Satisfying & Healthy Desserts

Use your desserts to work in an extra serving of fruits or whole grains.

Use your desserts to work in an extra serving of fruits or whole grains.

When your sweet tooth tingles, you can still enjoy a delicious dessert without overindulging on calories. You can make many desserts healthier with a few simple recipe adjustments. Ending your meal with one of these delicious treats will satisfy your craving for sweets and boost your servings of fruits or whole grains.

Fruits

Dessert is a perfect time to get an extra serving of fruit. Make baked apples or pears stuffed with raisins, honey and cinnamon. On a warm summer day, toss pineapple and peach kabobs on the grill. Dark chocolate provides antioxidants that protect against cell damage, so drizzle a little melted dark chocolate on your kabobs before serving them. For a healthy, no-bake cookie, try dried fruit balls. Toast almonds for 10 minutes in the oven. Toss the nuts in a food processor with dried apricots, raisins, cinnamon and allspice. Add a little honey and roll the mixture into balls. Store cookies in the refrigerator.

Whole Grains

Whole grains add a hearty texture to your desserts and provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Use whole-wheat flour to make pumpkin or apple bread. Serve it warm with low-fat whipped cream and chopped fresh fruit. Substitute brown rice in your rice pudding recipe and whole-grain bread in your bread pudding. For a sweet treat that doubles as breakfast the next day, try baked pumpkin oatmeal. Mix old-fashioned oats, a can of pumpkin, honey, egg, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread the oatmeal in a pan and bake until it is browned. To squeeze in a dairy serving, add a scoop of vanilla yogurt before serving the dish.

No-bake Desserts

If you need a quick dessert, try an easy no-bake option. Add water to raspberry-flavored gelatin powder. Stir in Greek yogurt and frozen or fresh berries, and refrigerate the mixture in a bowl for a few hours before serving it. If you're a pudding fan, add almond extract to low-fat vanilla pudding and scoop it into individual ramekins. Top with chopped cherries, kiwis and mandarin oranges. On a hot summer day, make your own sorbet by freezing 100-percent fruit juices in a loaf pan. After the juice partially freezes, stir and refreeze it. Repeat this several times until you have a shaved-ice texture. Use it as a dessert topping or enjoy it on its own for a cool treat.

Tips

Make traditional dessert recipes healthier with a few easy changes. Decrease the sugar in your baked recipes by half. Use low-fat or fat-free cream cheese, sour cream and milk instead of full-fat versions. For low-fat desserts, substitute fruit puree, such as applesauce or canned pumpkin, for butter or oil in recipes. Fruit purees add a light, moist and airy texture to cakes and quick breads.

About the Author

Jennifer Dlugos is a Boston-based writer with more than 10 years of experience in the health-care and wellness industries. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter who teaches screenwriting and film production classes throughout New England. Dlugos holds a master's degree in dietetics.

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