Holiday Desserts That Won't Derail Your Diet

By
These sweet treats will make you merry without packing on the pounds
Dark chocolate
iStock/Thinkstock

Dark chocolate

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday!

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday!
iStock/Thinkstock

This holiday season, give in and indulge with some desserts that won’t derail your diet. Fill your dessert table with lighter extravagances that sound nothing like healthier versions of holiday favorites — pumpkin spice doughnuts, brownies, lemon treats, carrot cake, and even chocolate pudding. You may find that they replace the traditional butter-laden holiday desserts with no protests at all from your taste buds.

Apple Cranberry Cobbler

Apple Cranberry Cobbler
iStock/Thinkstock

Embrace winter’s bounty with an apple cranberry cobbler that is more healthful than your typical pie, but not lacking the deliciousness you crave in a dessert. The pretty colors of the sweet and tangy fruits make this cobbler a perfect holiday dessert. Serve up the warm cobbler with light ice cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt for a breakfast treat.

Date Bran Jingle Balls

Date Bran Jingle Balls
iStock/Thinkstock

Bran can seem kind of bland, definitely not a quality you want in your holiday sweet. But when you mix it with dates, toasted pecans, and a little brandy, you have a delicacy worthy of any holiday get-together. Date bran jingle balls are another no-bake treat that will keep that diet in check while satisfying your sweet tooth.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cupcakes

Flourless Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cupcakes
iStock/Thinkstock

You won’t miss the gluten in these flourless dark chocolate pistachio cupcakes. Have your cupcake and eat it, too, with a healthier option that even includes the better-for-you dark chocolate and a little crunch from the pistachios. These cupcakes can be served with textured nut butter, or you can go all-out with some frosting (hey, the healthy cake leaves room for less healthy frosting).

Ginger and Jasmine Tea Poached Pears

Ginger and Jasmine Tea Poached Pears
iStock/Thinkstock

Fruit desserts don’t always feel like dessert, but ginger and jasmine tea poached pears are redolent of the season and can make for a tasty holiday treat on the healthier side. The warm pears can be served on their own, drizzled with the fragrant poaching liquid, or with spicy ginger snap cookies. Mix it up and put them on angel food cake with toasted walnuts.

Gluten-Free Almond Brownies

Gluten-Free Almond Brownies
iStock/Thinkstock

To some, gluten-free might imply tasteless, but there is no reason to sacrifice flavor with gluten-free almond brownies this holiday season. Almonds in the batter and as a topping add crunch and also some yummy protein, while chocolate makes these more healthful brownies a full-blown dessert.

Healthy Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Healthy Avocado Chocolate Pudding
iStock/Thinkstock

Want a chocolate dessert that’s not loaded with bad fats? Keep that figure with some chocolate pudding. No, it’s not a trick. Healthy avocado chocolate pudding comes together easily in the food processor and is packed with nutritional benefits. Top with some light whipped cream or some pretty fall fruits for a faultless holiday dessert.

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
iStock/Thinkstock

Doughnuts can trigger feelings of guilt for those watching their waistlines. But baked healthy pumpkin spice doughnuts are a lighter take on the fried favorite. The spices are luxurious, but the oats and almond milk keep things nutritious. Whip up a frosting with tangy Greek yogurt, add some cocoa powder for the chocolate lovers, and pepitas for a savory boost. Doughn’t sweat these doughnuts!

Lemon Treats

Lemon Treats
iStock/Thinkstock

Of course you want your holiday season to be merry and bright, so why not change up the holiday dessert game with tangy lemon treats? These no-bake treats are a symphony of textures with meaty nuts, earthy sesame seeds, chewy dates, and flaked coconut. These lemony little balls might just make your holiday that much brighter.

Low- Fat Carrot Cake

Low- Fat Carrot Cake
iStock/Thinkstock

If you don’t want to pass up on a big, decadent slice of cake just because you’re on a diet, try out a low-fat carrot cake. Using skim milk and wheat flour, this carrot cake lightens things up for the holidays. Plus, the carrots make this dessert practically a vegetable. How’s that for a dessert on a diet?

Sexy Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes

Sexy Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes
iStock/Thinkstock

We’re pretty sure all cupcakes are seductive, but sexy low-fat vanilla cupcakes will also help you keep your diet in line, since the soy keeps dairy and fat levels down. Make these vanilla cupcakes festive with a cranberry sauce for a topping or add some fall spices to the batter to change things up. These cupcakes are sure to be a hit.

Sneaky Chef Brainy Brownies

Sneaky Chef Brainy Brownies
iStock/Thinkstock

Brownies are often a guilty pleasure. But who knew that delicious brownies could be practically guilt-free? With a purple purée of baby spinach and blueberries, Sneaky Chef Brainy Brownies get a dose of fruits and vegetables, and the whole-wheat flour and ground oats kick up the fiber factor.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake
iStock/Thinkstock

No dessert table is complete without a luscious cheesecake. A lighter pumpkin cheesecake will round off that dessert spread. Cut the fat and calories by using low-fat Greek yogurt and lower-fat cream cheese. For a little more spice, use ginger snap cookies to make your crust and top it off with a low-fat whipped cream. Cheesecake done right!