Substitute When Possible
You might have your hands on a fabulous recipe but
if you see the calorie and fat per serving, it might
throw off your entire daily nutritional balance. In
such instances, home baker, Sheeba Khurram of Mrs.
Glendale Heights, Illinois, substitutes ingredients
with healthier alternatives. For instance, she uses
unsweetened apple sauce and mashed bananas in her
desserts in place of sugar to cater to a more health
conscious clientele. She even finds apricot and pear
sauces at stores like Whole Foods to add a differ-
ent flavor to her desserts. Similarly, she makes an
unsweetened base in fruit tarts and uses brown sugar
instead of white sugar where possible.
“Honey is also a possible substitute, and a
Khurram says. “Similarly, whole grain flour has more
fiber and is healthier for you. You just need to develop
the taste — like brown rice, it grows on you.”
Arm Yourself with Why
Dalia Hassabala, a certified holistic health coach
) gives workshops
across Chicagoland about how to beat the sugar
blues and nutritious eating.
“When the body craves something and needs energy, we
should give it what it wants, but try for the most natu-
ral solution,” Hassaballa said. “We need to get our body
used to natural sugar such as fruits, carrots and plant
Personally, she rarely eats desserts and when she
does, she chooses fruits because she asks herself why
do I want to have this sugar-loaded concoction and
what will it do to my body?
She is a firm advocate of learning more about
healthy eating as knowledge provides power to
make good choices. Coupled with will power, eating
right becomes natural and something to be proud of
instead of feeling sorry for yourself.
She buys almonds in bulk and grinds them into flour
for pancakes and other recipes. When she needs to
add some sweetness, she prefers naturally occurring
sugars like organic maple syrup or dates.
“Do not deprive kids of desserts as we are not with
them all the time,” Hassaballa said. “Instead make
healthy foods with them. When they are involved in
the preparation, they are more likely to be pleased
with the outcome.”
If we empower ourselves with the knowledge instead
of just saying no it will be easier to accept no when
we hear it. If you realize how the spike in blood sugar
will eventually lead you to crash, you will be encour-
aged to make wiser choices like a sliver of cake on a
Experts agree that desserts need not be taboo. We
just need to learn how to make wiser choices as a
service to our body and to set a good example for our
Kiran Ansari is a writer and entrepreneur who lives with her
family in the suburbs of Chicago.