Birthdays can create tricky situations for dieters. Sure, a little cake in moderation never hurt anyone, but if you or your officemates are making a concerted effort to eat healthier, lose weight and nix refined sugars and additives, that piece of cake presents quite the conundrum. Instead, why not commit to nutritious but delicious birthday treats year-round and let everyone in on the “skinny” of healthy eating. Here are some great ideas to get you inspired.
This dessert couldn’t be easier, nor prettier! Simply slice a ripe watermelon into the shape of a cake (think tall and round). Use a thick yogurt or whipped coconut milk as frosting, and go wild with bright, edible decorations such as raspberries, blueberries, almonds, kiwis and even a few chocolate chips. This colorful, sweet confection cuts and slices like a “real” cake, but cancels out calories and can be entirely vegan.
If anyone in your office volunteers to bake, suggest this creative alternative dessert: It looks and tastes like a decadent chocolate cake, but delivers a dose of vegetables. Made with no flour and sweetened with honey, it gets its moist texture from organic peanut butter, making it appropriate only for offices with no nut allergies.
How can you please chocolate-lovers and still invite your lactose intolerant co-worker to participate? With this fantastic, easy-to-make mousse that gets its delicious taste from the healthy fats derived from avocados instead of heavy creams. Though it can be served immediately, it benefits from a few hours chilling in the fridge, so make it in the a.m. and serve it in the p.m.
While this dessert may not be easy to make at the office, it can be the perfect substitute for ice cream and other high-fat summer treats at your company picnic or barbeque. Requiring just eight minutes on the grill, this easy, all-natural dessert can be served with citrus sorbet if you want to be really decadent.
When you can only go with store-bought options, think light and airy versus thick and creamy. For example, a piece of angel food cake has almost 100 calories fewer than a piece of pound cake. Likewise, put down the tub of full-fat ice cream and opt instead for no-fat sorbets or yogurts. And steer clear of crusts: Pies and tarts deceive diners with their fruit filling, but pastries contain lard, butter, flour and eggs – adding to your calorie count.
Always Be Prepared
Our best advice for getting through the office birthday treats without derailing your healthy eating routines? Prepare in advance. Healthy eating does not have to take hours in the kitchen, but a little preparedness can save you calories in the long run.
If it’s too much to ask one person in your office to always bring dessert, why not ask the previous birthday celebrant to bake for the next? In this way, everyone pitches in and pays it forward. However you choose to celebrate, keep it fun. Healthy food can be beautiful, colorful, festive and delicious; it just takes a little creativity.