughter says, “everything is better with nutella!” Try a fruit bar with hazelnut spread!
7. chocolate covered pretzels- for those seeking the sweet and salty! add a few sprinkles and it really feels like dessert!
8. frozen yogurt cupcakes- this recipe for Frozen Yogurt Cupcakes from Popsugar is delicious and perfect for a hot summer day!
9. homemade cookies- yes, cookies! wholesome, home made cookies in moderation are great way to end a healthy meal. Try the Chocolate-Cherry Cookies from MyRecipes, a winner!
10. fruit crisp- especially during the summer, when fruit is at its best, summer crisps are amazing! My kids love to make my Old Fashioned Any Fruit Crumble. Peach or berries are our house favorites.
11. home made brownies- who doesn’t love a good brownie? Check out this recipe for Gooey Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars or anything really from this great Blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog with many great recipes.
12. angel food cake, fruit and whipped cream- this one’s my son’s favorite! He loves the fluffy angel food cake and of course the whipped cream! Try making your own cake, here’s a good recipe for Angel Food Cake from Health.com
13. cookie balls- another kid favorite! I found a great article by FitFluential, and they showcase
30 Protein and Energy Ball Recipes, so pick your favorites! These are also great for post workout replenishment!
15. mini candy bars- when all else fails, it’s ok to have a couple of mini candy bars to satisfy that sweet tooth without sabotaging your efforts, just don’t do it every day!
Hope these help! Enjoy the sweet (and healthy!) things in life!