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Healthier Desserts

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Healthier desserts

Light and easy desserts

Dessert can be lightened up with some simple ingredients swaps, so it tastes great and is good for you too.

Use whole grain flour

While most desserts rely on white flour, any grain can be milled into flour and many can be used for interesting and delicious desserts. The key is to find recipes that were made and tested specifically with the alternative flours you are using, so you’ll be sure they will work. Simply taking out white flour and replacing it with a substitute does not work in all recipes. Since baking is a science, you need to be exact.

As a general rule, any flour stays fresher longer when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Whole grain flour

Some whole grains and alternatives flours that you can try are:

Granola Bars
  • Whole grain spelt flour
  • Barley flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Chickpea flour
  • Soy flour
  • Oat flour
  • Almond flour
  • Quinoa flour
  • Brown rice flour

Many of these alternative flours are higher in fibre and protein when compared to wheat flour, so in addition to getting a unique baked good, you also increase the nutritional value.

See the recipe for Naturally Sweet Granola Bars

Have creative fruit desserts

Natural sugar in fruit adds up slowly compared the cupfuls of sugar used in most desserts. You can satisfy a sweet tooth with fruit without raking up too many calories. But a juicy apple or ripe banana may not be the most sophisticated dessert. There are many ways to elevate fruit and make it exciting, fancier and dessert-worthy! Try grilling strawberries or peaches on the barbeque. Make a fruit salad with candied ginger and mint for an interesting twist. Bake up sinful cinnamon apples or broil mango.

See the recipe for Grilled Pineapple and Crispy Coconut-Lime Topping

Grilled pineapple

Make healthy popsicles

Frozen yoghurt sticles

Commercial popsicles are a mix of sugar, water and food colouring, and have no real health value. You can change that by purchasing popsicle makers and making your own versions at home with fresh fruit or fruit juice. Or for frozen yogurt on a stick, mix Greek yogurt with fresh fruit or juice. Pour that into the popsicle maker and pop into the freezer. Simple, easy and healthy. You can also make mini popsicles using ice cube trays and toothpicks as sticks.

See the recipe for Frozen Yoghurt Sticks

Use healthier fats in dessert

A lot of the calories in dessert come from fat. Sometimes you can reduce the amount of fat and the dessert still comes together perfectly. You can also try to use healthier types of fat, such as unsaturated oils instead of lard, shortening or butter. Oil works well in quick breads and muffins, but not as well in pie crust and butter cookies! Do some experimenting and see what you can do.

Adding nuts, seeds or nut and seed butters is another way to add healthier fats to dessert. Toasting nuts and seeds brings out a flavourful richness and adds extra crunch. Use them on top of fruit salad, yogurt or ice cream. Rich and creamy, nut butters are decadent but are also bursting with healthy fat, vitamins and minerals.

You can also make interesting desserts with whipped avocado, which is a healthy fat.

See the recipe for Chocolate Mousse with Avocados

Chocolate Mousse with Avocados

Lighter dairy products

One easy way to make desserts a whole lot lighter is to swap the full-fat dairy items for the low fat versions. Here are some easy switches that you can test in your desserts:

 Instead of ... Try ...
 Sour Cream Yogurt
 Whipping Cream Coffee Cream
 Whole Milk Skim Milk
 Cream Cheese  Light Cream Cheese

Chocolate and banana make a great dessert pair

Chocolate-Rum Mini Bananas

Maybe it’s your childhood memory of banana splits, but when you read the words “chocolate” and “banana,” you can’t help but smile. Just a little bit of chocolate transforms bananas into a dessert that satisfies any sweet tooth.

Try freezing bananas and drizzling them with chocolate syrup, melting a tablespoon of chocolate chips and dipping sliced banana into it, or kick it up with some run in these Chocolate rum mini bananas.

See the recipe for Chocolate-Rum Mini Bananas

Dessert tea and coffee

With decadent sounding names like salted chocolate caramel, pralines ‘n’ cream, and strawberry shortcake parfait, the varieties of dessert-flavoured teas and coffees are endless. Even if you add some milk and a teaspoon of sugar, you’re still likely taking in 500 fewer calories than if you ate a decadent dessert, but still get that sweet taste lingering on your tongue. Plus, if you are full after a meal, a light beverage is the perfect way to end the evening instead of a heavy dessert.