I created this dessert after going blueberry picking. I had lots of blueberries at home and wanted to make a mouthwatering dessert that my husband and I would enjoy.

As a dietitian, when I make desserts often times my friends will ask me, “Is it healthy?” This is where I love to talk about the importance of what is called “play foods.”

Yes, this dessert does have blueberries and oats, which do have healthy fiber and important nutrients, but the dessert also has a lot of sugar. It’s obviously not going to be as nutritious as eating oatmeal with blueberries without the added sugar, but it does serve a purpose.

Play foods are foods that we eat because they taste delicious, but don’t necessarily have many nutritional benefits. Sometimes people thing that we should be staying away from play foods entirely because they don’t provide us with great nutrition, but I disagree.

Imagine a life where you worked all the time and never got to take a vacation, go on adventures, or simply relax. That would be a pretty hard life.

The same goes for play foods. Play foods exist purely for our enjoyment and to improve our quality of life.

A lot of us eat play foods, but don’t truly get enjoyment from them because we feel guilty for eating them. Feeling guilty after eating foods is linked to less enjoyment with eating and actually can result in eating larger amounts of play foods down the road.

So, I encourage you to try some play food without the guilt. If guilt starts to sink in when you eat, remind yourself that you don’t have to feel guilty for eating play food and that your play food is serving a purpose by giving you an enjoyable and delicious experience.

One of my personal values about play food is that I only eat play food that I really enjoy. If it doesn’t taste good, then I’m not going to get maximal enjoyment out of my play food and that’s not the point of play food. Imagine taking vacation days at work only to do something you don’t like. That might feel like a waste of a vacation.

So if you like blueberries, consider trying this as your next play food.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1/3 cup butter

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom

Directions:

TO MAKE FILLING

  1. Place blueberries, white sugar, and water in saucepan.

  2. Heat over medium high heat, stirring frequently.

  3. Continue heating and stirring frequently until mixture is brought to a boil.

  4. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and blueberries are softened.

  5. Your mixture will look like the picture below.

  6. Set aside to cool.

TO MAKE OATMEAL MIXTURE

  1. Melt butter.

  2. Mix together melted butter and oats.

  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.

LAYERING AND BAKING THE CRUMBLE

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.

  2. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

  3. Layer half of the oat mixture at the bottom of the pan.

  4. Spread blueberry mixture over the layer of oats.

  5. Top with the remaining oats.

  6. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. Oats should be slightly browned and blueberry mixture boiling.

  7. Remove from oven. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.