dessert

I love old things. Our house is filled with pieces from my grandparents’ house and items my dad has found at flea markets. Our china cupboard houses my grandmother’s collection of Depression glass, which I treasure. One day recently, the dessert dishes caught my eye, and I was struck by how incredibly tiny they were. I was curious: How did these 1930-era dishes stack up against the ones my family uses for dessert 80 years later?

So I lined them up:

DessertDishRevised

 Then I measured how much each dish held:

DessertDish2

Thinking about these dishes in terms of ice cream is where it really gets shocking. Because if we were all eating regular, full-fat ice cream (the kind my grandma would’ve eaten) from our respective dishes, here’s what each of us would get:

  • My grandma: 266 calories
  • Me: 693 calories 
  • My husband: 1064 calories

Did I mention my grandma lived to be 99 years old?

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The Trap of Clean-Eating Treats

by Sally on March 27, 2014

The Trap of "Clean-Eating" Treats by Real Mom Nutrition

I’m a little bit worried about the words “healthy” and “clean”. Because I’m seeing them everywhere on social media in relation to dessert: There are recipes for Healthy Peppermint Patties. Clean Cookie Dough Blizzards. Healthy Clean-Eating Double-Chocolate Brownies with Marshmallow and Bacon Hot Fudge Sauce. Okay, I made up that last one. You get the idea.

Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing so many recipes with non- or minimally-processed ingredients. I use things like whole wheat flour and flaxseed in my own recipes too. And I enjoy experimenting with recipes that use, say, dates instead of sugar like the cookies above (read: “Simple No Bake Cookie Balls“).

But I worry because recipes using so-called “clean” ingredients seem to be getting a free pass lately as healthy and nourishing no matter what they actually are. A peanut butter cup made with coconut oil is still a peanut butter cup. When you’re eating raw vegan cookie dough bites, you’re still eating, well, balls of cookie dough.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with dessert in my book–even every day. I love dessert. But goodies like these can easily become a problem if we’re eating or serving them more frequently (or in larger portions) because we perceive them as particularly wholesome. I’ll admit I’m guilty of doing that (read: “Too Much of a Good Thing: Why Calories Still Count.”).

Bottom line: We can serve our family “clean” snickerdoodle cream pie, but even if it’s made with agave and raw cashews, kids still need to understand that pie is a sweet treat. And so do we.

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{Recipe} Dark Chocolate Mixed Nut Butter

February 20, 2014

I’m a sucker for chocolate nut butters and can’t be trusted in the house alone with the store-bought kinds, which tend to be very sweet. So I make my own in smaller, less expensive batches that are still chocolately but not as sugary. All you need for this recipe is 2 cups of mixed nuts and […]

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Feeding My Kids: What I’ll Be Doing Differently in 2014

December 31, 2013

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions (beyond a flimsy promise to “drink more water” which always fizzles out by January 3rd). But recently, I read about a concept of assigning “themes” to the year instead, and that seems much more doable. Besides, thinking in broader concepts instead of narrow action items is a nice change of pace for […]

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Let Them Eat Cupcakes

July 1, 2013

I was at a party recently with other families. It was a potluck, and the food was on a buffet. Someone had brought mini cupcakes and put them on the table along with the rest of the food. So when the kids went down the line with their paper plates, guess what they wanted? Mini […]

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Lessons Learned From The No Added Sugar Challenge (And Why It Didn’t End With Cupcakes)

March 2, 2012

When I embarked on the Two Week No (Added) Sugar Challenge, I thought it would be one of the hardest changes I’ve made. Instead, it was one of the easiest. Easier than exercising every day. Easier than not eating at my computer. So easy that when I hit the two week mark on Wednesday, I […]

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Project 40: My Two Week No-Sugar Challenge

February 7, 2012

I have a deep and abiding love for sugar. As a child, I passed up all manner of candy bars in favor of sticky-sweet Pixy Stix, SweeTarts, and Lik-M-Aid. I sneaked spoonfuls of powdered sugar when my mom was baking and sucked on Sour Patch Kids until my tongue felt numb. But lately, sugar has […]

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{Recipe} Homemade Marshmallows & Hot Cocoa

December 28, 2011

Looking for something to do with your little people while they’re home from school this week? Making homemade marshmallows is easier than it sounds–and your kids will be amazed by how a few simple ingredients whip up into white, gooey, sticky deliciousness. (And it goes without saying, but from-scratch cocoa trumps Swiss Miss any day […]

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Confessions of a Sweet-Toothed Dietitian

August 23, 2011

I grew up having dessert every night after dinner, and my sweet tooth is frequently on overdrive. So this final guest post in the Dessert Dilemma series, written by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, hits home with me: Everyone has his or her […]

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The Secret to Teaching Kids Moderation? Stop Making a Big Deal About Sweets.

August 8, 2011

In part 3 of the Dessert Dilemma series, I’m pleased to have this guest post from mom-of-two Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD, who writes the great blog Raise Healthy Eaters. She explains how creating some structure–and keeping her cool–help her kids manage sweets: Most parents want to teach their kids how to eat sweets moderately. The […]

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