You Won't Believe How Good These Low-Calorie Desserts Taste


Craving a gooey, delicious dessert? Yeah. Me too. Though I try my best to keep my inner sugar-fiend under control, I certainly like to indulge, I'll admit, daily. So, over the years I've learned to save the calorie-loaded confections for special occasions. Otherwise, I favor healthier swaps for my favorite desserts, and most of them are made with inexpensive ingredients many of us already have on hand. (See also: Single-Serving "Fake" Desserts)

Here are 15 recipes to try if you're looking for a better-sweet ending.

1. Frozen Banana Bites

These chocolate dipped Frozen Banana Bites are simple, but will satisfy your sweet tooth. I've seen many recipes throughout the years, including this truly decadent bunch, so you can get as complicated as you wish.

2. Chocolate "Pudding"

If I'm stuck on chocolate, I like to make my own pudding using only a couple healthy ingredients. I whisk together one cup of Greek yogurt with a tablespoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder until smooth. Then I mix in natural sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave, etc.) to taste. Usually only a couple teaspoons.

3. Apple Pie

This next recipe is apple pie in the most literal sense. Try baking your treat inside an apple to cut calories. And if sugar is your concern, I see no reason you need to use an entire ½ cup. Cut the measurement in half or even omit entirely, and I'm sure it will be pleasantly sweet.

4. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The author of this next recipe admits these "Guilt-Free" Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are lacking "everything that people love about a cookie" (sugar, butter, oil, and eggs). However, they turn out great by using the natural sweetness from bananas plus the power of Greek yogurt to transform the traditional into a healthier snack. (See also: Healthy Breakfast Cookies With Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans)

5. Flavored Popcorn

I think most of us know that popcorn is high in fiber and low in calories. So, it's a great dessert alternative. Combine a couple cups of air-popped popcorn (to avoid the added salt and artificial ingredients in microwaved varieties) with dried fruit and chocolate chips or even with a little coconut oil plus cinnamon and sugar. Whatever floats your boat.

6. Micro-Muffins

If you'd like a quick "baked" good that's highly customizable, try these Pecan Chocolate Chip Micro-Muffins. Simply mix together the ingredients, cook for around three minutes, and let cool before serving.

7. Smoothie Pops

These Orange-Banana Smoothie Pops sound bright and delicious. I'd consider swapping the orange juice concentrate with 100% orange juice or even freshly squeezed for better health and less sugar. However, the other ingredients are common to most pantries and light.

8. Apple Sandwiches

The photos alone of these gorgeous Apple and Nut Butter Sandwiches have sold me. Simply core and slice apples, spread peanut butter (or other nut butter) in between and top with granola and chocolate chips.

9. Fresh Fruit Pops

I like that this next recipe was inspired by "The Jungle Book!" These Fresh Fruit Pops get their flavor from a variety of vibrant fruits, but I see no reason to follow the recipe exactly. Use whatever is fresh, in-season, and — therefore — less expensive. (See also: Fruits and Veggies By the Month)

10. Cookie Dough Dip

Angela at Oh She Glows is one of my favorite recipe developers. And you won't believe the base ingredient in this tasty Cookie Dough Dip — potatoes! Don't be afraid, though, dessert alternatives may sound strange at first, but I've tried this vegan, gluten-free dish personally and love it.

11. Fudge

Now that I've got your palate thinking more adventurously, I'd like to entice you with this Black Bean Fudge recipe. It's refined sugar-free and gets its sweetness from Medjool dates, and the other healthful ingredients are likely already in your pantry.

12. Brownie

Dessert swaps are also about portion sizes, so you'll enjoy this Single-Serve Brownie made in a ramekin. The ingredients list is short, but not on flavor. The author suggests oat flour, spelt flour, or almond flour. I make my own oat and almond flours by simply pulsing the core ingredients in my food processor until adequately pulverized. (See also: Grocery Items You Should Make at Home)

13. Cupcakes

These amazing Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes sure look complicated with their long ingredients list. If you look closer, however, you'll realize you already have everything you need in your cabinets and drawers. Best of all? Each cupcake boasts six grams of protein!

14. Doughnuts

I have discovered recently that doughnuts are my favorite way to indulge. To make them healthier, I whisk up these Triple Chocolate Baked Doughnuts and save myself all the fat and fuss from frying.

15. Strawberry Shortcake

This Paleo Strawberry Shortcake is a twist on a classic dish and made much more nutrient dense with the use of almond flour. A simple "whipped cream" comes together in only minutes with refrigerated coconut milk. And if you've never tried it before, you're in for a treat!

What's your favorite lightened-up dessert?

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