Oh, the sweet aroma of vanilla, the melt-in-your-mouth buttery heaven that is pie crust, the rapture of salted caramel ice cream... and chocolate, how could we forget about chocolate? There's nothing not to love about dessert, except maybe one thing: its health profile. Since many desserts are high in calories, saturated fats, and sugary carbs and low in nutritious properties, if you have any health issues like diabetes or high cholesterol, or even if you want to take preventative measures, you're at a crossroads. Do you go forget about health and opt for a blissful slice of cheesecake, or do you prioritize your health and go to bed hoping to dream of dessert instead?
To make sure you never have to face such a difficult decision, we rounded up ten low-cal, low-carb dessert recipes that also deliver important nutrients like fiber and protein so you can savor your favorite treats without the guilt. Not only are they super easy to make, but they're also a lot healthier than they look and taste, which is ideal for a true sweet tooth. Click through below to take your pick between baked doughnuts, a light mousse, no-bake carrot cake, and cinnamon roasted nuts, to name a few (or have a bake-athon, and make all ten).
Which low-cal and low-carb dessert recipes are you most excited to try? Let us know how they taste in the comment section.
Oatmeal Confetti Cupcakes
This recipe from Food Faith Fitness includes all the fun you know and love about confetti cake batter, only it's made with gluten-free oats and packs in a little extra protein. The icing is composed of Greek yogurt and protein powder while the base is made with one egg yolk, rolled oats, vanilla almond milk, Greek yogurt, plus a few spices, and most importantly, rainbow sprinkles.
Healthy Caramel Apples
This healthy dessert recipe from Half Baked Harvest is beyond heavenly and seasonally on point. She includes six different caramel-inspired dip recipes. The caramel base is made of dates, coconut milk, and vanilla extract, and then take your pick between the salted rice crispy treat with a chocolate drizzle, toasted chocolate coconut pecans, chocolate covered pretzel, toasted almond cacao, chocolate peanut butter, and Nutella hazelnut latte, or enjoy them all.
Frosted Raw Carrot Cake
This vegan take on carrot cake is tangy, zesty, and totally raw, which makes it pretty simple to make, and it's healthy enough to eat for breakfast. It's the perfect thing to make this fall since it features warm spices with vanilla flavors folded in. This recipe from The First Mess also happens to be perfect for anyone who lives for frosting since the cake to icing ratio is 1:1. Since it calls for dates, there is a lot of sugar in it, but it's a more nutritious option than your classic slice of carrot cake.
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
This cinnamon snack is almost too good to be true. Almonds are an amazing source of amino acids, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E, and this recipe from Mitzy at Home makes them even more enjoyable to eat.
Keep them all to yourself, or package them like this and give them to friends and family as a homemade gift.
Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
In the words of the recipe maker, Minimalist Baker, these peanut butter cup cookies are "undetectably vegan and gluten-free," which is sweet, sweet news if you love dessert in all its decadent glory. And speaking of which, these cookies are easily the most decadent. That being said, they're still a healthier alternative to a recipe that calls for conventional ingredients that are higher in saturated fats. Plus, it's okay to indulge every once in a while, so go ahead, and grab that cookie.
Mango Energy Bites
When you're in the mood for something healthy, quick, and easy to make, and tasty (who wouldn't be?) this recipe from Minimalist Baker is your best bet. It only calls for six ingredients: nuts, dried mango, dates, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, and lime. These little bite-size balls of energy strike the perfect balance between sweet and tart and healthy and delicious. And the sugars all come from natural sources so you'll get a nice blast of fiber and protein without a sugar crash later on.
Gluten-Free Maple Doughnuts
As someone who would eat bottomless doughnuts every day if they weren't so unhealthy, I was stoked to stumble upon this recipe from The First Mess. And one of these vegan and gluten-free maple doughnuts is satisfying enough to hit the spot. Topped with a salted almond butter glaze, the flavors and textures are balanced perfectly. Oh, and they're baked, not fried!
Paleo Pumpkin Cake Bars
These Paleo and gluten-free hazelnut pumpkin cake bars are here just in time for fall, and they're only 110 calories each. They're also easy to make and even better, they're loaded with chocolate. So if you have a major sweet tooth and super-healthy snacks just aren't going to cut it, opt for this recipe from Food Faith Fitness instead.
Strawberry Mousse Pie
Talk about drool-worthy. This strawberry mousse pie recipe from Low Carb Yum is officially on our must-try list. And lucky for us, it's a gluten-free and low-carb option that tastes just as decadent as the classic dessert. It's sweet, light, fluffy, and satisfying.
Dark and Stormy Popsicles
Boozy and refreshing, these popsicles give happy hour a whole new meaning. Made with lime juice, ginger beer, homemade ginger syrup, dark rum, and water, you'll love this light dessert recipe if a Dark and Stormy is your go-to drink order.