Four Healthy Treats for Independence Day

By: Caitlin Slater Email
By: Caitlin Slater Email

The Fourth of July is not only a time to celebrate America’s Independence, but also a time to be with family and friends and have fun! Celebrations always include that one big thing we all love, dessert. However, we do not always like the side effects that can come from eating those delicious sweets. Here you will find four desserts that are healthier options, but still have a great taste that will make you forget about all that sugar and icing!

Fresh Berries with Maple Cream

Let’s be honest, a lot of us don’t want to spend a long time trying to prepare dessert. We rather be socializing and looking at the fireworks than being stuck in the kitchen. So this first recipe is great because it is fast, easy and delicious.

All you need is 4 ingredients: (1 serving = 140 calories)
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Directions:
1.) Take your sour cream and maple syrup and mix in a small bowl with a whisk.
2.) Then in a dessert dish, combine your blueberries and raspberries.
3.) Finally pour your maple cream over the berries and enjoy!

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

This dessert takes a total time of 3 hours & 40 minutes to be made. Don’t let that scare you though because it only has 40 minutes of prep time and your refrigerator will do the rest! This can be done the day before, or early in the morning before party time. Sometimes people get scared when they see the word cheesecake because it is known for being unhealthy. However, with just a few simple substitutions you can enjoy a fabulous dessert without regretting it later. The trick to this dessert is that it features omega-3-rich walnuts in the graham cracker crust and uses nonfat Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cream cheese in the filling to keep saturated fat in check. Make sure to use sour cherries; sweet cherries will turn a more purple color instead of the bright red.

Ingredients: (Serves 12; 1serving=348 calories)
4 cup(s) halved, pitted sour or sweet cherries, fresh or frozen (thawed, drained)
3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar, divided
1/4 water, divided
2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
1/2 box(es) (14-ounce) graham crackers, preferably whole-wheat
1/2 cup(s) chopped walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup(s) canola oil
2 package(s) (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
2 cup(s) nonfat plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
6 tablespoon(s) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

Directions:
1.) Combine cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with 4 teaspoons water, then stir into the cherry mixture; return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid thickens and looks syrupy, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
2.) Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Drizzle with oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
3.) Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Spread over the crust. Spoon the cherry mixture over the top. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

Patriotic Jell-O Cookies

No dessert table is complete without cookies! Because it is July 4th the cookies should be patriotic, but decorating cookies can sometimes be a pain. This recipe is creative in using strawberry and berry Jell-O to dye the cookies red and blue. This not only adds a little bit of color, but also a fun flavor twist on normal sugar cookies. Kids will eat these up quickly!

Ingredients: (1 Cookie=1 serving; 1 Serving= 66 calories)

3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 cups unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 (3 oz) boxes Jell-O strawberry (or other red jello) and berry (blue) jello

Directions:
1.) Beat butter in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture.
2.) Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of red jello into one portion, 2 tablespoons of blue into another portion, and leave the third portion plain. Knead the red and blue jello into the dough. You may want to add a few drops of food coloring to make the dough more vibrant.
3.) Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the red and blue dough balls in the extra jello from the packets. Place them 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten each the with bottom of a bowl.
4.) Bake 8-10 min. at 350 degrees on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 2 min. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Low-Fat Flag Cake

Flag Cakes are not only fun to eat but also fun to look at. This particular recipe says to use pound cake, but angel food cakes works great as well. Even though this is the low-fat version, it is very hard to tell a difference in taste. Plus it only takes 15 minutes to prepare!

Ingredients: (Serves 12; 1 Serving= 170 calories)
2pt. strawberries
1pkg. (13.6 oz.) prepared fat-free pound cake, cut into 12 slices
1-1/3cups blueberries, divided
1 tub (12 oz.) COOL WHIP FREE Whipped Topping, thawed

Directions:
1.) Slice 1 cup of the strawberries; set aside. Halve remaining strawberries; set aside.
2.) Line bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish with cake slices. Top with sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries. Spread whipped topping evenly over berries.
3.) Place strawberry halves and remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on whipped topping to create a flag design. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



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