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6 Light Desserts to kick start a healthier year

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier this year? 

It is about time, my friend! Don’t postpone your health any further!  It is time to take action and not only think about it and feel bad for not doing what you know you should be doing, which is to eat better and exercise more.

Now, no one is telling you to quit desserts. You would probably not stick to it anyway, right? 

The truth is, some of the healthiest ingredients can be used to make delicious desserts. There are many ways to enjoy the New Year without having to worry about your waistline or health. What’s better than being able to indulge ourselves in our favorite sweet treats during the holiday without worrying too much? 

To help you out with this, I’m giving you great light dessert options that will allow you to indulge sweets without breaking your resolution. 

Imagine this: these recipes use ingredients like black beans and spinach. Some of them look downright decadent and still have fewer than 200 calories per serving. You will be amazed that something so healthy can look and taste as good!

Let’s go and start the year right!

Black Bean Brownies

Total Time:

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Servings:1 dozen

1 brownie:

167 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 53mg cholesterol,

131mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 2g fiber),

4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat.

Ingredients:

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 large eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

Method:

Place the beans, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, and oil in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Add eggs, brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder, and salt; cover and process until smooth.

Transfer to a parchment-lined 8-in. square baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Hazelnut Almond Biscotti

The crunch of biscotti cookies is a perfect way to enjoy coffee. Crispy, crunchy, and delicious, give them a try! I love to dunk them in my coffee. My family also loves these biscotti cookies. They are gluten-free so everyone can enjoy them. We were craving brownies one night, but I wanted to make a cakelike dessert instead. We really loved these peanut butter chocolate chip treats!

Total Time:

Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling

Servings: About 2 dozens

1 biscotti:

89 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 16mg cholesterol,

57mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 1g fiber),

2g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and extracts until well-blended. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into egg mixture. Stir in nuts (mixture will be stiff).

Divide dough in half. Using lightly floured hands, shape each portion into a 9×2-inch rectangle on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Cool on pans on wire racks until firm. Reduce oven setting to 325°. Transfer baked rectangles to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 3/4-in. slices. Place on baking sheets, cut side down.

Bake until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes per side. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Blondies

Gluten-free blondies are the latest craze in the gluten-free community. These brownie-like treats were originally a gluten-laden recipe, but they were converted to be gluten-free so that more people could enjoy them. I made these for my family because we have a serious chocolate chip cookie addiction, and these hit the spot!

Total Time:

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Servings: 16 

1 bar:

176 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 26mg cholesterol,

142mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 2g fiber),

5g protein.

Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1-1/2 fat.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking flour

1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Method:

In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugars, and applesauce. Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt; gradually add to peanut butter mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts.

Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Carrot Cookie Bites

This recipe is a family favorite. It’s easy to make, delicious, and has a mouth-watering smell while it bakes. Everyone who tastes it wants the recipe.

Total Time:

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 10 min./batch

Servings: 7 dozens

1 cookie:

50 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol,

24mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 0 fiber),

1g protein. Diabetic exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cloves; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the oats, carrots, and pecans.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Freeze option: Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze until firm. Transfer cookie dough balls to resealable freezer containers; seal tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, place frozen dough 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Low-Fat Peanut Butter Cookies

If you’re trying to watch your weight, you’re going to love this cookie recipe. I used to make it all the time for my family when I wanted something really healthy.

Total Time:

Prep: 15 min. + freezing Bake: 10 min. + cooling

Servings: About 2 dozens

1 cookie:

66 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol,

49mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 0 fiber),

1g protein.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons reduced-fat peanut butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

Method:

In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg white; beat until blended. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into an 8-in. roll; wrap in plastic. Freeze for 2 hours or until firm.

Unwrap and cut into slices, just over 1/4 in. thick. Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray; press with a fork to make a crisscross pattern. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes for chewy cookies or 8-10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool for 1-2 minutes before removing to wire racks; cool completely.

Light Strawberry Pie

This delectable strawberry pie is a hit with everyone. The best part is that it’s a low-sugar experience that you won’t feel bad about eating.

Prep time: 25 minutes 

Servings: 8

1 piece:

159 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 172mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 2g fiber), 2g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1/2 fat.

Ingredients:

1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple

1 package (8 ounces) sugar-free cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix

1 package (3 ounces) sugar-free strawberry gelatin

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust (9 inches)

1/2 cup reduced-fat whipped topping

Method:

1. Reserve the juice from the pineapple and add enough water to make 1-1/2 cups. Pour into a saucepan and whisk in the gelatin. Bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. 

2. Stir in the chopped strawberries. Pour into the crust and chill until set, about 4 hours or overnight.

Eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. Hope my selection of favorite healthy, tasty meals helps you kick out your new year correctly and as you want.

Quick question! Is anyone determined to make healthy changes for the new year after reading this article?  Let me know in the comments below.  

Get free recipe books with delicious healthy desserts and cakes, here!

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