10 Guilt-Free Desserts that are Delicious, Healthy, and Super-Easy to Make

10 Guilt-Free Desserts that are Delicious, Healthy, and Super-Easy to Make

Looking for a way to lose weight, but not eliminate all sweets for good? Well I’ve got good news for you…

Not all desserts have to be banned from a healthy diet. You can make desserts that are less than 150 calories per serving. The key is to find ingredients that are both nutritious and satisfying to your taste buds, without adding too much fat or sugar to your diet.

With these treats, dieting will never be boring.

Blueberry Turtles

Image credit: thespiffycookie.com
Image credit: thespiffycookie.com

Blueberries are known for their high anthocyanin content, which accounts for their rich color and powerful antioxidant activity. In fact, they rank the highest among the fruits as a free-radical fighter and they deliver a high amount of fiber and vitamin C to the diet. A cup of blueberries is a mere 100 calories.[i]

Ingredients:

  • 7 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) 60% cocoa chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Procedure:

Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave until melted (about 60-75 seconds). Stir in blueberries and nuts. Make 5 rounded tablespoons (“turtles”) onto a parchment paper. Let cool in the refrigerator until firm (about 2-4 minutes). One turtle equals one serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 104 calories
  • 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat)
  • 9 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g protein
  • 1 g fiber
  • 0 mg sodium

Pomegranate with Mint Yogurt

Image credit: thetoastcompany.com
Image credit: thetoastcompany.com

Pomegranate is an antioxidant-rich fruit that has sweet and juicy seeds. Studies have shown that pomegranate juice may improve blood circulation, reduce bad cholesterol levels, stop plaque build-up in the blood vessels, and prevent heart disease.[ii] Other studies have also shown that it may suppress the growth of cancer cells, particularly in men with prostate cancer.[iii]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat)
  • 1/3 cup pulpy pomegranate seeds
  • 2 teaspoons (5 leaves) fresh mint, thinly sliced

Procedure:

Add mint leaves into Greek yogurt. Layer the yogurt and pomegranate seeds in a dessert dish. This makes one serving for you to enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

One serving contains:

  • 145 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 19 g carbohydrates
  • 16 g protein
  • 69 mg sodium
  • 4 g fiber

Healthy Affogato

healthy_affogato
Image credit: womenshealthmag.com

If you love ice cream and coffee, you will probably love this affogato with a twist. Instead of ice cream in this traditional Italian dessert, use yogurt. There are many health benefits from yogurt because it is made from live cultures of friendly bacteria (probiotics). There is some evidence that yogurt with active cultures may help prevent gastrointestinal problems such as lactose intolerance, diarrhea, constipation, and inflammatory bowel disease. Yogurt is also known to boost the body’s immune system by changing the intestinal flora, regulating immune system response, and enhancing resistance to infection. Research on elderly people shows that the duration of illnesses was significantly lower in participants who consumed probiotics in fermented milk. Other research found that yogurt containing bifidobacterium and lactobacillus improved drug therapy on patients with persistent H. pylori infections.[iv]

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons hot espresso
  • 1/2 tablespoon coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
  • 1/2 cup frozen yogurt (vanilla flavor)

Procedure:

Place frozen yogurt into a dessert bowl. Stir coffee liqueur into espresso and pour over the frozen yogurt. Enjoy one serving!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 131 calories
  • 1 g fat (0.9 g saturated fat)
  • 22 g carbohydrates
  • 4 g protein
  • 0 g fiber
  • 64 mg sodium

Fruit Cup with Honey and Lime

Image credit: everydayhealth.com
Image credit: everydayhealth.com

Like lemons, limes contain many flavonoid compounds that are high in antioxidant properties. Limes contain flavonol glycosides and kaempferol-related molecules, which have been shown to stop cancer cell division and exert antibiotic effects. Research studies on limes found that they are an excellent source of vitamin C, an important antioxidant, which neutralizes free radicals that damage the healthy cells of the body and cause inflammation. Vitamin C has been found to boost the immune system against respiratory tract infections and prevent the build-up of plaques that lead to heart disease.[v]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of assorted fresh fruit (pineapple, assorted berries, kiwi, etc.)
  • 1 lime (small)
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Procedure:

Place fruit in a serving bowl. Zest the lime and squeeze the juice. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, 1/2 tablespoon lime juice and honey. Drizzle the mixture over fruit and toss gently. Enjoy one serving!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 109 calories
  • 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat)
  • 28 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g protein
  • 3 g fiber
  • 3 mg sodium

Pear Tarts

Image credit: womenshealthmag.com
Image credit: womenshealthmag.com

Pears are an important source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients (such as vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids). The fruit is rich in flavonols, like epicatechin. Regular intake of pears is associated with a decreased risk of common chronic diseases characterized by chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. These diseases include Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.[vi]

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons butter (unsalted)
  • 2 pieces Bartlett pears, cored, peeled and diced (1/2-inch cubes)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons Greek yogurt (nonfat)
  • 18 small phyllo shells
  • lemon zest (optional)

Procedure:

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pears, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Toss frequently while cooking, until pears are just tender (about 7 minutes). Combine yogurt and remaining brown sugar in a small bowl. Spoon pears into phyllo shells. Top each tart with yogurt mixture. Optional: Sprinkle with lemon zest. You can serve tarts warm or cool to room temperature. This recipe makes six servings. 3 tarts equal one serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 130 calories
  • 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)
  • 17 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g protein
  • 2 g fiber
  • 75 mg sodium

Frozen Chocolate and Ricotta Sandwiches

Image credit: Levi Brown, womenshealthmag.com
Image credit: Levi Brown, womenshealthmag.com

Cheese is an important source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A and B12. The high-quality protein found in cheese provides your body with essential amino acids, the building blocks for stronger muscles. Cheese also contains calcium, which is one of the nutrients that is most likely to be lacking in the diet. Studies show that nine out of ten women and six out of ten men do not meet calcium recommendations for a healthy diet. However, cheese has often been “demonized” because it contains saturated fat. For many years, people believed that saturated fat, which is found in meat, eggs, butter, milk, lard and cheese, was a principal cause of heart disease. However, new research contradicts this belief and experts are now allowing people to enjoy their favorite foods, including cheese.[vii]

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people ages 9 and older may consume at least three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese each day. One serving of cheese is equivalent to 1 1/2 ounces of hard cheese, 1/3 cup of grated cheese or 2 ounces of processed cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ricotta (part-skim)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 16 chocolate wafers (substitutes: ginger thins or chocolate graham crackers)

Procedure:

Combine ricotta, orange marmalade and sugar in a small bowl. Fold in chocolate chips. Place 8 wafers on a baking sheet. Spoon a tablespoon of ricotta mixture on each and top with the remaining wafers. Freeze at least one hour or until set. Wrap separately when frozen and keep in the freezer. This recipe makes 8 servings; one sandwich equals one serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 120 calories
  • 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)
  • 17 g carbohydrates
  • 4 g protein
  • 0 g fiber
  • 30 mg sodium

Mini Velvet Cupcakes

mini-red-velvet-cupcakes
Image credit: bellabaking.com

Applesauce has a texture and subtle sweetness that makes it a comfort food as well as a delicious snack. In addition, apples are a great source of vitamin C and natural fiber. Just make sure that your applesauce comes from organic apples and has no added sugar.

Apples contain antioxidants from flavonoids, help reduce inflammation, reduce excessive production of fat in the liver, regulate blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. Apples and applesauce are also a rich source of soluble fiber, which decreases bad cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease. The pectin content of applesauce may help reduce the risk of developing excess abdominal fat and help suppress appetite, which can aid in weight loss. Some studies suggest that apples may also help prevent cancer and lower the risk for metabolic syndrome and asthma.[viii]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box red velvet cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup Marshmallow Fluff

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the cake mix, applesauce, water, egg, and the egg white.  Beat the mixture until smooth. Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Allow muffins to cool for one minute, then transfer from tins to a wire rack to allow them to cool completely. Place some Marshmallow Fluff in a plastic bag with one corner cut off and pipe on the cupcakes. This recipe makes four dozen mini cupcakes; 3 cupcakes equal one serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 93 calories
  • 2 g fat (<1 g saturated fat)
  • 18 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g protein
  • <1 g fiber
  • 108 mg sodium

Spicy Rice Pudding

Spices can make any food come alive, but more importantly, these can boost health even when used in small amounts. Cardamom, the Queen of Spices, is one of the most expensive spices used in Asia. Traditionally used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, the herb is believed to be a remedy for mouth and throat problems, lung congestion, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation of the eyelids, kidney problems and gallstones. According to the USDA and the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 100g of cardamom contains 300 kcal, 68 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 28 g dietary fiber and no cholesterol. The spice is also rich in micronutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, sodium, potassium, copper, iron, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium and zinc. Studies suggest that cardamom has anti-carcinogenic properties and is good for cardiovascular health. It may help control cholesterol levels, relieve depression, treat urinary disorders and protect against gastrointestinal diseases.[ix]

Another popularly used spice is cinnamon. Extracts come from the bark of a cinnamon tree, which have also been used traditionally as medicine around the world. Some studies suggest that cinnamon may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, lower cholesterol levels and help treat yeast infections in patients with HIV. Research also shows that cinnamon may help reduce inflammation, fight bacteria and exert antioxidant effects.[x]

Ingredients:

  • 1 box rice pudding mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (nonfat)
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped

Procedure:

Prepare the rice pudding according to package directions. Stir in the spices and salt. Add milk. When thickened, add half of the chopped apricots and nuts. Spoon pudding into 8 shot glasses. Top with the remaining fruit and nuts. Allow to cool before serving. This recipe makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 110 calories
  • 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat)
  • 19 g carbohydrates
  • 4 g protein
  • 1 g fiber
  • 140 mg sodium

Fruit and Gelatin “Sherbet”

Gelatin is a protein that comes from animal products. It is used in the preparation of foods and various cosmetics and medicines. It is often used to aid weight loss but is also useful in treating bone conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. This is because it contains collagen, one of the substances that make up bones and cartilage. It is therefore believed to help strengthen joints, bones, hair and fingernails. It helps hasten recovery after exercise and sports-related injury.[xi]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (fat-free/low-fat)
  • 1 box strawberry gelatin (sugar-free)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Procedure:

Place ricotta, gelatin, berries and vanilla extract in a blender/food processor. Blend until smooth. Divide into 8 glasses or dessert bowls. Freeze or chill until ready to serve. This recipe makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 75 calories

Cappuccino Dessert

Coffee is not only good for breakfast, but it is also good for dessert. Aside from a boost to your energy, a growing body of research shows that coffee helps reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers, heart problems and stroke. Some evidence also suggests that even decaffeinated coffee may have similar benefits as regular coffee. Aside from caffeine, coffee has been found to be rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for its anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. To enjoy the health benefits of coffee, experts recommend drinking coffee in moderate amounts (3-4 cups/day).[xii]

Ingredients:

  • Instant vanilla pudding (fat-free, sugar-free)
  • 1 cup instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon almond or mint extract (optional)

Procedure:

Prepare vanilla pudding according to package instruction. Combine with instant coffee for a delicious cappuccino flavor. For variety, substitute coffee with almond extract or mint extract. Sprinkle with chocolate chips if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • 115 calories

 

References:

[i] Blueberries: Nutritious Things Come in Small Packages. Chloe Thompson, WebMD, Published April 22, 2010, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[ii] Pomegranate Power, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD, Published September 8, 2006, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[iii] New Study Reveals Four Nutrients that Lower PSA and Slow Cancer Progression, Ramon Gonzales, Life Extension Magazine, Published December 2013, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[iv] The Benefits of Yogurt, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD, Published March 05, 2007, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[v] Health Benefits of Lime, Organic Facts, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[vi] The Benefits of Eating Pear, Sara Ipatenco, SFGate, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[vii] Should I Eat Cheese? Mandy Oakander, Time, Published October 23, 2014, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[viii] Apples, The World’s Healthiest Foods, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[ix] Health Benefits of Cardamom, Organic Facts, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[x] 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon, Joe Leech, Authority Nutrition, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[xi] 5 Reasons Why Even Vegetarians Should Eat Gelatin, Laura Schoenfeld, chriskesser.com, Published March 6, 2014, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

[xii] 13 Proven Health Benefits of Coffee, Kris Gunnars, Authority Nutrition, Retrieved August 20, 2015.

Related Posts