This simple and elegant tart is made from a whole grain graham cracker and crystallized ginger crust and filled with honeyed Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries.
Early in my dietetics career, I realized a barrier to change for many people was the prospect of giving up their favorite foods. When counseling someone branded as “noncompliant", I would ask what has been keeping them from making changes to their diet. Sometimes they said lack of time or finances. Others, like a guy I saw this week, would respond, “Well, I’m just content sitting at home watching tv.” Hey, his health is his prerogative! But for most, it was as simple as them not wanting to give up certain foods. I would then ask if they were willing to make changes if I incorporated these special foods. Most of the time, they would emphatically reply “Yes!” And guess what? Often these “noncompliant” patients would actually make pretty significant diet changes.
After recognizing this, I started to utilize the concept of worth it splurges. You know, those foods that you know are absolutely horrid for you, but, you couldn’t live without them. I realized that if I included these foods, with limits, clients were much more likely to make sustainable changes.
A few days ago, I read a fantastic article on Summer Tomato, one of my favorite food blogs, about joyless splurges. It told the story of a woman who had spent her life jumping from one fad diet to the next. With each new diet, she found a new “healthy” food she would overindulge on – bacon in the Atkins years, fat-free cookies when low fat was all the rage – you get the point. In the end, she was never satisfied, because these foods never really gave her any joy. Because she was never satisfied, she kept eating.
The article got me thinking about dietary splurges and I realized, they fall in to three categories.
Joyless splurge: These foods taste only okay, but you eat them because a.) you think they are healthier than the real thing (i.e. sugar free ice cream), b.) they are there (i.e. a candy jar at work) c.) it’s convenient (i.e. fast food while on a road trip) or d.) peer pressure (i.e. your roommate wants to order pizza for dinner).
Worth it splurges – These are the foods you couldn’t live without. Maybe it’s an emotional connection, like your grandma’s cheesecake or fresh pasta just like you had in Italy. Or possibly it’s a special occasion, like biscuits at Sunday family brunch or stuffing on Thanksgiving. Or maybe you just really really love Snickers. Hey, no judgment here.
Healthy splurges – These are foods that you absolutely love, and they just happen to be good for you too! Everyone has at least few of these, even the aforementioned couch potato, who said one of his favorite meals was homemade cornbread, sliced tomatoes and greens.
Think about the foods you eat. Where would you categorize the foods you tend to overeat? What are the foods that fill your heart with joy? What special occasions do you like to celebrate with food? There's no right or wrong answer, it's different for everyone. The article summed it up with the perfect quote:
“Only you can decide when special trumps health or convenience. And only when your decisions are based on values instead of restriction will you get control of your habits”
Fill your day with healthy splurges. Savor worth it splurges without guilt, but set limits. Actively work towards removing joyless splurges from your diet, even if you never fully eliminate them. I think that sums up healthy eating quite nicely, don't you?
This tart is a perfect example of a healthy splurge. It tastes rich and decadent, but it is lightly sweetened, contains no refined flour and is made with small amounts of healthy fat. I used 100% whole grain graham crackers from Mi-del, which are also lightly sweetened with molasses. Creamy honey sweetened Greek yogurt is the perfect filling. Don’t skip out on the crystallized ginger, which adds a hint of spice that goes especially well with blueberries.
Honeyed Yogurt and Blueberry Tart with Ginger Crust
Serves:6 to 8
Adapted from Food & Wine
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, from 100% whole grain graham crackers
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large egg white
2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 pint blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread a little coconut oil on a pie pan.
In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers with the crystallized ginger and salt to combine. Add the coconut oil and egg white and pulse until the crumbs are evenly coated.
Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pie pan until even. Bake about 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt and honey. Spread over the crust and arrange the blueberries over the top.