How to enjoy sweet, but not sinful, treats

Whether you prefer a scoop of tart lemony yoghurt or a creamy chocolate ice-cream in a crunchy waffle cone, there are few things more appealing on a hot summer’s day than an ice-cold dessert.

The temptation can be brutal when trying to eat well, but luckily there are plenty of relatively light and nutritious options to help cool you off in the sun.

Accredited practising dietitian Sharon Allsopp, from Step Bite Step in Flinders, says one of the best things about summer is the abundance of fruits that can be turned into a delicious sweet treats.

The freezer is your best friend – anything from berries to bananas can be frozen to make fruit more exciting.

‘‘Fruit, whether fresh or in a mixture so you get different flavours and textures, is great. You can also do things like frozen melon balls or strawberries dipped in a little bit of dark chocolate,’’ Allsopp says. 

‘‘Frozen bananas are another good thing: dip them in a bit of chocolate and sprinkle some nuts on them.’’ 

If you fancy something creamier, yoghurt is a better choice than ice-cream because it is generally lower in fat and is full of active cultures. 

Bianca Merjan, manager at Yogalicious in Wollongong, believes the  store has been busy over summer because people want treats with  nutritional benefits.

‘‘It’s been popular, I think, because there’s nothing like it in Wollongong. It’s a healthier option than ice-cream. It’s 98per cent fat free and so rich in calcium.’’

While chocolate has been one of the most popular flavours at the recently opened store, Merjan says many customers go for the fruit-based flavours and are more likely to add berries rather than the  chocolate flakes or  syrups on offer.

‘‘Some people like to mix chocolate flakes with raspberries or strawberries, but we are really trying to focus on the healthier option,’’ she says. ‘‘A lot of people say they prefer something not as heavy as ice-cream.’’

If you’re retreating from the sun at home, a cold berry mousse with fresh strawberries and cream cheese, or fruit and yoghurt added to low-sugar jelly  are easy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming excess sugar. 

Gelato can be a good option when made traditionally, but Allsopp says to be wary of high-sugar flavours made with full-fat milk or cream.

If you do feel like an ice-cream cone dipped in chocolate, the key thing to remember  is portion size.

‘‘The thing is always the serving size. Often a bowl of ice-cream is not that good, but a small scoop, even if it is a rich, indulgent one, that’s fine,’’ Allsopp says.

‘‘There’s options, and if we’re mindful of what we’re doing and how much we’re doing, we can enjoy foods without over-indulging on the calorie front.’’

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