Got a major sweet tooth, but trying to be healthy during the holidays? No worries. Clean eating can be sweet (literally). Try these healthy dessert recipes!
‘Tis the season to be jolly! The Christmas season has finally come upon us. You know what that means, friends? Christmas cookies, fruitcake (Hey! Some people out there actually like fruitcake and by some people, I mean me) roasted marshmallows, and eggnog galore. I know some of you reading are still carrying around your food babies from Thanksgiving and aren’t quite ready to take on the feat of devouring your favorite Christmas meal. However, the holiday season is the time to binge on your favorite treats anyway, right?
In all seriousness, Christmas time isn’t just about the food, but it’s one of the many perks that comes with this time of year. Ladies and gents, I have a confession for you all…I am a total food junkie! I love food—especially around the holiday season. Shocker, I know.
Image & Recipe via Crustabakes
Here’s my conflict, as much as I love food and would love to devour a whole dark chocolate Christmas pie with a peanut butter-chocolate mousse filling with chocolate ganache, and butter crust (your mouth is watering now, isn’t it?), I already know that moments after eating that heavenly delicacy I will be filled with regret. Too many holiday goodies (or any kind of goodies, for that matter) can leave me feeling heavy and lethargic. What was once pure bliss to my taste buds soon becomes total remorse in my stomach.
To my fellow conflicted food junkies, I come to you with tidings of good news and joy—there is hope! In a world full of high calorie, gut-busting, and filled-with-remorse sweets and treats, a new champion has arisen—healthy desserts.
Yes, my friends…you did indeed see the two words, healthy and dessert, together. Unfathomable, right? Think again! Here’s a list of my five personal favorite healthy desserts. The majority of these desserts are gluten-free, paleo-friendly, or vegan—so you guys are in for a treat! (Pun totally intended!)
Image & Recipe via Girl Makes Food
The ‘pecan pie gods’ have looked graciously upon humankind and felt that it is time for us to enjoy pecan pie without the fear of busting our guts. Pecan pie has been transformed into a scrumptious delicacy that is also good enough to grace the plate of even the most conscientious health nuts. Yes folks, I know that Thanksgiving has long passed, but at my family’s household, we devour pecan pie all autumn and winter long. Pecan pie is one of my absolute favorite desserts because it’s one of those treats that is not too crazily sweet, but can still appease my sweet tooth nicely. What’s wonderful about this recipe is that although it may be vegan and gluten-free (say what?!), it still captures the delicious gooeyness and sweetness of a traditional pecan pie without being overly sweet!
I know some of you are wondering, what’s the secret to the awesomeness of this pie? Here’s the secret…the pie is made of dates! Dates are absolutely delicious and have so many health benefits like being rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Some health specialists have said that eating one date per day is good for maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. With that in mind, just know that this is one dessert you won’t have to regret eating!
Image & Recipe via Desserts with Benefits
Coffee lovers, I have found your new manna! You are in fact looking at a picture of a tiramisu, that is healthier than your typical gluttonous tiramisu. How so? Not only does this tiramisu have 110 calories less than the typical tiramisu recipe, it also has 10 grams less fat and 7 grams less unhealthy saturated fat. In this case, less does mean more, my friends! Less fat means more tiramisu for you to eat.
For all you readers who have just had your mind blown, I’m not finished listing what’s healthy about this tiramisu. Brace yourselves because you may be about to have your socks blown off! (And possibly, a few inches off your waist for eating healthier.) On top of all that, it is great because it has nearly half the cholesterol of a typical tiramisu. Furthermore, it has more fiber, more protein, and no refined sugar. I know some of you are about to race off to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for this dessert, but wait just one minute because there are more healthy desserts for you to read about!
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Image & Recipe via Vegtastic
Whoop there it is! Have you ever seen a more wondrous sight? I think not. Whoopie pies are one of my personal faves. However, they are one of the biggest high calorie offenders in the dessert world. A traditional whoopie pie has over 679 calories, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, and 4 grams of trans fat. Yikes, talk about belt-buster. However, not to fear for a healthier alternative is here. Thankfully, Eating Well has provided the world with a list of healthy ingredient swaps that you can apply to your traditional whoopie pie recipe or the vegan peanut butter whoopie pie recipe (pictured above).
Here’s what's fantastic about the healthy swap alternatives: the Eating Well Whoopie Pie Recipe only has 202 calories, 11 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and no trans fat. Wowzers! Rest assured my friends, just because you're incorporating healthy swaps, it doesn't mean you're downgrading the taste factor.
Also, while we’re on the whoopie pie bandwagon, here’s another healthy gluten and dairy free alternative from elana's pantry. Rather than a peanut butter filling, this one has a scrumptious pumpkin filling. Talk about delish!
Image & Recipe via Desserts with Benefits
Glory! Am I the only one whose mouth is watering right now? Most people are aware of how unhealthy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are, but it doesn’t stop anyone from eating them (me included). However, a new, healthier version has arrived. One serving of two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups typically has 230 calories in total; whereas, one serving of two of these healthy peanut butter cups has 150 calories. That’s only 75 calories per peanut butter cup!
Some of the perks of this healthier version is that it is sugar free (not including the sugar already in the chocolate), low carb, gluten-free, and let’s not forget guilt free. This recipe doesn’t have the excess calories, fat, sugar and strange additives (PGPR) and preservatives (TBHQ) found in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. However, it does still have the rich, sweet, decadent flavors of super creamy peanut butter filling with a mouthwatering chocolate coating! The recipe calls for a milk chocolate coating, but if any of you lovely readers are like me and adore dark chocolate, then you can totally swap the milk chocolate for dark chocolate. It really is whatever suits your fancy.
Image & Recipe via Desserts with Benefits
Nothing says holiday more than a nice cup of hot chocolate. This drink is incredibly rich, sweet, warm and comforting, it tastes like pure sin…you’d never know it’s sugar free, low carb, dairy free and vegan. You all are probably wondering, “How in the world can a drink with Nutella be sugar free, low carb, dairy free and vegan?” Well, here’s the secret…it has homemade Nutella in it!
Anyway, let’s get back to talking about healthy (and yummy) hot chocolate-y goodness! This recipe is superb because it has 280 calories less than the leading Nutella Hot Chocolate. (You could eat almost four healthy peanut butter cups with that amount of calories!) It also has 12 grams less fat and 7.5 grams less saturated fat. The perks of this recipe just keep going.
Eating healthy around the holidays isn’t as bad as it seems. Just remember that at the end of the day (or season), the most important thing we need to remember is that this time of year is supposed to be “the happiest time of year.” Enjoy this season to the fullest—regardless of whether you eat healthy or not. The key takeaway is enjoy Christmas—laugh, shop, and yes, eat delicious foods!
These recipes are a great option to incorporate into your holiday celebrations so that you can enjoy food and not regret it later. So, with that in mind, why not enjoy the holidays with a slice of Healthy Homemade Tiramisu with your loved ones? Or why not cozy up by the fire with a nice hot cup of Healthy Nutella Hot Chocolate and your significant other?
The possibilities of what you can do and how you can enjoy these scrumptious (but healthy) recipes are endless! Comment with your thoughts on these healthy holiday desserts. Be sure to share with your loved ones, too. I mean, the holidays are about giving anyway, right?
A big thank you to Desserts with Benefits, Vegtastic, Girl Makes Food, and Crustabakes for providing the recipes, images, and, most importantly, inspiration for this post. The featured image comes from Local Morsels.