I'll admit it, I have a crazy sweet tooth. I am never satisfied unless I end my day with a little something sweet. And while I do believe that a healthy lifestyle is all about moderation and it is perfectly okay to indulge every once in awhile, it's probably not the best idea to have ice cream and cookies EVERY night for the sake of my sweet tooth. For that reason, I have compiled a list of healthy ingredient swaps to make ANY dessert healthier. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom too, there will be a whole list of healthy dessert recipes!
Swap #1 - Replace the Butter (or oil)!
There's a reason desserts taste so good, most desserts have a decent amount of butter and/or oil to make them nice and rich. However, in many cases the amount of butter and oil can be drastically reduced and replaced with healthier alternatives such as:
- Mashed avocado
- Mashed banana
- Pureed pumpkin
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Fat-free or reduced-fat greek yogurt
- silken tofu
Try replacing half the amount of butter or oil in your normal recipe with one of these swaps. If it turns out well, try swapping even more!
Swap #2 - Full-fat Dairy
This is a pretty easy swap; replace the full fat dairy in your favorite dessert recipe with it's low-fat or even fat-free counterpart. Chances are, you won't even notice the difference. You can even try dairy free substitutions as well!
Swap #3 - Sugar
Desserts are inherently sweet so of course they have sugar, but there are a few tricks that can help you reduce the amount of sugar you need.
- Add spices & extracts (cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne?, vanilla) - by adding a little spice you can reduce the amount of sugar used because your dessert will have so much flavor already!
- Cut sugar by 25% - most recipes have way more sugar than they actually need. Try cutting out 25% of what the recipe calls for, you probably won't even notice
- Use fruit puree - fruits are sweet by nature and by using their natural sweetness in place of sugar, you can add fiber while reducing calories
- Sugar substitutes - if you don't mind using sugar substitutes, they can drastically reduce the amount of sugar and calories in recipes. In addition, they are usually 2x sweeter than traditional sugar so you can use much less.
Swap #4 - Eggs
While I wouldn't consider eggs unhealthy by any means, they do contain fats and cholesterol that can easily be cut out and make your recipes healthier! Not to mention, by cutting out eggs with some of these swaps, you can potentially make a recipe vegan friendly! So instead of whole eggs try these:
- Egg Whites - while these aren't vegan, by using egg whites instead of the whole egg, you can cut the fat and cholesterol out completely.
- Chia Seeds - combining 1 tbs chia seeds with 3 tbs water left to sit for 15 minutes yields the perfect 1-to-1 egg substitute for baking
- Flax Meal - mix 1 tbs round flax seeds with 3 tbs warm water. Let it sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes and then use in place of 1 egg in any recipe!
I hope you found some of these tips helpful and you give them a try! Just don't try all of them at once, you may not like the result ;) If you're a little nervous about messing with your own recipes, try some of the healthy dessert recipes below! Just click on any of the pictures and they should take you to the recipe. Enjoy :)