How to Make Healthier Desserts – Learn How to Adapt Your Favorite Recipes!

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How to Make Healthier DessertsThose of you who’ve read my blog for a long time will have noticed that my dessert recipes are few and far between. That’s for the simple reason that, beginning several years ago, our family made a conscious effort to cut down on the amount of sugar in our diets. This includes making healthier desserts. Contrary to popular myth, eating a low sugar diet doesn’t have to be boring.

When you’re working to change your diet and cut down on sugars, it’s perfectly normal to want some sweets. Indulging your sweet tooth doesn’t have to wreck your healthy lifestyle goals. There are several ways to turn your favorite decadent treats into healthier desserts desserts.

Choose healthier sweeteners and fats, plus swap processed ingredients like white flour with healthy lifestyle-friendly alternatives. These dietary changes make it easy for you to reduce calories and put healthier foods in your body while still enjoying your favorite desserts.

Cut Down on the Amount of Sugar in Your Dessert Recipes

Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Muffins

Pictured above: Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Blueberry Muffins

Artificial sweeteners, like Aspartame, offer intense sweetness to recipes and are used in very small amounts. They add very few calories to foods, making them popular options for weight loss. However, due to possible connections to a host of health disorders, including the emerging research that they are harmful to beneficial gut bacteria, I would advise against going the artificial sweetener route.

More health appropriate options for refined sugar substitution are natural liquid sweeteners, like honey, juice, or real maple syrup. These natural sweeteners are better choices for desserts, particularly if you are following the Paleo or Keto diets.

One thing to keep in mind is that most natural sweeteners don’t actually do much to reduce calories. Stevia, on the other hand, is natural and has fewer calories, making it the best choice when you’re on a diet that requires natural ingredients.

I’ve heard some people say they can’t stand the taste of stevia. It is important to remember that less can be more when it comes to stevia. Stevia is very strong and you’ll only need a small fraction of what you would usually use with other natural sweeteners.

Pictured Above: Gluten-Free, Chewy Granola Bars

If your recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar and you want to use honey instead, use three-quarters of a cup plus one tablespoon of honey, as detailed by All Recipes. Then, reduce the other liquids in the recipe by two tablespoons and cut the honey’s acidity by adding a pinch of baking soda to the mix.

If you’re using fruit juice as a sweetener, three-quarters of a cup is the amount you need to replace each cup of sugar. Reduce the other liquid ingredients by 3 tablespoons for this option.

Include a Variety of Healthy Fats

Ditch the vegetable shortening in favor of healthier fats. Coconut oil is considered a heart-healthy dessert ingredient, as is, surprisingly, butter. Coconut oil’s saturated fat is comprised of mainly medium-chain triglycerides that your body is able to use safely and efficiently. If you are absolutely committed to shortening, consider using a non-hydrogenated shortening.

Chocolate Coconut No-Bake Protein Cookies

Pictured Above: Chocolate Coconut Protein Balls

When a recipe calls for vegetable oil, consider using avocado oil. Avocado oil is heart-healthy, has no taste or smell, and is the perfect substitute. I always substitute avocado oil for vegetable oil in recipes.

Cut Out Bleached White Flour for Healthier Desserts

Processed white flour is a common ingredient in traditional baked goods, but there are some healthier replacements for white flour that add a delicious twist to your baked desserts. These include almond flour and oat flour.

Almond flour and oat flour desserts cut the carbohydrates in the recipe, which helps with weight loss, and add fiber. When baking with these flours, watch the consistency of the batter or dough as you stir it. Add an extra egg if it seems a bit stiff. If needed, extend baking time to cut out extra moisture.

Nut-free Reese's Eggs recipe

Pictured above: Nut-Free Reese’s Eggs Copycat (cuts down the sugar and uses heart-healthy oils)

Eating healthfully doesn’t have to mean giving up the foods you enjoy. Substitution and adaptation are the keys to create healthier desserts that taste great.


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.