Do you find yourself gravitating toward the fridge at night? Need a little something to appease your persistent sweet tooth? Want a sweet snack to combat the afternoon slump? When cravings strike, it’s easy to give in and forfeit the progress you’ve made toward your health goals. Happily, no matter your situation or craving, a healthier dessert alternative will likely meet your needs while satisfying your cravings.
These suggestions prove that healthy, delicious desserts don’t need to be reserved for cheat days!
Berries and Crème Fraiche
This classic combination strikes the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. Crème Fraiche can usually be found near the nice cheeses in your local grocery store. A small dollop of this smooth cream brings out the sweet flavors of your favorite berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries, making for a decadent, guilt-free dessert.
A relative of the banana, plantains make for a sweet, rich, healthy dessert. Toss some chopped, ripe plantains in a skillet with a drizzle of light cooking oil to create an exotic, caramelized treat. This recipe is versatile too: add stevia, brown sugar, coconut, cinnamon, or any other favorite flavors for a twist. It also goes very well with whipped cream or crème fraiche.
Apples & Cinnamon
Try this healthier alternative if it’s apple pie or apple crumble you’re after. Apples have so much natural sugar that they hardly need additional ingredients to make a delicious treat. Simply chop an apple, add some cinnamon, and sauté for a few minutes to achieve a simple dessert with all the soft, gooey sweetness you love about apple pie.
Do you have a favorite smoothie or green juice recipe? With some simple popsicle molds that can be purchased at most kitchen supply stores, you can transform your healthy breakfast into a summery dessert. Blend your favorite fresh fruits and veggies with fresh juice or coconut water, pour the liquid into popsicle molds, and freeze! These popsicles will keep in the freezer for a long time, allowing you to indulge whenever a craving strikes.
One of the easiest desserts for health-conscious diners is frozen mango. Widely available in the freezer aisle (but also very easy to make at home), frozen mango is simple, soft, and sweet. A few slices of frozen mango left to thaw for a few minutes can be eaten with a spoon, not unlike ice cream! Bonus: mango contains high levels of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, making it a healthy-diet superstar!
Peanut Butter & Oats, and Chocolate
If you prefer something rich and salty to a sweet, fruity option, peanut butter is your friend. Simply mix a scoop of peanut butter with a scoop of fiber-rich steel-cut oats. Roll small dollops of this blend, about a tablespoon each, into balls. Carefully melt some chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle the chocolate across these peanut butter balls. Allow them to chill in the fridge or freezer for about 20 minutes for a no-bake, sweet-and-salty treat.
Popcorn is a high-fiber whole grain with very low caloric density. According to the American Heart Association, “When it's air-popped and lightly seasoned, popcorn is an efficiently healthy snack.” Just watch out for the microwave and movie theater varieties which are loaded with chemicals and unhealthy seasonings. When you make it yourself, popcorn can be a great after-dinner treat, especially on movie night!
A simple classic, dark chocolate has countless health benefits that its sweeter siblings like milk chocolate lack. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, it contains essential nutrients like iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and immune-boosting antioxidants. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the greater the benefits you will reap. Aim for at least 70% cocoa for a sweet but wholly healthy treat.
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