Healthy Sweetness: a Dessert Directory

In the last month of quarantine, I have upped my game in terms of trying out new dinner dishes, and making extravagantly time-consuming salads at lunchtime. While eating almost entirely homemade dishes and going out less frequently, I've noticed I'm not having as many sweets. I'm no longer in workplace situations where cookies lay invitingly on the break room table, and less often in line at the grocery store where I might toss a package of peanut butter cups on the conveyor belt at the last moment. Miraculously, my normally-powerful sweet tooth has quieted down for once.

That's all well and good, but with the prospect of another month or more of lockdown, I thought it would be apt to sprinkle some healthy treats into the cooking-from-home recipe rotation. So, here I've compiled an impractically long list of desserts I'd like to make. Whether you are hoping to add sweetness to your life or satisfy cravings with healthier substitutes, there will be something in this post for you. I've got:

- cookies,

- breads, cakes, and crisps,

- brownies, blondies, & fruit bars,

- muffins & scones,

- puddings & ice creams,

in that order, so scroll down and you will find what you need.

What makes a dessert "healthier"?

To answer this question, let's take a look at why it's not recommended to eat cake for every meal: simply put, [[sugars+certain oils] - [fiber+vitamins+minerals]] = Inflammation. I'm planning a whole series on inflammation and how it affects the body as a whole, but meanwhile the bottom line is: inflammation makes your body work harder to keep itself healthy, and over time, working to a counter-productive degree.

Now that question's been answered, we can answer the first one: a dessert can be healthier (aka - easier for your body to process) when it incorporates fiber, vitamins, and minerals; tones down the sugar, and uses the right oils. I collected recipes which are higher in the nutrients that protect the systems by which sugar is broken down and stored in the body, namely Zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, and vitamin C.

I also chose to collect only gluten-free recipes, partially for the potential health benefits (to be discussed in future posts and videos!) but also because I enjoy the variety in flavors and textures, and the added cooking challenge. That being said, don't let the ingredient list stop you if you can't make it to the store in time. Use whichever flour you have on hand and like best.

Here are a couple of links for the alternative-flour-curious:

- about the nutritional differences between various flours

- and the culinary uses for various flours

Alright, now that you're equipped with some more nutrition knowledge, go forth and treat your physical and mental self.


1. Almond Butter Chia Cookies

by The Toasted Pine Nut

2. 4-Ingredient Maple Sesame Tahini Cookies

by Flora and Vino

3. Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies

by The Simple Veganista

4. Gingersnap Cookies

by Eating Bird Food

5. Almond Butter Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Flora and Vino

6. Almond Biscotti

by Fit Foodie Finds

7. Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

by Simply Jillicious

8. Crispy Flourless Flax Cookies

by My Healthy Dessert

9. Maple Walnut Cookies

by A Sweet Alternative

10. Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

by Leelalicious

breads, cakes, and crisps

1. Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

by Nutrition Translated (shoutout to Estefania, a colleague of mine from PCC!)

2. Cinnamon Sweet Potato Bread

by Abra's Kitchen

3. Pineapple Bread

by Chocolate Covered Katie

4. Almond Flour Chocolate Banana Bread

by Hummus Sapien

5. Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

by The Big Man's World

6. Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

by Hummus Sapien

7. Orange Polenta Cake

by The Loopy Whisk

8. No-Bake Wild Blueberry Cheesecake

by The Healthy Family & Home

9. Plum Cake

by Nutriholist

10. 5-Ingredient Apple Crisp

by Purely Flourish

11. Healthy Peach Crisp

by Erin Lives Whole

brownies, blondies, & bars

1. Fudgy Flourless Almond Butter Brownies

by Ambitious Kitchen

2. Banana Blondies with Peanut Butter Frosting

by Mile-High Mitts

3. Sweet Potato Brownies

by The Almond Eater

4. Vegan Garbanzo Blondies

by The Roasted Root

5. Strawberry Crumb Bars

by Ela Vegan

6. Blueberry Raspberry Bars

by May I Have That Recipe?

7. Lemon Bars with Honey & Thyme

by Grow Forage Cook Ferment

8. Paleo Peach Pie Crumb Bars

by Real Food with Jessica

9. Sesame Crunch Bars

by Create Mindfully

10. No Bake Chocolate Cashew Fig Bars

by Cotter Crunch

muffins & scones

1. Lemon Coconut Baked Oatmeal Cups

by Hummus Sapien

2. Sweet Potato Muffins with Blueberries

by Vegan Heaven

3. Orange Almond Cakes

by Cook it Real Good

4. Mini Cherry Clafoutis

by Petit Chef

5. Cranberry Orange Muffins

by Making Thyme for Health

6. Vegan Grapefruit Scones

by A Dash of Megnut

7. Vegan Maple Walnut Scones

by Okonomi Kitchen

puddings & ice cream

1. Raspberry Lemon Chia Pudding

by Nutrition Translated

2. Strawberry Chia Pudding

by My Plant Based Family

3. Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

by A Saucy Kitchen

4. Brown Rice Pudding

by i Food Real

5. Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding

by NYT Cooking

6. Dairy Free Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

by Art from my Table

7. Cantaloupe Mint Sorbet

by Tasty Yummies

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