Healthy Tips for a Cholesterol-Friendly Dessert

Dessert is an excellent way to end a delicious meal. If you are watching your cholesterol, adding dessert may seem a little forbidden at first. However, the good news is that you can have your cake and eat it, too—especially if you follow these best practices for selecting cholesterol-friendly desserts.

Strawberry ice cream balls with fresh berries and mint leaf served with strawberry syrup on moody rustic wooden table top.
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Make It Yourself

Not only does making your own desserts give your treat a personal touch, but you also know the exact ingredients you are putting into your sweet treat. You have many options in making a dessert that is delectable and heart-healthy. Whether it is replacing baking flour with wheat flour or switching out your high-fat oil with a healthier oil, trying some of these healthy tips will ensure a delicious dessert that is low in calories.

Watch Your Fat and Refined Sugar Content

Whether you make your own dessert or buy one from the store, you should always check the food labels. You should avoid ingredients or desserts that are high in saturated fat, refined sugar, salt, and/or trans fat since too much of these ingredients can adversely affect your heart health. Foods that often contain these ingredients include cakes, cookies, pie crusts, icing, and pastries. Some whipped creams and puddings may also have a high saturated fat content but, luckily, there are many low-fat varieties available for those of us following a healthy diet.

Try Yogurt

You would be surprised how a simple dessert can satisfy your sweet tooth without putting a huge boost in your lipid levels. One dessert that comes to mind is yogurt. This creamy dessert isn’t just used for a quick breakfast, it can be consumed by itself or applied as a topping to your favorite fruit or low-fat cake.

Are you craving ice cream but don’t want the added calories and fat? Try frozen yogurt, which tastes like ice cream but doesn’t contain as much fat. If you decide to use yogurt as a dessert, make sure to check the ingredients because some yogurts may be high in sugar.

Add Fruit

Fruit is an excellent way to add a little bit of sweetness to the end of your heart-healthy lunch or dinner. The great thing about fruit is that you can eat it alone, add it as a topping to your favorite yogurt or low-fat pudding, or incorporate it into a cake or pie.

Fresh fruits are generally healthy, so you can combine your favorite in-season fruits to create a delicious treat. If you decide to use fruit that’s canned or otherwise packaged, read the food labels before buying as these can add extra refined sugar to the dessert. Also, if you are putting your fruits in a pastry or pie, check the labels of your store-bought dough or crust, as some of these can be high in fat.

If you’re craving a frozen treat, you can use a blender to grind your favorite fruits, add a small amount of honey (if needed), and place it in the freezer to make a delicious sorbet.

Don’t Forget Your Toppings

Sometimes, toppings can make or break a dessert. Besides fruit and low-fat yogurt, other cholesterol-friendly toppings such as a handful of walnuts, a light drizzle of honey, or a few shavings of dark chocolate can also be a cholesterol-friendly way to add taste and texture to your dessert. If you wish to use whipped cream as a topping, be sure to select a low-fat variety of cream.

By Jennifer Moll, PharmD
Jennifer Moll, MS, PharmD, is a pharmacist actively involved in educating patients about the importance of heart disease prevention.