Happy December!  ‘Tis the season for fun and festivities, hosting and being hosted at gatherings with wonderful family and friends.  Enjoying meals together is a natural part of these events, and you may be wondering how you can choose a dessert you’ve been asked to bring to next weekend’s potluck without hampering you or your friends’ dedication to the permanent lifestyle changes that have been made over the last year.

I see two options here:

1) Practice portion control (ie make whatever you want, but portion it into small servings – this should be the back up plan any time you are served food that may not be the healthiest; or

2) Choose to make a healthier dessert.

I polled my facebook friends for a new dessert idea, and the prize goes to my friend Carol, for finding this recipe on About.com on their Low Fat Cooking page (there’s lots of great ideas here!).  I like that this recipe contains walnuts, which are rich in essential amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids (one of the healthier fats).  Cranberries have some putative health benefits including possible antioxidant capacity, and, well…. they just plain taste good!  Remember that walnuts and dried cranberries are both high in calories, so the key is moderation.


  • 3 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice OR cranberry juice OR apple cider
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.  Place quartered pears in a baking dish.  Drizzle juice or cider over the pears, and sprinkle the walnuts on top.
3.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until pears or tender.
4.  Serve in a smal bowl with the juices

Makes 4 servings.  PER SERVING:

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbs: 34g
  • Protein: 2g

To top this off, you could add 2 tbsp of Cool Whip lite to each serving, for an extra 20 calories (and 3g of carbs).

Here’s the really cool thing about this recipe – it can double as a salad!  Throw the pears on top of a bed of arugula, and voila!


Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2012 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen