This is summer personified. And it’s perfect for those days when your house already feels like an oven.
Before my daughter lifts a fork in the direction of whatever healthy meal we’ve prepared for dinner, the question is leaving her lips: “How many bites to get dessert?” Some nights I brush it off and ask her to let me know when her four-year-old stomach tells her she’s had enough. But other nights it’s all I can do to not put my own grown up head on the table and have a little weep. Can we not give the black bean and spinach quesadilla its moment in the sun before rushing on to the sweets? Ah, no. We cannot. I love dessert, too, but given how often my kids request it I like to find healthy-ish options.
Summer and the fruit bounty it delivers make that about a million times easier. Berries, in particular, with little need for added sugar, high levels of vitamin C and kick-ass antioxidant qualities, are the perfect starting place for warm weather treats. In fact, a bowl of berries and nothing else is dessert. But a small bit of finesse from you and your young sous chefs—a tiny bit sugar, a little time in the oven, maybe—will result in one of summer’s purest pleasures. And you certainly don’t have to deliver a nutritional lecture over dessert. It’s nice to know you’re serving some health benefits along with that strawberry pie, but you can keep that to yourself.