Looking for a healthy dessert recipe? This list includes gluten free desserts, Paleo desserts, healthy chocolate desserts and nut-free desserts!
As flour and yeast shortages will tell you, baking has been a popular activity with everyone home more this spring.
It totally makes sense – not only does baking provide delicious treats that bring a little bit of joy to the day, it also creates a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Baking is a wonderful creative outlet and a great activity to do with the kiddos.
If you're anything like me though, too many sugary treats don't leave you feeling your best. That's why I've compiled a roundup of my favorite healthy dessert recipes!
Each of these desserts is gluten free and many are Paleo. They are mostly dairy free and are all free of refined sugar (depending on the chocolate chips you use).
These are desserts you can actually feel good about eating!
Many in our Prep Dish community are dealing with nut allergies, so I made sure to include an entire nut-free section below. I hope this becomes a go-to resource for your family if you need nut-free recipes!
Healthy Chocolate Desserts
I'm a chocolate lover through and through. Most of the time, if I want a sweet treat, a simple piece of high quality dark chocolate will do.
But then there are those times when I want to make something a bit special. Whether it's a holiday or I just want to drop something off for a friend or loved one who needs a pick-me-up, these are my go-to chocolatey treats.
Psst – Don't miss the brownies hiding in the nut-free section below! They are a must for all of you fellow chocolate lovers!
Fruit (and Veggie!) Based Healthy Dessert Recipes
Fruit lends a natural sweetness to desserts that really minimizes the added sweetener needed. Pears, bananas and berries all make a wonderful base for a healthy dessert recipe.
Curious about the veggie-based desserts? I have two! The first is my sweet potato pie. If you love pumpkin pie, this has a similar flavor profile and is a really fun way to mix it up. My carrot cake bites are also veggie-based. It's amazing how the sweetness of these veggies shines through in the absence of refined sugar.
With the exception of the cherry cobbler, which calls for grass fed butter, all of the desserts in this fruit-based section are also dairy-free.
If you love fruit-based desserts, make sure to check out my AIP Baked Apples, Poached Pears, Blueberry Chia Pudding, Watermelon Mojito Popsicles and Pineapple & Raspberry Popsicles in the nut-free section below!
Nut-free Dessert Recipes
We always provide nut-free substitutions in our weekly meal plans but I know it's nice sometimes to simply have a recipe made to comply with your dietary restrictions – no substitutions needed.
Each of the below desserts is nut-free and ready for you to enjoy! They are also completely dairy-free as long as you use dairy-free chocolate when called for.
The pomegranate bark in the chocolate section above can also easily be made nut-free by omitting the almonds. The peanut butter cups and banana ice cream can be made nut free by subbing sunbutter for peanut butter.
Are honey, maple and dates better than refined sugar for a healthy dessert recipe?
You'll notice that all of our desserts are refined-sugar free (except, potentially, for chocolate – see below!). They are all made with honey, maple, dates or other fruit for sweetness.
Why is this? Does the type of sweetener you use matter?
Yes, in my opinion it does. While maple, honey and dates are all high in sugar, they offer vitamins and nutrients that refined sugar simply doesn't have.
Pure maple syrup is particularly high in manganese and zinc, and also contains calcium, potassium and iron. It also has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, meaning it will spike your blood sugar less.
Honey is high in antioxidants and also has antibacterial properties. Choosing raw local honey will help ensure you get the best quality and that your honey has the most potential anti-allergy benefits possible
Dates are not only a healthier replacement for sugar, but indeed a genuine healthy food. Dates provide copper, Vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium, in addition to plenty of fiber. Medjool dates provide more calcium than other varieties.
What about chocolate chips? Are their any healthy options?
For some of these recipes, whether or not they contain refined sugar is up to you. If you use standard chocolate chips for recipes like the pomegranate bark or cranberry walnut dark chocolate drops, the dessert will have some refined sugar.
If you'd like to avoid that, there are plenty of chocolate chip options made without refined sugar – Thrive Market is a great place to look! Here are a few different options:
- Hu Gems are made with coconut sugar.
- Pascha baking chips are totally unsweetened. This wouldn't work in a recipe with a chocolate base, but might be good in my peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!
- Lakanto chocolate chips are sweetened with monk fruit.
You can also just look for chocolate chips with a high percentage of cacao like these to minimize the amount of refined sugar in the dessert.
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