Why Nutrition-Boosting Desserts Could Be The Next Big Thing

The ball has dropped, we've clinked champagne glasses, and put 2021 to bed. Now that 2022 is up and running, many of us are penning our annual lists of hopes and goals that we vow to actually stick to this year. As is usually the case, focusing on health tops the 2022 list of New Year's resolutions, according to The Times News, with 50% of people vowing to exercise more, and 48% looking to lose weight. As well, 39% of people surveyed said they were looking to improve their diet this year.

While improving diets may mean different things to different people, the food and beverage industry has learned a few things during the worldwide pandemic, and one it has apparently responded to is the trend toward smarter eating, which translates into incorporating healthier ingredients into offerings. It seems the industry has largely also accepted the fact that Americans love dessert, and eliminating this much-loved last course isn't doing anyone any good. According to Restaurant Business, restaurants are now trending toward making desserts with "health-enhancing" ingredients, which have been in greater demand as the pandemic has rolled on, and many are upping their game with more guilt-free, functional dessert options

Desserts are still sweet, just smarter

Dessert, as its own meal course, really became a thing in the 1700s, according to Saveur. The word itself derives from the French term meaning "to clear the table." Prior to being served as the finale, however, sweet dishes were interspersed throughout the meal. The late-renaissance trend of serving dishes one-at-a-time led to eating sweets to close out the dining experience. According to Business Insider, this is because the super sweet decadence is actually easier to digest.

Americans sure do love their sweets, and the favorite desserts in the U.S. include fudge, German chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and ice cream, according to How Stuff Works. Apple pie, carrot cake, and cheesecake with berries also make the list of Americans' favorite desserts, so incorporating fruit isn't something that we're necessarily opposed to, and it looks like centering more desserts around foods that actually offer health benefits, is where we are headed in the dining scene. 

In the near future, we might see skincare-enhanced ice cream, mood-modifying cookies, and immunity-boosting pies decorating the dessert menus at eateries, per Restaurant Business. Think items made with dark chocolate, confections featuring antioxidant fruits, more nuts, and, yes, CBD-infused treats. This trend bodes well for our resolution lists, too — we don't have to eliminate desserts (heaven forbid), but just modify them a little. Throw some dark chocolate and nuts into that Oreo shake, and you're good to go.