It all started innocently enough. A late night sugar craving had me scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration, whereupon I discovered a recipe for edible chickpea cookie dough on a healthy desserts board. Intrigued, I clicked, and reading the ingredients exclaimed, "you could have this for dinner, it's so good for you!"


From there, a great idea was born, an idea for all ages. From avocado mousse to zucchini chocolate bread, health nuts have found ways to sneak veggies into everything. Would it therefore be possible to eat only healthy desserts and maintain a nutritious diet? I decided to give it a shot and see if I could survive for a week having all my meals in dessert form. 

Disclaimer: All the following recipes are free from refined sugar and instead call for natural sweeteners such as dates or maple syrup. I was still nervous about my sugar intake and often reduced these amounts or replaced them with pure stevia. 

Day 1

cookie, sweet, candy, cream, cake, chocolate
Emily Fluet

I bounded out of bed at the crack of dawn. Never have I been more excited for a day of meals in my life. I seemed to run into all of my friends in the grocery store and excitedly told them my plan as I stocked up on cocoa powder, canned pumpkin, and beets. Reactions were mixed: some were envious, most dubious, and a few disgusted. Undeterred by the naysayers, I turned to prepping for the week.

Breakfast: "Dessert pizza" with a paleo sweet potato almond flour crust adapted from here, topped with banana, tahini, and stevia-sweetened chocolate chips.

Lunch: Paleo carrot cake and chickpea blondies.

Dinner: Butter bean cookie batter and more carrot cake.

Day 2

berry, blueberry, relish, cake, chocolate, cream, sweet
Emily Fluet

Today was a day of extremes—some incredible successes and a spectacular fail. In my research, I found The Unconventional Baker, who uses vegetables more adventurously than your typical pumpkin pie. Today I tried the first of them, a strawberry parsnip ice cream cake that even my flatmate said was good. Trust me, if a 21-year-old guy likes your healthy food, you know you're doing something right. Beet cashew cheesecake, on the other hand, was an epic failure. Definitely NOT a "secret" ingredient cheesecake as advertised, for the flavour was pure beetroot.

Breakfast: Strawberry parsnip ice cream cake.

Lunch: Black bean chocolate protein balls with chickpea blondies and more of the ice cream cake.

Dinner: Chickpea freezer cookie dough fudge, avocado mousse, and cauliflower rice pudding.

Day 3

mocha, tea, milk, cappuccino, espresso, coffee
Emily Fluet

When I was eight years old, my Brownie Scouts troop went to an ice cream store that boasted having the largest add-your-own-toppings bar in New England. I ordered an extra large chocolate ice cream with every single chocolate topping they had and finished it all.

I tell you this to illustrate that I am no dessert noob—rather a sweet tooth fanatic, a marathon cannoli eater, a connoisseur of all that is cocoa. I thought that eating only healthy desserts would be a piece of cake. Yet by the end of the day, the cracks were already beginning to show. Everything I'd had was delicious, but I went to bed dreaming of chicken, broccoli, olives, and anything as long as it had garlic or salt. 

Breakfast: Paleo pumpkin pie pudding and black bean protein balls.

Lunch: Chickpea chocolate chip cookie dough and paleo carrot cake.

Dinner: Chocolate eggplant torte and black bean brownie hummus.

Day 4

peanut butter
Emily Fluet

Willpower was running low, particularly after the failure of cauliflower ice cream cake for breakfast. While the taste was good, it smelt far too strongly of cauliflower to be enjoyable. Yet I was resolved to make it through the week and so reverted to two of my favourite foods for lunch and dinner in order to power through— "nice" cream and polenta (albeit in sweet rather than the typical savoury form to which I'm accustomed). 

Breakfast: Black cherry coconut cauliflower ice cream cake.

Lunch: The healthiest brownie sundae ever created: paleo pumpkin "nice" cream and a black bean brownie, topped with this hot fudge (its so good I could drink it straight up).

Dinner: Apples and sultana baked polenta pudding and leftover strawberry parsnip ice cream cake.

Day 5

coconut, chocolate
Emily Fluet

Today reminded me of why I decided to do this crazy thing in the first place—cannot recommend enough every one of these recipes. They served as the perfect way to renew my motivation for my week of healthy desserts. By the end of the day, I felt like I could continue this dessert mania indefinitely.

Breakfast: Pumpkin oat chocolate chip muffin topped with a cashew-banana-avocado chocolate frosting I whipped up.

Lunch: Paleo sweet potato rolls filled with more of the frosting and topped with the remainder of the hot fudge, along with leftover carrot cake and strawberry parsnip ice cream cake. 

Dinner: Berries and cream polenta porridge and avocado truffles.

Day 6

Emily Fluet

Spoke too soon. On the sixth day, she cracked. A friend came over to watch Taken, and the popcorn/action flick combo was too much to resist. Absolute nightmare. However, I decided to chalk up the moment of weakness to disappointment over the epic failures that were my attempts to use cauliflower in cheesecake and frosting (don't try this at home folks). I have to tell you, popcorn never tasted so good.

Breakfast: Butternut Squash Muffins.

Lunch: Black bean brownie hummus and avocado truffles.

Dinner: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies and Beet Brownies.

Day 7

coffee, tea
Emily Fluet

ONE MORE DAY OF FREEDOM. The salami was calling my name. I could barely contain my excitement at the grocery store as I stocked up on pesto, turkey, and onions, yet I was also rather sad to be ending my week of dessert experimentation. 

Breakfast: Paleo Sweet Potato Apple Bake.

Lunch: Sweet Potato Avocado Brownies with nice cream and hot fudge.

Dinner: Butternut Coconut Polenta Pudding.

What I learned

goody, fudge, pastry, coffee, brownie, cake, candy, cream, sweet, chocolate
Abby Wang

It really is possible to get sick of chocolate. That sweet potato is a wonder veg in desserts. That no amount of maple syrup or cocoa can mask the smell of cauliflower. And that I really missed chicken.

Would I do this again? Probably not—savoury foods are just far too good to ignore. Plus, while the recipes did have a medley of vegetables, they lacked in leafy greens, and I found myself eating a lot of black bean brownies in order to get enough protein. Yet I doubt very many people want to eat only desserts 24/7 even if they're good for you, and so the lack of variety from these recipes won't be a problem if you're simply incorporating them every week or even every day.

Many of the recipes above tasted just as delicious as their sugar-butter-flour laden counterparts. So if you can have desserts for dinner (or breakfast or lunch) that both taste good and are good for you, why not? You really can have your cake and eat it too!