Desserts & Healthy Living

When in Rome, do as the Romans, right?  So when in Aruba, a Dutch island, eat Dutch desserts, right?

The pastries here have a European influence.  Meaning they’re phenomenal, plentiful, and inexpensive!

I usually have no idea what I’m buying because I can’t read Dutch.

I know these are: flakey cookies, that leave crumbs everywhere, with some sort of coconut-marshmallowey filling in the middle, all dipped in chocolate.

Pretty good, I’d say but honestly, I didn’t try them.

You can only read the expression on your child’s face as she’s about to dig in.

I think she liked it know she loved them.

Scott said they’re “amazing”.  But that’s “his” kind of food.  More crunchy, flaky, and dry-ish.

For me, I am still hooked on Raisin Bread Pudding.  I’m on my third slab of the trip.

It’s “my” kind of food: dense, moist, lead weight in my belly.  Not dry, light, or “airy”.

And I keep it chilled in the freezer. 

It never actually freezes solid.  I think that’s because of all the butter in it which just makes it so satisfying! We need fat in our diets. Eat it, in moderation, is my motto.

Yes, I still eat my veggies, of course.

This post reminds me of a post earlier on in my trip, Eating When Traveling, which seemed quite popular with everyone.

Your comments, thoughts, and opinions about how adventurous you are when you travel, how much you stick to the dietary path you have at home versus how much local fare you sample made were great.

I’m so glad you enjoyed the beach day in Aruba pictures from my last post.

Yes, it was a great day!


1. Are you a dessert person?  When you travel, do you make a point of trying the desserts?

I love desserts, sweets, and basically that’s my “thing”.

Some people like savory/salty/fatty/fried foods and that’s their “thing”.

When I travel, I love to sample the local desserts.   Fun at it’s finest.

2. What’s the best dessert you’ve ever had?  Or at least one that ranks right up there?

Leave a link if you happen to have one.

This is so hard for me to even begin to choose.

Two recent recipes that rank right up there because they are rich, dense, thick, chocolaty, full of flavor, and just decadent:

Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

and No Bake Nutter Butter Special K Bars with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting

3. Do you think there is a place for desserts in a “healthy” diet and “healthy” lifestyle? I use quotes because everyone’s definition of those is different.

My answer, in general, is yes there is a place for them and it’s called moderation.

In a nutshell, allow yourself to live a little!  Enjoy life, enjoy food, and if it’s desserts that you enjoy, then have some.

Don’t eat an entire pan of brownies at once, but a brownie or two isn’t a biggie.

Just want a bite of something just for the taste?  Have it.

I often find after a few bites, or one serving of a high quality dessert, I’m done anyway.  I’d rather eat one really amazing thing than eat many servings of a “fat free” or “light” option.

You don’t have to finish the whole piece of pie if you want a bite or two.  And if you do want to finish it, great.  Enjoy it.

Enjoy it fully.  Don’t feel “guilty” about it.  Savor it, relish it, take pleasure in it.  You wanted it, you’re having it, don’t apologize for it.

And then, when it’s done, move on.

Tomorrow the sun will still rise, you’re still likely going to work out, you’re still likely going to eat your veggies so I don’t take issue in having some desserts or sweets (or whatever your go to food or your “thing” is).

And I always remember, there will still be more food to try.  Tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that.

You don’t have to eat everything in front of you, today.  There will always be more food so taking a moderate attitude with it is what I do.

That’s my strategy.

What’s yours? Some people swear off: sugar, carbs, desserts, etc. because they feel they can’t control themselves around them or are not able to be moderate or feel that desserts are “bad”.

And if your “go to” or “comfort food” is salty carbs or fried food or whatever it is instead of desserts/sugar, do you allow yourself those foods? Would love to hear your thoughts!

If you’re just catching up on posts from the weekend, here are mine since Friday:



  1. I do like desserts, but I rarely eat them. I do think that you can have treats in a healthy diet. Either moderation or recreate in a healthier version.

  2. looks like you are having such a great time averie- with amazing weather this time around! i definitely think desserts are part of a healthy lifestyle.. and i agree with everything you said. enjoy and savor it and don’t go overboard! and if you do don’t beat yourself up about it either :) now bring some of that sunshine over here, it wont stop raining!

  3. Too true, everything in moderation! And I suppose it depends on my mood whether I’d want something more dense or more airy. Both of those treats look divine, though! I believe indulgence is all part of the balance!

  4. i love how you have your bread pudding and scott and skylar can enjoy the bokkenpootjes!
    aruba DOES have wonderful desserts with that euro touch.
    THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts on treats, at the end of this post (question #3). to be honest, for years i NEVER let myself have cake, donuts, cookies, chocolate. i thought i was being *healthy* by only eating *healthy* foods. in the last couple years, i have relaxed and now believe that it’s healthier to enjoy treats when you want them, to celebrate with family by enjoying dessert together, that moderation is better than complete abstinence or bingeing because you think you can’t have chocolate for another year, or whatever.
    anyway, thanks again for talking about desserts and treats, averie…since it’s the Victoria Day holiday here today, i think that means a treat is in order, at some point!
    enjoy the beach today!!

  5. Desserts better be part of a healthy lifestyle because they’re definitely part of mine! :)
    My all time favorite dessert is by far Candle 79’s cannoli, SO good!

  6. I’m with you on the dense desserts! I just can’t imagine why anyone would want something that is light and airy!! haha :)

    Best dessert, when I went out for my stagette, one of the girls called ahead and asked them to make a dairy free dessert and what came out of that was a dense, chocolate mousse with a super chocolate peanut butter ganache on top. It was SO amazing, if it had some crunch to it, it would have been the best dessert I had ever ever had!! :)

  7. Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I thought it was time to finally comment and say hello, from one yoga lover to another. I DEFINITELY think that desserts belong in a healthy diet/lifestyle. It’s all about balance! I have a major sweet tooth and would not be able to survive without my desserts.

    Those arubian (is that a word?!) desserts look delicious! I am thinking about visiting there later this year :)

  8. I love so many types of foods — desserts are amazing but I also love a good greasy basket of fries!

    I have to make room for all sorts of foods in my life — I’ve tried cutting things out and that is not good for me. Like you wrote, 1 brownie or two is no big deal. And if I go overboard then I try to balance it out with eating “healthy” the next day (aka no or very limited sweets) — this isn’t to lose weight or anything, but when I have too many sweets I feel terrible: tired from the sugar crash!

  9. That flaky cookie looks pretty darn good! I love MAKING sweets…but I’m definitely more of a savory girl. Chips and salsa or guacamole is my absolute favorite! But I do love frozen yogurt, crisps and crumbles. Hope your day is gorgeous

  10. i love the way you keep the bread pudding cubed–i do the same thing for pound cake, brownies, and banana bread! it’s especially perfect for the things that the boyfriend doesn’t want to share, since otherwise they’d go bad before i could finish them! plus, a little cube is usually all i need/want for my craving–just a taste, but not so much that i feel sick of weighed down!

  11. I think you have the exact healthy view on desserts I wish more people shared. I am totally a sweets person and I have to have dessert every single night. After dinner I get a little hankering for something sweet. And when you make things that are decadent and full of that yummy fat and sugar, you don’t need much!

  12. oh those look good, but I am with you on the dessert. I love my bread pudding. Its my favorite!

  13. Desserts are part of my lifestyle, healthy or not. I eat them daily and I don’t apologize.

  14. Honestly, I’m more of a “nibbler dessert person.” I finish dinner satisfied, and oftentimes having dessert would put me over the edge. I prefer nighttime snacks :D

  15. Oh, you know I believe in dessert. Wholeheartedly. I eat healthy most of the time, but honestly I’d rather live off of chocolate and frosting than gourmet vegetables. I love my health food, but sweets are where it’s at!! And my all-time favorite is definitely the raw chocolate sundae from Pure Food and Wine!

  16. I absolutely love how you answered your own question about how desserts fit into a healthy lifestyle! Even though I certainly understand that, for some people, the complete elimination of sweets and treats is what works for them, it does not work for me. This is partly because baking/cooking desserts is such a fun, rewarding activity for me; and I definitely enjoy tasting the fruits of others’ labor, too. So for me, I try to approach dessert with a mindset of, “all good things in moderation.” Sometimes, I’m not as successful at moderating myself as I could be…but oh my goodness, some desserts are just too delicious to pass up.

    Also, dessert is part of my social experience. My friends and I see dessert as part of the fun of eating out – so I wouldn’t choose to eliminate desserts from my way of eating. But again (as you’re so fond of saying) – this is what works for me. But lucky me, it’s a tasty way to live. =)

  17. Desserts are a must. I’m afraid that it is very true. So I just try to make them healthier, if I can. ;)

  18. great post! I tend to stick with very dark chocolate after lunch and dinner. I have really found a liking for unsweetened chocolate also. I’ve lost my “sweet tooth”, so bitter chocolate is the way to go for me. But oh boy do I love my salty/ fatty/ crunchy snacks! I’d take some bacon over a brownie any day haha! to each their own!

  19. wow, i’m EXACTLY like you when it comes to preferences about desserts: i like dense and heavy, whereas most people like light and airy! ive been trying to find a really dense chocolate poundcake recipe – that’s the kind of thing i like to eat, not angel food cake!!!

    i love your outlook towards dessert – i think moderation is key and is what will produce optimal physical AND mental health. i need to have something sweet after EVERY meal, it just leaves me satisfied =) i know there are lots of health bloggers who are anti processed sugar, etc. but that’s too extreme/rigid for me and honestly i think our bodies are capable of processing a lot of different kinds of foods as long as we are nourishing them right!

  20. I’m a dessert person for sure. I honestly can’t say what the best dessert I’ve ever had is, I’m had so many, haha. Although, I do occasionally have to cut them out completely I do think they are a part of a healthy diet. I can’t get anywhere depriving myself. Sometimes though I get totally out of balance, veggies take the bake burner and I snack on goodies all day and then I am awful at moderation so occasionally when I feel that coming on and I crave sugar every day all day, I cut everything out to reset myself. Then for some reason I can practice moderation(and a lot of the time I’d rather have fruit for dessert anyways and save the real treats for a special occasion and not every day), and like you said, one brownie isn’t going to make you gain weight or make you unhealthy, it’s sitting at the trough, so to speak. And I would really rather have something good quality. Low fat treats just don’t cut it. Some healthy treats can be good, but I’d rather have one real cookie made with butter than 5 made with all applesauce. Ew, haha!

    • it’s sitting at the trough, so to speak. = love that

      “And I would really rather have something good quality. Low fat treats just don’t cut it. Some healthy treats can be good, but I’d rather have one real cookie made with butter than 5 made with all applesauce.”– or beans. I havent jumped on board that craze yet and not sure I really can or want to :)

    • Yeah I tried black bean brownies once.. And… Ew. Maybe my recipe was just weird but I’m not going to try it again. At least the toddler ate them, I hate wasting and he didn’t know what was in them, haha.

  21. New reader/commenter here! Anyways, I’m loving looking back at your clever and delectable looking recipes, and the adorable pictures of your daughter, what a cutie! Anyways, I mostly wanted to comment to wholeheartedly applaud and agree with your thoughts on desserts and moderation. I am completely on board with your philosophy, moderation is definitely the key. Why do so many fad diets fail? Because they’re way too unrealistic and extreme. As long as we eat healthy whole foods for most of the time, why not enjoy the decadence of a real good dessert? You definitely seem to have the right philosophy! :)

  22. oh, wow – I’m not generally a raisin person, but that bread pudding looks awesome! especially cubed and stored in the freezer??!!? genius, Averie. I may have to make my own and do this… :D

  23. I’m honestly not a “dessert person,” but I do need a couple small pieces of chocolate at night–chocolate closure. I would rather eat something more savory than sweet if given the option, but when I do have sweets, it’s the real thing.

    Coming from a background with disordered eating, I know that depriving myself of what I really want in favor of what I think I should have only results in an unsatisfying funk that results in unnecessary stress and frustration. If I want something, I know that I can moderately have it. If I deprive myself, it ends up being placed on a pedestal and assigned some sort of exotic importance that it doesn’t deserve.

    In the end, food is food, exercise is exercise. Both should be enjoyed and our options should be celebrated–not stressed over. ;)

    • “I know that depriving myself of what I really want in favor of what I think I should have only results in an unsatisfying funk that results in unnecessary stress and frustration.”–

      and you dont even have to have a disordered background to feel that way…If I think, oh I dont need the sugar/fat/etc in such and such and try to get away w/ a piece of fruit when what i REALLY want is a brownie, i am a cranky mess. And end up ultimately eating the fruit, crackers, some coffee, etc and finally then having the brownie, too.

  24. hmm I am somewhat of a dessertaholic… I actually try to stay away from desserts while traveling (usually due to expenses..) We went to a restaurant in Hawaii in January and paid 21.00 for a banana cream pie! Plus after eating out, those extra calories aren’t needed :) if only I was watching my dessert intake like this all of the time.

  25. One of the most attractive things to me about rawfoodism is the desserts! I love dessert, it’s ‘my thing’ too, not salty/snacky like some people’s. But I _really_ can’t do gluten or dairy, and it’s hard to find desserts without those things.

    Totally agree with you on the moderation place. I also think that making the dessert decadent should make it satisfying after a small serving–a dessert that’s full of air and ersatz is never satisfying in the same way…

  26. Love your tips for a healthy, yet happy, way of eating! Ive said it before, but I just love how you keep this relaxed attitude to foods! We have so much to learn from you!
    I have always loved dark chocolate! Its the only food I never ever get tired off. And funny enough, I have never had issues eating it even tho I have major problems with other foods. Im so happy about that :)
    The best dessert Ive had in a while is these beatiful chocolate tarts I made a few days ago. i found the recipe on the Diva Dish blog, and knew this recipe was for me! Totally amazing!

  27. That raisin bread pudding looks like just my cup of tea. I love sweets – generally only with chocolate in them :-) Aruba picture look great!

  28. Hey, girl, I had to drop in and say “Hi!” now that I’m back from San Diego. I made a couple of trips to Trader Joe’s to make sure they stay in business while you’re gone.

    By the way, I’m finally going to order some of that NuNaturals liquid stevia you rave about, and I want to make sure I get the right stuff. Do you get the alcohol free kind, or the one with Singing Dog extract? They’re both vanilla flavored.

    I ate way too many desserts last week. It’s impossible to say no when my sister makes them from scratch, right? She made vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, oatmeal-raisin-coconut-pecan cookies, and pineapple upside-down cake. They were all great.

  29. I’m a big time dessert person but it’s easy for me to say no to a cupcake or cake. Now my bf, not so strong ;) Just don’t give me any oreos or else!

  30. Desserts are also my thing! I do agree that you can (and should) fit them into a healthy diet. I sometimes have trouble balancing my diet with just a little dessert, but overall I do pretty well:-)

  31. I am definitely a dessert person! I love fruits and veggies, and healthier foods in general too, but life is not complete without sweets! Sweets in moderation is what balances our our diets. Btw, that raisin bread pudding looks fantastic!

  32. My food philosophy is pretty much the same as yours. Deprivation leads to obsession, and possible binges. I’d rather spend my energy wisely, and obsessing about food isn’t a wise use of my time and energy, IMHO.

    Sweets are more “my thing,” but I definitely love some savory goodies well. Such as onion rings.

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  34. I’ve been struggling a bit lately with food, body image, etc which isn’t out of the ordinary in teenagers; I don’t restrict my foods and cut them out of my diet, because it’s too difficult and unnecessary. I try to eat in moderation but at the end of the day, all of those bites here and there add up. I love basically anything unhealthy but I’ve learned a whole lot of tips and realizations through the many blogs I read; so I’m definitely working on eating less processed foods (I never really ate much to begin with) and making sure I don’t overeat on unhealthy stuff.

  35. I love dessert! I have a pretty major sweet tooth, but I also love saltier things (read: nut butters). In the past I’ve had problems with restricting and binging, but I do plan myself a dessert each day. Today was your banana oat cake smothered with peanut butter!

  36. The cookies look pretty good and the bread looks wonderful.

    1. Sure, but in moderation which is usually just on the weekends for me. Sure on traveling, especially for creative vegan options.
    2. Probably the raw chocolate cake from Jennifer Cornbleet’s book, it’s very rich and chocolaty and I love that it’s simple to make and impress with.
    3. Sure, but I do think raw vegan dessert are considerably better health-wise with more whole, non-processed ingredients.

  37. looks so good thanks can you do a chocolate cake!! Yummy..

  38. I am not a big dessert person … I make them, but usually only try one bite, and then give away the rest. I prefer something salty/savoury to sweet any day.

  39. When I’m in Barbados, I always make a point of having their Rum & Raisin ice cream. Delicious!

    Moderation is the key. I’m not missing out on dessert just because I’m living a healthy lifestyle. Especially any Averie designed desserts. Yum!

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  41. Haha, it’s weird to see something in Dutch on your blog! (I’m Belgian, but we speak Dutch here too, well half of us, the other half speaks French and a tiny bit speaks German).

    Bokkenpootjes actually means bucks legs (buck as in a male goat). Kinda weird name but I love those cookies!

    Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

    PS : Please help me choose from the cooking books listed on The Veggie Eco-Life

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