My favourite "healthy" dessert

My favourite "healthy" dessert

I used to have an epic "sweet tooth" (and I suppose I still do in some ways) that would wreak havoc on any attempt I made to burn fat or have more energy. Not an uncommon problem, obviously, as so many of us can struggle at times to control or manage our intake of sugar.

Now that I have such high activity levels, work as a personal trainer and being at my optimal weight, I'm able to indulge quite a bit more than I could when I was still trying to lose weight and get in shape. But along that journey, I discovered a few meals, snacks and desserts that although not being completely "healthy" from a strictly scientific standpoint, allowed me to cut a lot of calories from what I had been eating, while still feeling like I was eating things I enjoyed and could look forward to. Think harm reduction as opposed to complete abstinence.

Like I used to be, some people are consuming such outrageous amounts of sugar and junk food that during the first phases of a new push towards health, it usually doesn't make sense to go cold turkey. Even those who are super motivated to eat nothing but chicken breasts and spinach will almost certainly fail in the long run.

Why this diet "hack" works

I have a few of these little "harm reduction" recipes that I enjoy myself and share with clients looking for alternatives to things like store bought cookies, donuts, candy bars, etc. This is a very basic fruit crisp that is a fantastic alternative for junk food junkies for several reasons-

  • Very inexpensive, good for any budget
  • Can be easily portioned into different sizes based on caloric needs or weight loss goals
  • Easy to find ingredients available all year that take months to expire
  • Very easy and quick to prepare
  • Despite being a little high in terms of fat/sugar, we're getting lots of real nutrition as opposed to empty calories from straight junk food. 
  • It tastes incredible and like most things you make yourself, it's going to better than the garbage we buy from the store anyways!

This isn't a magic bullet; you're still going to have some self control in terms of not just eating the whole thing in a couple days, but with some planning and a little discipline this can serve as a great after dinner alternative to a bag of fake donuts or cookies. 

Harm reduction fruit crumble

1. Make sure butter is room temp

2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl 

3. Combine butter with dry ingredients by hand until crumbly 

4. Take slightly less than half of mixture and make a base layer in a 9 x 13 nonstick baking dish.

5. Pour fruit in

6. Cover with remaining mixture

7. Place saran wrap on top and press firmly by hand or using a large flat object to form a level surface with no air pockets

8. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes in a pre heated oven.

9. Using aluminum foil or a non stick object, gently flatten out again to level again.

10. Cool for 30 minutes at room temp, cover with aluminum foil and place in fridge to cool for minimum 8 hours (overnight is better)

Throw out the stale donuts and cookies

You can of course eat this right out of the oven after it cools a bit, but it is SO much better after it cools and is intended to be done that way. I also find we tend to eat more quickly when certain things like this are hot as opposed to cold, so I really suggest delaying gratification on this one.

All the ingredients are common and can be kept on hand for months. We're getting some really valuable nutrition here- oats might be one of the healthiest foods around and help with feeling full, we're getting lots of great stuff from the berries and cinnamon never hurt anyone.

Cut this up however you please, but somewhere in the 6-12 range is where most people should come out based on activity levels, goals and lifestyle. As a more time consuming alternative, this recipe is even better with fresh apples instead of the berries. Strawberries and rhubarb (if it's in season) is another great alternative.

Get in touch if you have any questions or you're looking for some other junk food alternatives. Enjoy!!!

Feel great again with Cooper Health Coaching!

Cooper Health Coaching is a personal training and health coaching service located in Vancouver, B.C. providing in-person and online coaching for clients locally and across North America. Founder Geoff Cooper is certified as both a Health Coach and Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). To get in touch, click here.



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