The latest update for this article is written by Lindsay Podolak.
Eating healthy can be challenging, especially if you have a sweet tooth. But there are plenty of ways to satisfy your sugar craving while sticking to a healthy diet. Rather than eating cookies and ice cream, which are full of refined sugar and saturated fat, you can make a dessert using whole fruits, vegetables or nuts.
Before you say, “There’s no way that will taste good,” try one of the following recipes. You’ll probably be surprised when you take a bite.
Chocolate sweet potato pudding
This dessert is ridiculously simple. You only need two ingredients: a sweet potato and cocoa powder.
Sweet potatoes have actually been ranked as the most nutritious vegetable. They’re high in vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. And because sweet potatoes are high in fiber, your body digests the sugar in a sweet potato slowly, preventing a blood sugar spike.
1 sweet potato
2 tsp. cocoa powder
Method: First, bake your sweet potato in the oven at 450 degrees. Depending on the size of the potato, this will take about 1 hour. Make sure the sweet potato is very soft all the way through. Next, mash the sweet potato with a fork. You can remove the skin if you like, or leave it if you want more fiber. Add two teaspoons of cocoa powder and mix well. Add more if you want the pudding more chocolatey.
Raw “caramel” apples
That’s right—you can have caramel apples for breakfast without feeling guilty about it. Unlike regular caramel, this fruit- and nut-based caramel contains essential nutrients like protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and healthy fats, and it’s just as sweet and creamy!
1 cup pitted dates
3 tbsp. almond butter (or another nut butter)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 whole apples
Method: Begin by soaking the dates in hot water for about 15 minutes to soften them. Add dates, almond butter and cinnamon to a blender, along with ¼ cup of the soaking water, and blend until smooth. If you are having trouble blending the mixture, add a little more water. Skewer the apples and cover them with the caramel. If you like, you can also roll them in a healthy topping, like crushed almonds or dried coconut.
Fresh fruit tart
You don’t need me to tell you that fresh fruit is healthy. When you satisfy your sweet tooth by eating fruit, you’re doing your body good. This fruit tart contains no sweeteners—because it doesn’t need them! It also replaces a conventional tart crust, which is usually made with refined flour and butter, with a healthy crust made from dried fruit and nuts.
1 cup almonds (soaked overnight)
1 cup walnuts
½ cup dates
Kiwis and strawberries (or any fruit of your choice)
Coconut cream (optional)
Method: To make the crust, put almonds, walnuts and dates into a food processor and process until they form a crumbly mixture that sticks together. Press the crust into a tart pan. Thinly slice your fruit and layer it on top of the crust. Strawberries and kiwis work well, but you can use any fruit that you like. If you want the tart to be more creamy, you can spread a layer of coconut cream in between the fruit layers. Put the can of coconut cream in the refrigerator for at least two hours before you open it, so the cream separates from the liquid.
You can’t get simpler than a two-ingredient recipe that yields chewy, moist cookies that are actually good for you. This recipe is easy and it’s customizable. Like chocolate chips? Add a handful! Other ideas – nuts, cranberries or shaved coconut. Really, though, it’s delicious even without the extras!
1 cup quick oats
Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas in a bowl, then combine with oats until the mixture resembles a cookie dough consistency. Add in any extras you desire. Place on cookie sheet by the spoonful and flatten the tops. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Blueberry Pie Smoothie
What elevates this recipe beyond that of your typical breakfast smoothie is the addition of graham crackers. It really does the trick of making you feel like you’re enjoying an actual pie with a graham cracker crust! Plus, you’re getting loads of antioxidants from the blueberries, as well as calcium and probiotics from the Greek yogurt. Cheers!
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ tsp. vanilla extract
4 graham cracker squares
Method: Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Top with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.
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