It’s the new year and you are off to a good start. Except for one thing: You still struggle with that post-dinner craving. If only you could have a great-tasting dessert that didn’t throw a wrench into your progress. Well, you can.
Here are some great-tasting desserts – low on calories and sugar (and that’s the key) – that will satisfy those dessert cravings and keep you on a steady pace for a lean physique this spring.
And there’s something more. There is a psychological aspect to all this. We can get worn down if we never feel we can splurge and delve into something sweet and delicious (cheat, if you will). These desserts – some easier and some more difficult – will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by trying to be so strict all the time. They are just the break you need to keep going!
1) Kiwi Ice Pops
These ice pops are a great way to finish off a meal with something cool and naturally sweet. Both adults and children love this mouthwatering, low-calorie easy dessert.
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp Stevia
1/2 c. fresh lime juice
The syrup: Combine 1 cup of water with the Stevia in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Set aside to cool.
Ice pops: Using a paring knife, cut kiwis into quarters, peel, and remove the white core and seeds from each piece. Place the seeded kiwi pieces in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée to a liquid (about 1 minute). Combine the puréed kiwi, 3/4 cup syrup, lime juice, and remaining 3/4 cup water in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into molds and freeze until solid (about 6 hours).
2) Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yes, they exist! This healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe yields delicious soft and chewy cookies and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup oat flour (140g)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp Stevia
1/3 cup chocolate chips, or more if desired
1/3 cup chopped macadamia or walnuts, optional
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegetable or melted coconut oil
3-5 tbsp milk of choice, as needed
Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. Add wet, and form into a big ball. Now make little balls from the big one. For soft cookies, refrigerate until cold (otherwise, just bake right away). Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven when they’re still a little undercooked, then it’s important to let cool 10 minutes before removing from the tray, as they’ll continue to cook while cooling.
3) Dairy Free Banana Ice Cream
Oh, you will love this child-friendly “ice cream”. It takes less than 5 minutes to whip up, you don’t need an ice cream maker and you can add different ingredients to create a unique flavor. Plus, you only need one ingredient –bananas!
Bananas – get a bunch, preferably overripe.
Peel the bananas and slice them into even chunks. Place them on a baking tray with parchment paper and spread them out so each chunk has some space.
Freeze the banans chunks for 2-4 hours or until the bananas are solid to the touch. Remove the tray from the freezer, and then transfer the banana chunks according to the amount you need to fit them in a zip lock bag. Make sure the air is squeezed out of the bag prior to freezing.
Using a food processor or blender (preferable with an “S” blade), add a few bananas at a time in intervals and whip until they are of ice cream texture. Once whipped, use an ice cream scoop to form some balls and serve in a bowl. Sprinkle some nuts, seeds whatever you want, and drizzle some low-sugar syrup on top.
4) Paleo Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie
Who would think a low-carb, sugar-free pie would be this delicious? Moreover, it’s dairy and gluten-free – and only 200 calories per slice to boot!
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1/2 c monk fruit
1/2 c canned coconut milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Generous pinch of salt
1 low-carb Pie Crust, cooled (see below)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl and pour into the prepared, cooled pie crust. Lightly tent the pie with tin foil so the crust doesn’t further brown and place it into the oven. Bake until the center just has a little jiggle, and a knife inserted an inch from the crust comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door and let the pumpkin pie sit inside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, let the pie cool on the counter completely for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Pie Crust Ingredients
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
3 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp Monkfruit
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
1 egg yolk
2 tsp ice water
Pie Crust Directions
Line the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate with a circle of parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, tapioca starch, coconut flour, monk fruit and salt. Cut in the butter, until it is broken down into pea-sized balls and the mixture is crumbly, almost like very thick streusel crumbs. Add in the egg yolk and ice water and use your hands to mix until it forms a ball, making sure you get that egg yolk nice and mixed. Pat it into a disc, wrap it with saran, and chill for at least 2 hours.
Once chilled, roll it between 2 layers of parchment paper to just under ¼ inch thick and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Gently flip the parchment paper right over onto the prepared pie plate and very gently pull the parchment off, using your hands to fix any cracks, and shape the sides. The crust will stick in spots, so just be very gentle pulling the parchment off. Since there is no gluten, this crust can handle being worked, so you can stick together any pieces that fall off, or any holes after the crust is off the parchment. Poke holes all over the bottom with a fork and bake until the bottom is lightly golden, and the sides are a deep golden, about 15-17 minutes.
5) Healthy Red Velvet Cupcakes
Not possible, right? Oh yes, it is. Check out this recipe for the healthiest, tastiest, fluffiest, most flavorful red velvet cupcakes you’ve ever had!
2 c whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp butter extract
4 tsp vanilla Stevia
3 tbsp liquid red food coloring
1/2 c plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 c granulated Stevia
1 cup nonfat milk
Directions for Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, and coat the liners with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, vanilla extract, butter extract, and vanilla Stevia. Carefully stir in the red food coloring. Add in the Greek yogurt, stirring until no large lumps remain. Stir in the vinegar. Stir in the granulated Stevia. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until the centers feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
1 c plain nonfat Greek yogurt
8 oz (1 block) light or fat-free cream cheese, well softened
2 servings sugar-free, fat-free instant cheesecake pudding mix
5/8 tsp vanilla stevia, or adjusted to taste
Directions for Frosting
While the cupcakes bake, prepare the frosting. Add the Greek yogurt, cream cheese, instant pudding, and vanilla stevia to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Cover the top of the bowl with foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, pipe the cream cheese frosting on top just before serving.
Bob LeFavi, PhD, is a professor of health sciences and Dean of the Beaufort Campus at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.