My name is Katie and I love dessert.
There, I can admit it. There is not a brownie I don’t love nor a chocolate chip cookie I won’t sample. Do I want a donut? You better believe it. But there a comes a time in life when desserts don’t exactly love you back (hello aging).
Recently, I’ve come to realize while there is nothing wrong with a cupcake here and there, I should probably balance it out with healthier choices. After several attempts at kicking my night time snacking habit, I’ve just accepted that I’m one of those “need-something-sweet-after-dinner” people.
So, I’m always on the hunt for healthier treats that I can feel good about so my Netflix snacks don’t cause problems for me later. Here are some of my tried and true healthier treats that your whole family will love!
Disclaimer: I realize that there are many definitions of ‘healthy’ these days. Low carb, low fat, gluten free, low calorie, etc. For the sake of this post, I’ve described these desserts as ‘healthy’ because they have little to no refined sugar and are sweetened with natural sweeteners.
Oh ice cream. How I love thee. What’s better than curling up on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream and watching your favorite show? I don’t know about you, but I can overdo it on ice cream very easily, and now that I’ve been noticing more of my dairy sensitivity, ice cream is definitely not as comforting as it used to be.
Meet banana ice cream: Super easy and satisfying. First you’ll need some frozen bananas, best if over ripe and easier if sliced. (I definitely keep a bag of frozen bananas in my freezer at all times for this purpose. For one serving, I use about 1.5 bananas). Toss desired amount into a food processor or high speed blender and process until smooth. I usually add a splash of almond milk to help things along. You can then eat it right away as soft serve or freeze until a little more solid.
I love playing around with flavors. My personal favorite is adding 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and a big glob of peanut butter, but there are so many other flavor possibilities!
Spoiler alert: this is my favorite recipe on this list. Don’t let the chickpeas freak you out, I promise these are dang good.
I’ve made these several times and everyone seems to love them. What’s even better about a healthy dessert that actually tastes good is one that is also easy to make. This recipe involves a blender and your baking pan of choice and takes maybe 25 minutes from start to finish. If you’re feeling impatient, you can even eat the batter out of blender since there no eggs. High in protein and fiber, they even make a great breakfast or post workout snack.
This is called a ‘dip’ but since we’re being honest with each other, I have to tell you it’s good enough to eat with a spoon. All you need is three ingredients you might have in your home already: peanut butter, yogurt and honey.
This is a great way to entice your kiddos to eat some fruit, but it’s secretly healthy (cue maniacal mom laugh). You can check out the recipe here as a guide and then play with the ratios a bit. I like a richer dip, so I tend to use a little more nut butter and a little less yogurt, but you’re the boss. It’s also great with mix-ins like cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips if you’re feeling dangerous. This dip is a great after school or after dinner snack and could even be a great addition to breakfast.
Here’s another way to sneak some health food into your child’s diet. Chia seeds are rich in fiber and antioxidants and give a healthy dose of good fats. A serving of chia seeds can also add a couple more grams of protein to smoothies, oatmeal and other foods. They are extremely versatile and by making chia seed pudding, they can pass of as a dessert. (Bonus: Because of their fat and fiber content they are helpful for kiddos who need help going number 2).
The only downside to chia seed pudding is that you do have to make it ahead of time. The chia seeds need a couple of hours to soak up the liquid to create the pudding consistency. But this is another recipe that only needs a handful of ingredients and can be easily customizable. Make some at night for a quick breakfast the next morning or make a couple for grab and go snacks for the week. I also love this recipe with several different flavor options.
I’ve come to the conclusion that bananas are pretty magical. They can not only turn into ice cream, but they can become many kinds of baked goods too! Banana bread is probably one of my favorite foods and I especially love this banana bread because it doesn’t have any extra sugar (not including the chocolate chips) and the coconut flour gives some extra fiber and a delightful flavor.
You can also turn it into muffins for a portable breakfast and a sensible treat portion. If you add chocolate chips, there’s obviously some added sugar in there, but I think this would be just as delicious with some chopped nuts, dried cranberries or fresh berries instead.
If you’re not strictly gluten free or don’t care for coconut flour, here’s another no added sugar banana bread that’s also delicious.