Healthy Slimmed-Down Sweets

By Tanya Steel,

Yesterday the International Diabetes Federation reported that the number of people worldwide with the disease is 366 million, up from 285 million in 2009; it is forecasted that 500 million will have the disease in the coming years. With someone dying from diabetes every seven seconds, it is now truly a global epidemic, one that is directly attributable to obesity rates and inactivity: Type 1 diabetes is growing at a much slower rate than Type 2.

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A special United Nations General Assembly will be held next week to address the topic and develop a formal plan of action that will include education, funding for medication, and potentially new regulations for food manufacturers. This is especially important for the poorest countries, where healthy food sells for a high premium.

What can you do to prevent diabetes? Maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle, and limit foods high in sugar and fats. For dessert lovers like me, that is very difficult but I do often indulge in some of these healthier slimmed-down sweets, as pictured above.

Sweet Cherry Cobbler

Although fresh dark sweet cherries are available in June, we believe they're best eaten out of hand. This cobbler makes great use of frozen cherries. Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 1 1/4 hr

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For filling
• 3 cups frozen dark sweet cherries (14 oz; not thawed)
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• Scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For topping
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
• 1/3 cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Make filling:
Cook all filling ingredients with a pinch of salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar begins to dissolve, about 3 minutes. Spoon filling into a 9-inch ceramic or glass pie plate (1 inch deep).

Make topping and bake cobbler:
Whisk together flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in buttermilk with a fork until just combined (do not overmix). Drop dough in 4 mounds over filling, leaving space between mounds. Sprinkle topping with remaining teaspoon sugar.

Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm.

For more healthy dessert recipes, click here.

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