MADISON (WKOW) -- Diana Henry is just one of many who "love muffins and I love baking cookies." Jamie Hersh is "a sucker for salty foods," and Elishah Oesch "will eat anything that has chocolate on it because I love it with my whole heart."
Those sentiments probably ring true for you too. Whether you prefer sweet or salty, we all crave them: desserts and snacks! Even experts like Registered Dietitian Gail Underbakke admit "I'll have a piece of pie now and then." Good to hear right? Believe it or not, desserts and snacks do have a place in a heart healthy lifestyle.
Gail says, "Oh definitely, yes, there's room for all these types of food in a healthy diet." That's worth repeating. She said--YES!-- you can have desserts and snacks. The big issue is how much and how often we eat them. But, even Team WKOW knew that.
Diana says, " I think I know it's a matter of making those choices. "We all need help making those choices, so we decided to help each other and all of you viewers, by showing you some examples of the more healthy choices. We each took a favorite, and went shopping. Diana chose cheese, Jamie chose snack bars, and Elishah went for the ice cream. It wasn't always easy to find the best options, and sometimes the WKOW girls went for the stuff that might not be the best choice, just to be fair and honest.
Elishah couldn't help herself and went for the chocolate goodness. She said, "I know its got to be on the list of the worst things you can eat, the Phish Food!" Jamie got a little stumped on one of her snack bar choices saying, "I think I've heard that these are sugary, high sugar content."
That's when the team realized that just thinking might be the problem. We all need to know what makes a snack or a dessert more healthy. Enter Gail, with some great tips. Gail says, you need to look for things that have "more fiber, less sodium, moderate amounts of sugar." She also suggests finding things that are low saturated fat and if you can add in a fruit especially cherries, they're great for blood pressure, so also great for your heart.
After a bit more shopping, the WKOW girls, gathered their items and let Gail give the final word. When it comes to Wisconsin's favorite--cheese--Gail suggests going for the string cheese or low fat mozzarella, because "it's lower in sodium." When it comes to snack bars, you should pick ones with high protein content, and as for the infamous ice cream, you should look at the caloric measurements on the back and go for the lowest amount if you can.
Gail says, "I would say the Weight Watcher bars are good in terms of a snack because of the preportioned nature of the bar." But, you need to hear this too. Gail also says, you can have desserts like Phish Food, as long as it's in small amounts and, as with all things, is in moderation. No matter what you choose though, remember it should taste good and you should enjoy it, you just need to watch how much of it you enjoy.