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Spring break is just around the corner, and though you might not want to admit it, it’s time to rein in your winter comfort foods and treats. With the major holidays behind us, now is a good time to set some ground rules for desserts – especially if you’re hoping to get in a bathing suit in the next couple months!

When faced with the prospect of weight loss, weight maintenance, or simply getting healthy, we must ask ourselves: Is there room for our favorite sweet treats in our new diet and lifestyle? Must we eliminate sugar completely?

This is a divisive topic. For some people, a small bite of a sweet treat will do the trick. These types of people tend to have pretty good self-control around their favorite desserts and would prefer not to completely deprive themselves. If anything, complete deprivation might lead to binges later on, so small indulgences are OK.

Other people live by the ‘slippery slope’ mindset. They know they lose control around their favorite sweets, and prefer to abstain completely. If you’re a slippery slope type of person, abstinence from desserts, or from your ‘trigger foods’ may be best. If you LOVE Reese’s but only LIKE dark chocolate, dark chocolate is a better dessert food for you, because you’ll have an easier time stopping after just a few bites.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 even allows (or maybe just assumes), that we’ll all eat around 150 “discretionary calories” a day. Discretionary calories are excess calories to enjoy once your required nutrient needs are met. (Yes!) Enter.. dessert.

 

If dessert is a must-have, try and stick to these ground rules:

  • Have it once or twice week, 150 calories or less each time.
  • Fruit is always best.
  • Pre-portioned/single serving desserts are second best.
  • Plan for it. Don’t let desserts ‘happen’ to you. Build them into your diet and enjoy them!

Here are some of my top picks:

Try and nix dessert if…

  • Your 150 discretionary calories have already been used up that day (on beer, wine, chips, Cheetos, etc.)
  • You know it’s a slippery slope
  • You’re having trouble reaching your goal weight

Now all we need is some nice spring weather –  or perhaps it’s time to book that spring vacation!

 

 

 

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