3 Healthy Desserts to Please Your Sweet Tooth
Healthy eating doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some desserts! Balance, variety, and moderation is key when it comes to healthy eating. Most of us enjoy a dessert every once in a while, and some of us may enjoy a dessert every day. During the holiday season, we may enjoy desserts more often than usual. If you’re like me, you may not always feel so great after eating a dessert from the store. If you need a little break from store bought desserts, but still want to satisfy your sweet tooth - keep reading!
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that three quarters of the population has an eating pattern low in vegetables, fruits, dairy and oils. However, more than half meet and exceed total grain and protein food recommendations. Most Americans also exceed intake for added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Too much added sugar in the diet displaces intake of more nutrient dense foods and may be associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, and can impact heart health.
So, to satisfy my sweet tooth and still meet the recommendations set by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, I've found three nutrient dense desserts that can be made easily from home!
Black Bean Brownies
This indulgent treat is both nutritious and delicious. It’s high in fiber and protein from the beans, and a great source of whole grains and antioxidants from the oatmeal and cocoa. I also love that you can use maple syrup as an alternative to sugar, which contains essential minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium and potassium. If you like your brownies sweeter, feel free to add additional chocolate morsels to the recipe below.
You will need the following:
Food processor, spatula, measuring cups and spoons, 8x8 greased pan
1½ cups black beans
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup oats
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup melted coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chocolate chips (I like to use 57% cacao)
Mix all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in the food processor until everything is smooth and mixed together. Then add the chocolate chips and mix with a spatula. Add the mixture into the greased pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve hot or keep in the fridge to cool. You can also serve with a scoop of your favorite ice-cream or even top it with fresh berries. I’ve tried this recipe multiple times and no one can guess that it’s made from beans. This is definitely a winner!
With this healthy alternative to regular cobbler, you'll never look back! Oatmeal is a great whole grain to use in many desserts. Whole grains are rich in fiber and can support heart health as well as keep you full and satisfied longer. Berries are a great sweet alternative and loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. Antioxidants can help fight inflammation and improve cholesterol levels. Adults are recommended to eat 1-2 cups of fruits a day, and the CDC reports that only 1 in 10 adults meet these recommendations. How convenient is it to meet 1 cup of your serving recommendations through dessert?
You will need the following for 1 serving:
Small bowel to mix, spoon, single oven-safe ramekin or mug
1/3 cup oatmeal
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup of mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon (and more cinnamon to top!)
½ tsp vanilla
Add the oatmeal and let sit in the almond milk while you grab the other items. Mix and then add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the ramekin and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees, and voila!
Zucchini Chocolate Muffins
Healthy eating patterns include a variety of vegetables from these subgroups: dark greens, red and orange colored vegetables, legumes, and starchy vegetables. It can be difficult to include green vegetables for many people, so why not include in them your dessert? Zucchini is rich in vitamin A and includes some amounts of iron, calcium, zinc and B-vitamins. It is also high in antioxidants, fiber and water, low in carbohydrates, and can promote healthy digestion.
This recipe uses yogurt and apple sauce instead of butter as fat, making it a more heart healthy dessert. And the banana and chocolate chips add natural sweetness.
1 cup shredded zucchini
¾ cup whole grain flour, ¾ c all-purpose flour
¼ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1.5 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana
¼ cup chocolate chips
Mix wet ingredients (zucchini, yogurt, apple sauce, vanilla extract, egg, banana) and dry ingredients separately, then mix them together. Add the chocolate chips last and be careful not to over mix. Add to a greased muffin pan and bake for 30-32 minutes on 350 degrees.
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Written by: Yasmin Barakat, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern