How to Make Satisfying Sugar-Free Desserts

Many sugar cravings stem purely from habit — the more sugar you eat, the more you want. When you eat dessert every day, you continue to want dessert every day. Don’t make after-dinner sweets an everyday habit.

Reserve the heavy-sugar desserts for very special occasions, if at all. Having something sweet after a meal doesn’t mean that you have to cram a thousand calories after dinner. There are plenty of sensible ways to indulge your sweet tooth.

You can teach yourself to be content with just a few small bites of something that is sweet and pleasurable but that doesn’t have added sugar. Try one of these alternatives:

  • A few bites of chilled mango

  • One piece of sugar-free chocolate topped with pistachio and sea salt

  • Three bite-sized pieces of banana topped with almond butter

  • Two strawberries

Applesauce Cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 8–10 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

2 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice concentrate

2 cups unsweetened granola

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, coconut, and nutmeg.

  3. Add the eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, and apple juice concentrate. Beat well.

  4. Stir in the granola.

  5. Drop the batter by teaspoons onto the cookie sheet.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookie bottoms are brown and the centers are firm.

  7. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and allow cookies to rest on the sheet for 1 minute. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Per serving: Calories 53 (From Fat 21); Fat 2.5g (Saturated 0.5g); Cholesterol 8mg; Sodium 11mg; Carbohydrate 7g (Dietary Fiber 0.5g); Protein 1.5g.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

2-1/2 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

2 mashed bananas

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, flour, and cinnamon.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed bananas, peanut butter, soy milk, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix well.

  4. Combine the banana mixture and the oat mixture and mix well.

  5. Drop the batter by teaspoons onto the cookie sheet.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, until firm. Be careful not to let the edges burn.

  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to wire racks to cool.

Per serving: Calories 49 (From Fat 21); Fat 2.5g (Saturated 0.5g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 17mg; Carbohydrate 6g (Dietary Fiber 0.5g); Protein 1g.

Sugar-Free Brownies

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

1 tablespoon butter (to grease pan)

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 egg white

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 mashed banana

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the inside of a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with butter.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder.

  3. Add the apple juice concentrate, oil, egg, walnuts, and banana. Mix well.

  4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

  5. 5Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes in the pan before cutting. Serve warm.

Per serving: Calories 139 (From Fat 68); Fat 8g (Saturated 1.5g); Cholesterol 2.5mg; Sodium 18mg; Carbohydrate 17g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 2.5g.

Zucchini Muffins

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 18 muffins

1-1/2 cups grated zucchini, patted dry

1-1/2 cups rolled oats

1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 egg whites

1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice concentrate

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

2 tablespoons flax meal

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, oats, flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the honey, applesauce, pineapple, cranberries, vanilla extract, egg whites, and pineapple juice concentrate.

  4. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture, stirring only until combined — don’t whip.

  5. Apportion 18 muffins into muffin pans lined with muffin papers.

  6. In a small bowl, mix the pecans and flax meal. Top each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon of the nut-and-flax mix.

  7. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Per serving: Calories 123 (From Fat 18); Fat 2g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 148mg; Carbohydrate 25g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 3g.

Frozen Strawberry Banana Treat

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

1/4 cup skim milk

1/2 frozen banana

3 large strawberries, cored

1 scoop whey protein powder

2 ice cubes

1/2 apple, any variety

  1. Place the milk, banana, strawberries, whey protein, and ice cubes in a food processor and blend until smooth and whipped.

  2. Core the apple and chop it into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in serving bowl.

  3. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the frozen treat onto the apple pieces and enjoy.

Per serving: Calories 275 (From Fat 20); Fat 2g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 51mg; Sodium 68mg; Carbohydrate 46g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 22g.

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