Everyone wants to eat clean and stay healthy, especially during the summertime, but that’s a lot easier said than done. Driving by ice cream stores, seeing commercials for McFlurries on TV, and watching your friends dive into fried Oreo's, make it impossible not to want to indulge your sweet tooth. 

However, it's these delicious desserts that are our downfall - full of ingredients responsible for that annoying body fat we wish we didn’t have. Thankfully, I’ve stumbled upon some of the best guilt-free desserts and snacks that let you enjoy all the richness of your favorite desserts without any of the guilt and empty calories. Here they are!

Brazi-Bites

Gabriela Blanco

Pão de Queijo…pao de what? Small baked balls made from the yucca root stuffed with cheese and a favorite snack of Brazil. Put simply, it’s Brazilian cheese bread, and it’s delicious. I had it one Thanksgiving with my mom’s friend’s family in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazi Bites started in 2009 out of the founder’s longing for pão de Queijo after moving to Portland from her home in Brazil. They’re perfect for a snack or dessert, coming in sweet and savory flavors like cheddar-parmesean, garlic asiago, 3 cheese pizza, and cinnamon churro. Even better, they’re only 140 calories per serving and free of soy, gluten, and artificial ingredients.

I got to try the cinnamon churro flavor after a long night out with friends and they were the perfect sweet treat just before bed. Cheesy, sweet, and airy, they reminded me exactly of pão de Queijo I had in Rio. They bake quickly in any oven and Brazi Bites’ website posts several recipe ideas using their products so you can eat them in even more exciting ways.

Cappello’s

Gabriela Blanco
Gabriela Blanco
Gabriela Blanco

For a less-exotic-but-equally-delicious dessert, Cappello’s sells ready-made cookie dough for when you’re craving cookies but want to stay on that health grind. Available in two classic flavors of chocolate chip (130 calories per cookie) and double chocolate (130 calories per cookie), their dough is gluten free, vegan, and grain free. Ready in ten minutes in the oven, these cookies hit the spot just like any Nestle Toll House dough. Crunchy on the outside and full of yummy chocolate goo on the inside, I’d even say they were better than the usual pre-made dough that can get flimsy and chewy if not baked right. I’m not ashamed to say I ate almost half a log’s worth of cookies in one sitting because hey, they’re healthy!

Spoon Tip: Cappello’s also offers paleo, gluten free, and grain free pastas made from almond flour. I tried their fettucine and mixed it with pesto, eggplant, peppers, and prosciutto, and it will probably stand as one of my life’s best accomplishments from how amazing and guiltless it tasted.

FatSnax

Gabriela Blanco

While Cappello’s gives you great cookie dough, FatSnax offers already made cookies for when you don’t have time to bake but still want something sweet. Another healthy dessert and snack, FatSnax cookies are made with almond flour, butter, and coconut flour to keep them keto friendly, sugar free, and low carb.

I got to sample their chocolate chip, peanut butter, lemony lemon, and double chocolate chip flavors each day after class to boost my mood before having to do my dreaded chemistry homework. I was surprised by how similar they tasted to any regular unhealthy cookie. They were rich, chewy, and delivered on the flavors they promised, crushing all my previous expectations of a bland cardboard-like cookie. I didn’t think a cookie that tasted so good and was simultaneously so good for me existed, but thanks to FatSnax now I know it does. And whether you believe me or not, you have to go try them for yourself.

Life’s Grape

Gabriela Blanco
Gabriela Blanco

Life’s Grape is a line of vine-dried Selma Pete grapes (from California) that are a perfect dried fruit snack or addition to any fruity dessert recipe. Besides being 100% natural, Life’s Grape’s grapes are free of gluten, sodium, cholesterol, fat, GMO, and added sugars.

Now you’re probably thinking, isn’t this just some kind of fancy raisin? I’ll admit, I thought the same thing at first. But NO! Life’s Grape’s vine-dried grapes are dry but juicy and plump, sweet but not cloying, and totally unlike your typical bland, chewy, tastes-like-old-gum raisins.

Even better, Life’s Grape offers a dark-chocolate dipped version of their classic flavor, making for an even more delicious, exciting snack. I had a handful of the classic grapes whenever I was got hungry at home and each time it got harder for me not to eat ten more handfuls.

Base Culture

Gabriela Blanco

Now on to Base Culture, a line of paleo, kosher, grain free, dairy free, and gluten free desserts that prove you can indulge healthily without having to sacrifice any decadent flavor. I got to sample their brownies (raspberry cocoa, cashew butter, and almond butter flavors) and chocolate espresso almond butter. Ironically, I found the brownies to be a filling, delicious, and fueling pre-workout snack, with a fluffy texture and buttery  flavor. Meanwhile, the almond butter tasted great as a spread on toast or a rice cracker topped with fresh berries for a simple after-dinner treat. Who would’ve thought that they key to staying in shape could be dessert?!

ONE Bar

Gabriela Blanco

Now if all those descriptions weren’t enough to make your mouth water, I bring you ONE Brands’ ONE Bars, a perfect bar for a post midday snack or after dinner dessert. They’re practically begging to be eaten with 20 grams of protein, only one gram of sugar per bar, and high-quality gluten free ingredients. I tried six of their most popular flavors: dark chocolate sea salt, salted caramel, chocolate brownie, cookies & crème, chocolate chip cookie dough, and peanut butter cup, their newest flavor.

The dark chocolate sea salt and chocolate brownie were extra chocolatey without being overly sweet, and the cookie dough and cookies & crème made me feel like I was eating Oreo’s and Chips Ahoy in bar form. All of them had a chewy, gooey inside like any normal protein bar. But, they had a slightly crunchy exterior from a coating of white, dark, or milk chocolate (depending on the flavor) to give them an exciting texture and ensure that each bite doesn’t take twenty minutes to chew.

Love Good Fats

Gabriela Blanco

Another perfect snack bar comes from Love Good Fats, a company that packs their products with healthy sources of fat such as nut butters, coconut oil, dark chocolate, and other healthy fats. Their snack bars are low in sugar (1-2 grams per bar) and have 8 grams of protein. I had their plant-based varieties (chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter & jelly). Though small, these snack bars were gooey, rich, chewy, and full of natural flavor. I had them before my hot yoga classes and they kept me full and energized throughout my downward dogs. Even better, since they're packed with GOOD fats, I felt no shame in finishing them as fast as I did.

Lenny and Larry's

Gabriela Blanco

Last but not least, and I don't mean to be dramatic, but Lenny and Larry's Complete Crunchy Cookies are probably my favorite of these guiltless desserts. They're packed with 20g of plant-based protein and are dairy free, vegan and non-GMO, but the best part is that they don't taste like that at all. These cookies are thin, crispy, crunchy and decadent, the perfect end to a meal in any of their four available flavors (chocolate chip, double chocolate, cinnamon sugar, and coconut). The four whole bags I had in my pantry were gone in a week, so I guess it's safe to say I developed a cookie addiction. 

All in all, I can guarantee that these brands’ products are delicious, nutritious alternatives to your favorite snacks and desserts. If you want to treat yourself and keep your summer body, go try them out!