Guilt-free Desserts and Healthy Sweets

How does one go about satisfying a chocolate fix or a salted caramel craving when he or she is trying to maintain a healthy diet and possibly lose a few pounds? Trust me when I say that even though we’re primarily a bunch of granola-munching health nuts here at Exercises For Injuries, we sometimes find ourselves dreaming of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The trick to enjoying a dessert that you won’t regret later is all in the ingredients. First and foremost, don’t even think about grabbing one of those nougat bars that are topped with caramel and peanuts and enrobed in milk chocolate at the gas station checkout. That stuff is full of saturated fat, cheaply sourced ingredients and more refined sugar than is recommended for the entire day. It’ll make you feel miserable just 20  minutes after you eat it.

Rather than scrape the bottom of the nutritional barrel when you’re looking to indulge in sweets, consider taking a more healthful approach to satisfy your desire for dessert. We have compiled a list of some of our very favorite low-guilt, high-flavor decadent desserts.

If you’re dabbling in keto dieting, we’ve got a few that you’ll love. Counting nutritional points for your meal plan? We have just the thing. Do you need to lower your blood sugar levels but still want to eat chocolate on the regular? You’re covered. Do you *need* ice cream but want to limit your intake of saturated fat? Keep reading.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These crave-able peanut butter chocolate chip cookies will blow you away. Not only are they gluten-free, but these simple to make cookies contain no refined sugar, and they’re seriously delicious. You may have to try this recipe for yourself to believe it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup natural smooth peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup granulated monk fruit/erythritol blend
  • 1/4 cup sugarless dark chocolate chips (sweetened naturally with stevia or similar)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the natural peanut butter, egg, and granulated sweetener. Mix well. Then, add the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a baking stone or cookie sheet. Press each cookie flat with a fork, making a crisscross design on the tops.
  3. Bake for eight to 10 minutes. Do not overbake.

Options: Of course, you can leave out the chocolate chips in this recipe. You can also opt for crunchy peanut butter for a crunchier cookie.

Easy Fruit Sorbet

On many healthy diet plans, you’re still allowed to have fruit ― thank goodness. Buy up your store’s selection of organic frozen fruit to make delicious and easy sorbet at home. Also, buy extra bananas and get into the habit of peeling and freezing them when they reach full ripeness. They are excellent in all sorts of healthy frozen desserts.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of organic frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 frozen bananas (peeled)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all of these ingredients into a food processor or high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve it immediately for a soft-serve sorbet. Alternatively, freeze it for a couple of hours to have a more scoopable sorbet.

Options: This is an easy dessert to make with all sorts of fruit like blueberries, pineapple, raspberries, and so on. You don’t need the bananas if you aren’t a fan of the flavor it adds. You can add more berries. The bananas sweeten it up and add a smooth consistency. If you’re a coconut fan, sprinkle some unsweetened flaked coconut on top of your fruit sorbet.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

If you came just for this recipe, you won’t be disappointed. I’m a big fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream. But I don’t want to have the biggest thighs to prove it if you get my drift. For this reason, I have switched to a much healthier version of this delicious guilty pleasure. You’ll love that this recipe has no refined sugar and even a secret-added vegetable component. Please don’t tell my kids.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 frozen bananas (peeled)
  • 1 cup fresh organic spinach leaves
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/4 cup sugarless dark chocolate chips (sweetened naturally with stevia or similar)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In your food processor, blend the bananas, spinach, sea salt, and mint extract for about 30 seconds. Stop the processor, remove the lid and scrape down the sides of the pitcher. Do this repeatedly until the bananas and spinach are pureed and resemble ice cream. It may take three or four times but keep repeating the process.
  2. Once you have a lovely mint-green ice cream base, stop the processor, remove the lid and add in the sugarless dark chocolate Pulse your processor a few times to break them up to your desired size.
  3. Serve this ice cream immediately for a soft-serve treat. You can also freeze it for a couple of hours for a more scoopable dessert.

Options: Some friends have told me that they like to use fresh organic mint leaves in place of the spinach and mint extract. If you grow mint, you might want to give it a try. It will change the flavor, but you might enjoy the more earthy element of the mint leaves.

If you have trouble getting the bananas and spinach to blend into ice cream, you may add an unsweetened, plant-based milk a teaspoon at a time until it blends better.

Chocolate Avocado Torte

This dessert blew my mind. My dear friend made it for dessert at her house one evening that I was visiting. I had to have the recipe. I love this dessert. It is made with avocados, walnuts and natural sweeteners. By no means is this low in fat. However,  if you’re OK with healthy fats and whole foods, this is the dessert for you.

This dessert is a bit high in natural sugar, so I make it only for special occasions. But I feel no guilt in eating this decadent treat. It’s packed with highly nutritious and healthful ingredients.

(Image credit; Amanda Wynant)

INGREDIENTS

No-bake crust

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or other thick liquid sweeteners
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mousse filling

  • 2 cups ripe avocado (3-4 avocados pitted and peeled)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 2/3 cup honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or other thick liquid sweeteners
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup melted sugarless dark chocolate (sweetened naturally with stevia or similar)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Use oil to coat the bottom of a glass pie plate. You could also use a 9×11-inch glass pan.
  2. In a food processor, combine the crust ingredients and process until everything is combined. This will be sticky and delicious. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the glass pan. Then, put the pan with crust into your freezer while you make the filling.
  3. While the crust is chilling, put all of the mousse filling ingredients, except the chocolate, into your food processor and blend until smooth. Then, melt the chocolate and add it to the mouse mixture and blend until it’s all the same color and smooth.
  4. Remove the pie plate with crust from your freezer and pour in the silky chocolate mousse. Place the entire dessert back into your freezer for at least two hours to firm up. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, if you like a softer mousse, or in the freezer, if you prefer it firmer. I like to keep mine on my bedside table for easy access. But when I’m not eating it, I keep it in the freezer.

Options: The first time I made this, I used brown rice syrup to sweeten it. That worked perfectly. My close friend uses maple syrup, and it always turns out wonderfully. I have used raw honey for this as well with excellent results.

As for the crust, I have made this with walnuts as the recipe states. I have also used almonds and found it equally delicious.

**Tip** Make sure your avocados are ripe for the filling. Firmer, less ripe avocados will make your torte taste a little too vegetal.

Apple Berry Crisp

If an apple berry crisp sounds like an over-the-top sugary and fattening dessert, you haven’t tried our guilt-free version. Traditional crisps and cobblers are loaded with extra refined sugar. Here’s a little secret: natural fruit is sweet enough. There’s no need to add 2 cups of refined sugar a fruit crisp. Try this recipe instead of the one your great aunt passed down.

INGREDIENTS

Crumble topping

  • 1/2 cup flour, regular or gluten-free
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup granulated monk fruit/erythritol blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon water

Fruit filling

  • 2 cups chopped apples (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries
  • 2 tablespoons flour, regular or gluten-free
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch glass pan. Set it to the side.
  2. To make the crumble topping, combine the flour, oats, granulated sweetener, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Once the dry ingredients are combined, add the coconut oil and water. Mix it with your hands until it’s the consistency of wet, crumbly sand. Set it aside as well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the chopped apples, berries, 2 tablespoons flour and vanilla extract. Toss the fruit in with the flour until the fruit is coated in flour. Pour this fruit mixture into the glass pan. Top it with the crumble topping and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the topping is golden, and the fruit filling is bubbling.

Options: This fruit dessert is excellently made with exclusively apples or even all berries. You can try specific varieties like Honeycrisp apples and raspberries or Fuji apples and blueberries. Granny Smith apples are an excellent choice for this dessert as well.

Indulge Smarter

The sweet tooth hits all of us now and then. Resist the temptation to pick up those packaged bakery-style cookies with a half-inch thick layer of pastel-colored frosting and sprinkles on top. Instead, shop for whole foods and make delicious, healthier desserts that you don’t feel shameful eating.

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