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Dessert for Dinner

By Marni Sumbal

If you are concerned about a healthy diet, weight loss/maintenance and athletic performance, you are likely concerned about calories. Calories in, calories out. If you want to lose weight, you need to exercise more and eat less. If you want to maintain weight, you have to balance caloric expenditure and consumption.

For me, it's not so much about the calories but rather how I feel when I eat sweets/treats/desserts. Sure, sweets sound scrumptious at the end of a 5 hour bike ride or in the middle of a 3 hour run and oh yes, do they ever taste good when I eat them. But it's the afterwards feeling that I don't really enjoy.

Over the past year, I've really embraced a healthy relationship with food. As far as "dessert for dinner," it wasn't really working for me. I'd eat ice cream (portioned controlled and with fruit) and still feel hungry afterwards. I'd eat a little more (justified by a previous long training session) until I felt satisfied and shortly after, I felt as if I wasted my calories.

When it comes to nutrition, here's my individual take (from an wellness & athletic standpoint) on food:

We have 3 things to consider when it comes to putting food in our body:

  1. Balanced diet - sticking to a range of calories for macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) in order to allow our body to perform and to stay healthy. Mostly, to help our body function properly for daily functions. 
  2. Meeting individual needs - if you have specific dietary needs you must focus on the nutrients (vitamins/minerals, protein, fat, etc.) that your body may be lacking or that your body requires. For myself, I am a vegetarian, endurance athlete. I have specific dietary needs to fuel my lifestyle. 
  3. Maintaining a healthy eating routine - how can I plan and prepare my meals so that I feel satisfied; so I can maintain weight (or lose weight in a healthy way, if necessary); so I can perform; so  I stay healthy and enjoy what I put in my body. 

Life is all about balance. If you want ice cream for can find a way to incorporate ice cream in your dinner.

Or you can try this recipe for Zucchini Strawberry Bread - it is a great way to enjoy your dessert with dinner!

Zucchini Strawberry Bread

Dry ingredients: zucchini strawberry bread

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp flax seed
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 Zucchinis (shredded) - 2 cups
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 5 dried prunes (chopped)
  • 2 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 6-8 strawberries (chopped) - 1/3 cup


  • 1 tbsp coconut
  • 2-3 tsp shaved dark chocolate
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat together eggs and cream of tartar for 3-4 minutes in larger bowl.
  3. Add other wet ingredients to eggs and mix well.
  4. Combine dry ingredients in bowl.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet by 1/4 cup. Mix well after each 1/4 cup.
  6. When all ingredients are combined, pour 3/4 mixture in a loaf-pan (sprayed with non-stick spray)
  7. Use the other 1/4 mixture for zucchini-strawberry cookies by placing 1/8 cup batter on a non-stick baking sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray).
  8. Cook cookies for 15-18 minutes and bread for 50-60 minutes.

Marni Sumbal holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and is certified in adult weight management by the American Dietetic Association. Marni is a Level I USAT coach and is currently pursuing a registered dietician degree. She is a Hammer sponsored athlete, 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship finisher and just finished her third IM, the Ford Ironman Louisville Triathlon on August 30, 2009, with PR of 10 hours and 54 minutes. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing. She has several published articles in Hammer Endurance News, Cosmo Girl and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes monthly to and You can check out her blog at