7 Easy, “Good for You” Dessert Recipes

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Sugary treats and drinks are so prevalent in American society that it’s a real challenge to kick the white stuff, not to mention the high fructose corn syrup stuff. However, that doesn’t mean that we should totally abandon our sweet tooth. After all, how could something that tastes so good be that bad for us? Our palates are conditioned to enjoy sweets because, in nature, sweetness can attract us to some of the healthiest foods, like fruits and berries. The trick is in learning to enjoy sweet foods that are closer to their natural states before all the vitamins and fiber are extracted, and we’re left with just the diabetes and tooth decay. Here are some ideas for desserts that could actually be the healthiest part of the meal.

Note: All nutritional information is for one serving.

Sunday: Giant Fruit Salad

Sunday is a great day to make giant bowls of stuff you can eat all week. I like to make big pots of soup or other big entrées for healthy leftovers throughout the week. Fruit salad is super-easy to make; it’s just a hassle to chop everything. I find it can be a nice Zen-like activity while I’m watching the Sunday news programs or sports. The best fruit salads use fruits that are in season and contain a variety of colors. It’s not just that the colors make for a lovely presentation, but the more colors you have, the bigger range of antioxidants you have. By tossing the fruit in lemon juice, you can prevent the fruit from turning brown, so it will still be appetizing later in the week. You can layer the fruit with yogurt for a delicious parfait, or add some granola or nuts for a little crunch, too.

  • 1 red apple, unpeeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 cup green grapes, seedless
  • 1 cup red grapes, seedless
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, balled
  • 2 cups honeydew, balled
  • 2 cups pineapple, cut up
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice to lightly coat all fruit. Serves 6.

Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes, but it depends on how good a chopper you are!

Nutritional information (per serving):

CaloriesFatCarbsFiberProtein
187<1 gram48 grams6 grams2 grams

Monday: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chocolate is full of great antioxidants and is actually pretty healthy in its unadulterated state. It’s when we add cream, butter, and sugar that it starts to get unhealthy. It may not sound intuitive to add avocado, but it provides a delicious creamy texture, without all the saturated fat of actual cream. The flavor of avocado is usually mild enough that you won’t even taste it with the chocolate, and you get all those heart-smart unsaturated fats with the antioxidants in your chocolate.

  • 2 ounces dark unsweetened chocolate (70% to 85% cacao solids)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar (could substitute maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Microwave chocolate in large mixing bowl until melted. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until smooth. For best results, use a hand mixer or food processor. Serves 2.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

CaloriesFatCarbsFiberProtein
39527 grams39 grams11 grams5 grams

Tuesday: Apple Crisp

What’s as American as apple pie? Well, the obesity rate for starters. Apples are certainly healthy, and apple pie flavorings like cinnamon are also healthy. In fact, some studies have shown that cinnamon may help stabilize blood sugar levels and even lower blood cholesterol. However, once you mix it all up in a shortening-laden crust with a cup or two of sugar, most of the health benefits go right out the window. Try this easy-to-make recipe for an apple crisp, and you’ll get apple pie flavor without getting fat. For extra fiber, don’t peel the apples. You can also experiment with other favorite fruits, like peaches or blueberries, instead of or in addition to the apples.

  • 4 cups apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour, whole wheat (or soy flour)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, organic, from grass-fed dairy cow

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium baking dish, combine apples, maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon. In a separate mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Top mixture in baking dish with mixture from bowl. Bake for about 30 minutes or until apples are soft. Serves 4.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

CaloriesFatCarbsFiberProtein
2006 grams31 grams3 grams3 grams

Wednesday: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

You don’t have to shell out the big bucks at Godiva® to make it a romantic evening with your sweetie. All you need is a microwave (or a double boiler), some dark chocolate (70% to 85% cacao solids), some strawberries, and some love. And if there’s a better way to show your love than with these two great sources of antioxidants, I’d like to hear it. In fact, if you’re single, this is a much better way to love yourself than with that pint of Ben and Jerry’s® (4 servings, ha!)

  • 1 dark chocolate bar (3 oz.), 70% to 85% cacao solids
  • 1 pint large strawberries (about a dozen)

Microwave chocolate in microwave-safe bowl, or melt in double boiler on stove. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip in melted chocolate to lightly coat. Set aside on plate or wax paper to cool. When chocolate has hardened, serve (or if you can’t wait, dip and eat, and call it chocolate fondue!). Serves 2.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

CaloriesFatCarbsFiberProtein
36022 grams36 grams9 grams5 grams

Thursday: Black Bean Brownies

Well, if you didn’t stop reading this article after the chocolate avocado mousse, you may be adventurous enough to try this next recipe. This is super-easy to make and actually delicious. For Christmas one year, my mother found a box of brownie mix of indeterminate origin in her pantry, and we decided to experiment with something we saw on one of the morning shows. Basically, instead of adding eggs and oil to the mix as directed on the box, you food-process a can of black beans (unseasoned, of course) and 1/4 cup of water. Add the mix and bake according to the directions on the box, and voilà! You have delicious chewy brownies—now with more fiber than fat. In fact, we even served them to my finicky nephews who declared them edible until my mom revealed the secret ingredient and ruined Christmas.

  • 1 15-oz. can unseasoned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package brownie mix (12 to 14 oz.—we recommend a healthy one with whole-grain ingredients)

Puree beans and water in food processor or blender. Add beans to brownie mix, and bake according to package instructions. Do not add any other ingredients. Serves 16.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus baking time

Nutritional information (per serving; will vary depending on brownie mix used):

CaloriesFatCarbsFiberProtein
803 grams8 grams2 grams5 grams

Friday: Fruit Kabobs

As fans of Strangers with Candy know, nothing makes a party like hot fruit! Grilling or broiling fruit can make the fruit taste sweeter without adding sugar. It’s easy to prepare and makes for a dramatic presentation. You can experiment with different kinds of fruit, but the best ones are the ones that are a little firm and juicy, like pineapples, apples, and pears; or stone fruits, like peaches, nectarines, plums, and mangoes. You can serve with a spiced yogurt dipping sauce or just a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 2 mangoes
  • 3 nectarines
  • 3 peaches
  • 3 pears
  • 2 apples

Cut all fruit into chunks and thread onto water-soaked bamboo skewers. On hot grill or under the broiler, cook kabobs, turning often for about 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to burn them.

Preparation time: 10 minutes (not counting chopping time)

Nutritional information (per serving):

CaloriesFatCarbsFiberProtein
226<1 gram59 grams9 grams2 grams

Saturday: Chocolate Shakeology® Pie

So we’ve seen some pretty healthy desserts, but could dessert be the Healthiest Meal of the Day®? If it’s made with Shakeology, it could be. The Team Beachbody® Message Boards are full of great recipe ideas. This one was found by juliefit, a Team Beachbody Coach. No one knows where the original recipe came from, but it tastes delicious and gives you a protein punch from the tofu—in addition to the more than 70 healthy ingredients in Shakeology.

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 container silken tofu (12 oz.)
  • 1-1/2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
  • 2 Tbsp. soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar (or maple syrup)
  • 1 whole-grain graham cracker pie crust

Blend or food-process peanut butter, tofu, Shakeology, soy milk, and agave nectar until smooth and creamy, adding more soy milk if necessary. Pour into pie crust, and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour). Serves 6.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 60 minutes in fridge

Nutritional information (per serving):

CaloriesFatCarbsFiberProtein
30717 grams19 grams3 grams13 grams

Of course, you should feel free to eat any of these desserts on any day of the week. And repeat your favorites. Most of these can be integrated into your favorite Beachbody meal plan. If you missed parts one through four of the series, see the Related Articles section below. Bon appétit!

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