If you’re trying to lose weight, and have been avoiding desserts, I have good news: go ahead and eat that sweet treat! If you’re smart about your dessert choices, there is no reason you can’t indulge. Deprivation is not sustainable, if you deny yourself sweets for too long you set yourself up for an eventual sugar-fueled binge. Indulging in portion-controlled dessert servings will help you feel satisfied while maintaining your weight loss.
Here are seven treats that fit the bill, letting you enjoy a sweet dessert without ruining your diet.
1. Cherry Pie Tartlets
Mini phyllo dough cups take the place of traditional pie crust, lightening up the base of this dessert and saving you a bunch of calories. Sugar is kept to a minimum, letting the sweet taste of the cherries take center stage. Slivered almonds add a nutty flavor to the base of the tartlet, while providing some healthy fat at the same time. It is the perfect treat for a picnic, brunch or dinner party. Recipe by Sara Haas.
2. Avocado Ice Cream
While it’s not technically ice cream season, avocados are available all year round and make for a frozen dessert full of nutrients. This recipe cuts the sugar and saturated fat found in ice cream, creating a frozen treat full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy unsaturated fat. Bonus: no ice cream maker required! This recipe is dairy-free, but you can substitute regular milk for a more authentic ice cream flavor and a few extra grams of protein. Recipe via Spright.com
3. Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is usually full of sugar, fat and calories, making it a diet disaster. This lightened-up recipe clocks in at just 80 calories per serving, making for a great, guilt-free way to enjoy pumpkin this fall. Top with a tablespoon of peanut of almond butter and pair with a Greek yogurt for a perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack. Recipe by Lauren Harris-Pincus.
4. Homemade Larabars with Chocolate Frosting
Craving chocolate? This recipe is for you. Dates and coconut give natural sweetness without chocolate, while the nuts and seeds in the bars provide a bunch of fiber to keep you full. Try substituting different nuts, seeds or nut butters for variations on the recipe. It's perfect for a snack or dessert; you can even roll into balls to create an energy bite instead. Recipe by HappyHealthyRD.
5. Banana Almond Butter Cups
This simple dessert blends together the natural sugar of bananas with almond butter for protein and cacoa powder for a hint of sweetness. The result is a dessert or snack containing healthy fats, protein and fiber with no added sugar. A simple, quick treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, stick to two cups per serving. Recipe by Dixya.
6. Mango-Mint Frozen Yogurt
Take your daily fruit serving up a notch with this frozen dessert. It features ripe mangos and adds Greek yogurt, pumping up the protein content while giving it a thick and creamy texture. Mango is a great source of vitamin C, with 1 cup providing 100% of your daily needs. This version adds just a touch of sugar, letting the sweetness of the mango stand on it's own. If you’re not crazy about mint, feel free to leave it out. Recipe by Christy Wilson.
7. Mini Apple Tarts
By shrinking apple pie into a bite-sized tart, you get the taste of your favorite fall dessert without all the calories. The shortbread crust is lighted up, with less sugar and fat than your typical apple pie crust. You can make the tart shells the day before, just refrigerate until you are ready to fill with the apple mixture. Recipe by The Nutty Nutritionist.
Desserts don't have to be off limits when you are trying to lose weight. Choose recipes that offer some protein and fiber, with natural sugar from fresh or dried fruits. Stick to less-frequent, reasonable portions, and you can have your cake and eat it too! For more diet-friendly desserts, check out these 7 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts and 10 Healthy Pecan Dessert Recipes.