13 Best Healthy Desserts with Benefits and Recipes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The idea of a healthy dessert is attractive since you can indulge in your cravings without feeling guilty. Desserts often tend to have a bad reputation, and deservedly so, as they are often filled with sugar, fat, carbohydrates, and ingredients that taste wonderful, but might not be the best for your body. The search for salubrious desserts is ongoing and there are countless options out there for delicious and healthy desserts.

List of Healthy Desserts

Some of the most popular healthy desserts are dark chocolate, frozen chocolate bananas, Nutella and fruit, trail mix and fruit leather.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a simple yet healthy go-to dessert whenever you feel like you are craving for sweets.

Studies have shown that the compounds in cocoa are able to lower insulin sensitivity and improve cardiovascular function, without a significant amount of added sugar.

Healthy dessert made with granola, yogurt, seeds, sliced kiwi, persimmon, and strawberry

Granola with yogurt and fruit Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Frozen Chocolate Bananas

Melt 2 bars of dark chocolate and dip in a banana so you get a chocolate-coated banana. Then freeze it for some time and serve with nuts and dried fruits.

The banana packs a high level of potassium, while the antioxidant effects of cocoa polyphenols in dark chocolate could have a direct influence on insulin resistance and, in turn, reduce the risk for diabetes.

Nutella and Fruit

If you are tired or bored of eating fruits on their own, then try dipping them in Nutella, the popular hazelnut spread. The fruits that taste amazing with Nutella are berries, apples, and banana.

As Nutella is made up of chocolate and hazelnuts, it can help protect your heart, while the berries and fruit will give you a good boost of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is made up of nuts, seeds, raisins, dried berries, and dark chocolate chips.

It provides a huge boost of fiber and essential minerals, as well as good fats but remember, eat this in moderation, as nuts do have a high-calorie count.

Fruit Leather

Fruit leather is pressed fruit puree with moderate amounts of ascorbic acid and other minerals added in but very few calories. It has a delicious flavor.

Healthy and Delicious Dessert Recipes

There are many excellent options for delicious and healthy desserts, baked apples with oatmeal filling, crepe cake and vanilla berry parfaits.

Crepe Cake

Ingredients:

Step 1 – Whisk the egg, sugar, corn starch and flour together to make the crepe batter.

Step 2 – Heat milk to just below the boiling point in a saucepan and add it to the batter.

Step 3 – Mix ingredients thoroughly and then put them in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

Step 4 – Ladle 1/4 cup of batter into a lightly oiled pan, cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until brown and center is dry. Repeat this 10-15 times.

Step 5 – Spread a thin layer of chocolate pudding between each crepe and stack the layers.

Step 6 – Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Baked Apples with Oatmeal Filling

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of butter

Step 1 – Wash and core all 4 apples, ensuring there is a decent well or hole in the middle of each.

Step 2 – Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl, adding butter until it forms a consistent mixture.

Step 3 – Evenly fill up the 4 apples with the oat blend mixture.

Step 4 – Bake the apples at 450 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.

Step 5 – Allow the apples to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Vanilla Berry Parfait

Ingredients:

Step 1 – Spoon 1 cup of the Greek yogurt into an ice cream dish or bowl.

Step 2 – Layer in the berries and fruit.

Step 3 – Spoon the second cup of Greek yogurt over the berries.

Step 4 – Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes before serving.

Healthy, Quick and Easy Dessert Recipes

For those on the go who still want to satisfy their sweet tooth with healthy desserts, try peanut butter and chocolate pretzels, cinnamon toast, and coconut yogurt popsicles.

Cinnamon Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of wheat bread
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar

Step 1 – Toast the bread and spread the butter while it is still warm.

Step 2 – Sprinkle a few dashes of sugar and cinnamon to the toast.

Step 3 – Allow the sugar and cinnamon to melt and then serve.

Coconut Yogurt Pops

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of coconut flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract

Step 1 – Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

Step 2 – Pour the coconut yogurt mix into 3 popsicle molds.

Step 3 – Free popsicle molds for 4-6 hours before serving!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 10 pretzel rods
  • 2 bars of dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts

Step 1 – Melt the 2 bars of chocolate.

Step 2 – Dip the top 1/3 of the pretzel rods in the melted chocolate.

Step 3 – Roll the chocolate-covered pretzel rods in the crushed walnuts.

Step 4 – Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving!

Heart-healthy Dessert Recipes

Some of the best healthy desserts for your heart are banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, strawberry shortcake, and creamy rice pudding.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Step 1 – Blend banana, butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl with a hand mixer.

Step 2 – Add the egg and mix until the consistency is even.

Step 3 – Mix flour, oats and baking soda in a bowl.

Step 4 – Add the flour mixture and the banana blend, stirring in the chocolate chips gradually.

Step 5 – Scoop out 2 tablespoon chunks of batter and place on a cooking sheet.

Step 6 – Bake cookies for 18 minutes at 350 degrees.

Step 7 – Allow it to cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 cups of whipped cream
  • 2 pounds of strawberries – washed, chopped and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup

Step 1 – Mix the baking powder, flour, and cinnamon.

Step 2 – In a measuring cup, combine coconut milk, honey and vanilla extract

Step 3 – Mix the two blends together and spoon until the dough is thick and consistent.

Step 4 – Knead the dough thoroughly and then press into a flat square.

Step 5 – Cut the square into 9 pieces and then lay them out on the cookie sheet, top with a layer of coconut milk.

Step 6 – Bake the squares for 20-22 minutes.

Step 7 – Mash half of the strawberries in a bowl, then stir in the other half of sliced strawberries and the honey.

Step 8 – Slice the shortcakes in half, apply strawberries to the bottom, followed by whipped cream.

Step 9 – Add the top half of the shortcake and serve!

Creamy Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of brown rice
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Step 1 – Cook water and rice in a saucepan over a low simmer for about 45 minutes.

Step 2 – Mix the cooked rice, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan.

Step 3 – Cook for 15-20 minutes over medium heat.

Step 4 – Mix in 1/2 cup of milk, egg, and raisins.

Step 5 – Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Step 6 – Stir in butter and vanilla extract.

Step 7 – Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and serve warm.

Low-calorie Desserts

If you want to cut back on calories and still enjoy your after-dinner treat, try whole-grain gingersnaps, carrot cupcakes, frozen grapes, sorbet, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Whole-grain Gingersnaps

Whole-grain cookies are excellent healthy desserts, as they are rich in fiber, which can improve digestive processes, regulate insulin and glucose levels, and lower overall cholesterol levels.

Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot cake is a healthy and nutrient-dense form of a healthy dessert, particularly with a white chocolate cream cheese topping. This dessert is relatively low in calories and high in beta-carotene, which can help the body in many ways.

Frozen Grapes

Grapes only have 62 calories in a cup, which is basically a dessert-size serving. When grapes are frozen, many people believe that their flavor is enhanced, combined with the fiber and tannins in the skin of these delicious cold fruit bursts.

Sorbet

Sorbet can be made into a variety of flavors and if you make it at home, you can prepare an extremely low-calorie version. However, sorbet that you purchase at the store is often packed with corn syrup, so spend the extra time and effort to make your own delicious flavors.

Chocolate-covered Strawberries

If you buy 1 pound of strawberries and melt 2 bars of dark chocolate, you can dip the strawberries for a delicious and rather low-calorie snack. Use dark chocolate, as it is high in key antioxidants. The strawberries also deliver a number of vitamins and antioxidants, and there are only 4 calories in each medium-sized strawberry.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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