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Enjoy That Dessert: Why It's OK To Indulge In The Occasional Treat

No judgment here!
That croissant looks delicious, girl!
Martin Steinthaler via Getty Images
That croissant looks delicious, girl!

Welcome to HuffPost Canada’s (almost) daily guide to helping you pick up an easy, everyday ritual that can make your life a bit better, in a small but significant way.

Canadians are stressed out, anxious, and are feeling disconnected from each other. Every Monday through Friday, we’ll share a tiny tip to help you feel good. We’ve got your back.

Today’s habit: Go ahead, eat that croissant!

For whenever you’re feeling: Like you’re just done with your day; like you need an afternoon pick-me-up.

What it is: What we’re suggesting goes against everything your doctor and the internet has been telling you, but readers, we don’t give a f*ck. Sometimes we just want to eat a delicious pastry. Chocolate croissants, cinnamon buns, red velvet cake, and pies. So. Many. Pies. ALL THE PIES.

What we’re saying is: If you want to eat a dessert, do it. Don’t have one for lunch every day, but it’s totally fine to eat that vanilla bean cupcake now and then. No guilt over here!

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How it can help: Are we going to tell you it’s healthy to eat treats all the time? Hell no. Look, we know many desserts contain lots of butter and sugar, which, if you eat in excess, is not good for you. And, unfortunately for us, dessert doesn’t have its own category in Canada’s updated food guide.

But it’s perfectly fine to indulge in these treats every now and then. Even science says so!

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, found that when people picked a dessert before they ate their meal, they consistently chose healthier meals and consumed fewer calories.

“If we choose something healthy first, then this gives us a license to choose something bigger later,” Martin Reimann, an assistant professor of marketing and cognitive science at the University of Arizona and co-author of the study, said via Time.com. “If you turn it around and choose something heavier early on, then this license is already expired.”

WATCH: How to make homemade croissants. Story continues below.

Other research has also suggested that timing is everything when it comes to eating desserts.

Eating a healthy meal before indulging in candy, for example, helps slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which can help protect your blood sugar levels from spiking, and you crashing, explained Christy Brissette, a Toronto-based registered dietitian, to Time.com.

And a 2012 paper published in Steroids found that people who were obese and ate desserts such as cookies, doughnuts, or chocolate with their breakfast had fewer cravings for dessert later in the day compared to people who ate a low-calorie breakfast.

It’s also pretty much common knowledge that depriving yourself of certain foods does you no good in the long run.

Brigitte Zeitlin, a registered dietitian, wrote in Self.com that she eats a dessert every day. “I think it is crucial to a healthy lifestyle to have a little treat each day,” she wrote.

“By working in a little bit of what I love (chocolate) into my daily routine I never feel like I am depriving myself or restricting myself. There is nothing about deprivation or restriction that leads to long-term sustainable healthy eating or living. Depriving yourself of the foods you love almost always guarantees you will binge on them sooner or later.”

Eating dessert can also lead to better emotional health, too.

Researchers from Loma Linda University in California found that students who ate dark chocolate over a period of time reported feeling less stressed and happier overall.

Baking has also been shown to be good for your mental health, as it gives people focus, self-expression, and an outlet for communication.

“Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression,” associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, Donna Pincus, previously told HuffPost. “There’s a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall well-being. Whether it’s painting or it’s making music [or baking], there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.”

Where you can do it: Anywhere you damn want.

How it makes us feel: One of our favourite desserts is the classic croissant, so whenever we eat one we feel like we’re eating the best food in the world. Seriously, no Michelin-starred restaurant dessert can come close to a really good buttery croissant. Simply put: they make our day so much better.

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And that’s your tip of the day.

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