Dear Judith… Dessert Doctor

“My husband has a sweet tooth, but I want him to eat healthy food. Do you know any desserts that are healthy and will also satisfy his sweet tooth?” – Active Mama’s member

I can sympathize with your husband: sweets are my weakness, too. I can pass on the chips, cheese and pizza, but once I get to dessert table all bets are off. My own husband likes to eat fruit in the evening, but fruit, even if eaten after dinner, is definitely not dessert.

Moderation is one way to enjoy desserts without busting your belt. Another way is to choose desserts made with healthy ingredients and cut down on the sugar. For me, dessert is an experience, part of a ritual of winding down my day and it’s the ritual that counts as much as the food itself.

That said, here are some ideas for healthier desserts:


Pumpkin pie: Canned pumpkin is loaded with fiber and vitamins, and with pumpkin as the main ingredient pumpkin pie is surprisingly healthy. The trick is to cut down on the sugar in the traditional recipe. You can do that by using a recipe that calls for evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk and add only 1/2-2/3 the sugar in the recipe. Some canned pumpkin has this recipe on the back of the can. You may have to play around with it to find just the right balance. Alternatively, you can use a no-calorie sweetener like sucralose (Splenda) to make up the difference if you want the full sweetness.


Berry pie: Since we’re talking about pie, one of my favorite summer treats is strawberry pie. Take 4 cups of fresh strawberries (or blueberries, or both), remove their stems and cut in half. Set aside. Take another 2 cups of berries, either fresh or thawed from frozen, and purée. Add these to a saucepan with 2 Tbs. lemon or lime juice, 1/3-1/2 cup sugar, 1Tbs. butter, and 1/3 cup cornstarch. Cook on medium heat until it thickens. Using a pre-cooked pie shell, add about 1/2 of the fresh berries, then cover in sauce. Add the rest of the berries, then pour the rest of the sauce over it. Let the pie chill for several hours to set, and serve with whipped cream or sweetened Greek yogurt (see below).


Chocolate-dipped fruit: Speaking of berries, what’s more romantic than strawberries dipped in chocolate? Make them with heart-healthy dark chocolate and you get a double-whammy. You can also dip frozen bananas in dark chocolate, or buy them pre-made at Trader Joe’s.


Greek yogurt: Ok, this one comes awfully close to my rule about dessert. However, when we visited Greece on our honeymoon we were served yummy Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts for dessert. What a revelation! Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier than what we call yogurt, and paired with honey provides a wonderfully sweet and tangy experience. These days you can buy Greek yogurt in most markets, or if you like you can simply strain some plain yogurt through a cheesecloth for several hours, scraping the cloth occasionally. Even better, you can add some sugar or other sweetener to Greek yogurt to make it taste like creme freche, but with healthy probiotics and little or no fat.


Judith is our Active Mama’s Munchie Maven and Yoga Maven. That means she teaches Active Mama’s Cooking Basics Chef classes, and is also our instructor for Active Mama’s Mommy Yoga with Judith.

Judith is refreshingly laid back, exceptional at what she does, and is the able mother of 3 beautiful children.

Judith comes well-accredited. She earned her Masters of Public Health and her passion is helping people find ways to make their lives healthier.

If you have questions for Judith she can be messaged through

Judith is teaching another much-requested Health Cooking Session Sunday, March 17th, and this time, she’s added bread!!!


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