Giving up dessert for Lent seems to be a popular trend, so this year I joined in on the fun. Even in the pursuit of a eating a healthier diet and limiting dessert, we often still need a little pick-me-up at the end of a long day.
Check out these healthy dessert recipes that use fruit to satisfy your insatiable sweet tooth. They'll feel indulgent without hampering your nutrition goals.
One of the biggest trends in vegan and healthy desserts is the smoothie bowl made with "nice cream". These bowls are often referred to as nice cream because of their low-fat, nutrient-rich ingredients that are nicer to your body than ice cream. Although high in sugar, smoothie bowls contain all-natural sugars, along with the fiber and vitamins found in fruit.
Try whipping up a banana, ice, coconut milk, strawberry, and blueberry smoothie bowl yourself. Any fresh or frozen fruit you have lying around will do. Bananas are the key to making this dessert taste like ice cream because of their thick and creamy consistency.
If you are feeling adventurous, top it off with some honey, granola, and more tasty fruits. You won't even feel like you're dessert-deprived because of how delicious this healthy treat tastes.
If you don't have time to make a whole smoothie bowl, consider buying frozen fruit from your local grocery store. Keep it in the freezer and defrost for 2-3 minutes before eating. You can just pop a piece in your mouth to suck on or chew for a tasty alternative to artificially-sweetened, sugary popsicles.
My favorite frozen fruit combination is mango and strawberries. Drizzle some melted almond butter on top for added nutritional value and flavor.
There are so many varieties of yogurt that can easily be made to taste like a dessert. You can freeze it, mix plain yogurt with different flavor extracts, or add lots of healthy toppings.
Freezing yogurt makes it taste like (you guessed it) your favorite frozen yogurt, which is a perfect night time treat. Add a teaspoon of your favorite extracts (vanilla, peppermint, or orange), and stir it into plain yogurt to create exciting new flavors with no additional sugar. This is a great trick for those looking to limit added sugars in their diets.
The best healthy toppings are fruit or granola, but be mindful of choosing low-sugar granola for optimal nutritional benefits. Get creative and top it off with lemon or orange zest and some of the juice to make it fresh and citrusy.
It's easy to get sick of eating the same old boring apple or frozen mango. Most grocery stores have ample varieties of dried fruit to snack on like apricots, banana chips, or even raspberries. Beware of portion control here because dried fruit can pack the added sugar.
A really cool and inventive way to eat dried fruit is with nuts or nut butters drizzled on top. My favorite recipe is a few dried dates mashed up in a bowl topped with banana chips and drizzled warm almond butter. Maybe even sprinkle some cocoa powder on top for additional chocolatey flavor.
The point of giving up dessert isn't to stop treating yourself every now and then. These healthy dessert recipes can be adapted based on your favorite flavors and fruit. Get creative, and you won't even miss the unhealthy desserts you once craved.