Just because it's the holidays, you don't have to overindulge in treats that are loaded with sugar. There are plenty of ways to maintain a healthy diet while still participating in the revelry. One way to keep sugar levels in check is to bake and serve treats that are lower in sugar, while also keeping portion sizes in mind. We promise you won't feel cheated either. These low-sugar desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth and will keep you from crashing later, so you can enjoy all of the merriment.
Maple Date Bars
Moist and chewy, these date-filled bars make a satisfying afternoon snack or a nice treat to bring into the office. They travel well, since you can let them cool in the baking pan and carry them. Or, for a prettier package, place them in a cookie tin divided by sheets of parchment paper.
Brownie Energy Bites
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez
These two-bite treats taste rich and indulgent, with absolutely no added sugar. Each also contains 3g fiber and 3g protein. We find one to be satisfying, but don't feel bad about eating two—that's only 222 calories. Store chilled in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Hazelnut Dessert Coffee
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Serve with Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars. Use any other liqueur that you prefer, such as Grand Marnier or Chambord.
Photo: Courtesy of Oxmoor House
At last, the beloved cookie is now gluten-free. You'll need a pizzelle iron to make these delicate Italian waffle cookies. Prepare the recipe using the Cannoli Shell Variation to make delicious cannoli.
Grapefruit Granita with Pear-and-Pom Relish
There's no need to relegate icy treats to just the summertime. This granita makes a fantastic addition to holiday get-togethers.
Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House
As this tempting dessert bakes, the cake batter rises and buckles around the fruit, giving it a wrinkled appearance.
Poached Pears with Cardamom Cream
Make the components for this dessert a day ahead, and assemble shortly before serving. Placing a plate on top of the pears as they cook keeps them submerged so they cook evenly.
Warmed Berries with Honey and Fresh Cheese
You may adapt this dessert to your taste by adjusting the blend of berries, the amount of honey, or even the amount of cheese. The idea is luxury in the amount of berries. Fromage blanc is wonderfully subtle; you can sub Greek yogurt, which is tangier.
Cranberry and Apple Crumble
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
This simple winter dessert satisfies. We used Braeburn apples, but Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, or any other tart variety will do. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Walnut-Yogurt Dip (Akhrot Ka Raita)
This sweet-savory dip is delicious with pita wedges and fresh strawberries or cut-up pineapple for breakfast, dessert, or a snack. You can prepare it up to a day ahead and refrigerate.
Broiled Grapefruit with Ginger and Maple Cream
Not overly sweet, this elegant, seasonal dessert is a grapefruit-lover's delight. To whip the maple-infused cream into fluffy peaks with ease, start with a frozen metal bowl and whisk. Using chilled tools helps the cream to develop and hold body quickly.
Sugar-Roasted Plums with Balsamic and Rosemary Syrup
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Small, sweet, dark purple plums are ideal for this dessert. Balsamic vinegar, water, and seasonings are reduced to an intense syrupy glaze that contrasts with the sugar-coated plums.
Softened Plums with Vanilla Yogurt
Skip turning on the oven by cooking the plums just on the stove. The plums cook just long enough to often slightly and release their juices; use a knife and fork to dive in. Butter, honey, and orange juice mixed with juice from the peaches creates a light syrup that is simply divine. Sub any toasted nut or seed for the granola. This recipe serves four people, and each portion of three peach halves topped with yogurt and the peach syrup contains just 25g of added sugar, 184 calories, and 6.6g of fat.
Chocolate Pots de Crème
Pots de crème are decadent, creamy custards served in tiny cups—and they’re a perfect ending to a cozy dinner. Make this dessert the night before, and chill until you’re ready to serve.
18 Low-Sugar Desserts That Won’t Destroy Your Diet
We&rsquove been told time and time again that we eat too much sugar. But, like, it&rsquos so good, you know? Luckily, just because you&rsquore trying to cut back on the sweet stuff doesn&rsquot mean you have to give up all delicious treats. To prove it, allow us to present these 18 mouthwatering low-sugar desserts to satiate even the sweetest of sweet tooths.
1. Rainbow Whole Fruit Ice Pops
These frozen treats are almost too pretty to eat! With no added sugar, these rainbow fruit ice pops are made with six different fruits (and zero added sugar!)-kiwis, strawberries, mango, blueberries, watermelon, and pineapple.
This low-fat low-sugar recipe can be made in your food processor and formed in an ice pop tray. The perfect frozen treat for kids, too! Here's the recipe.
2. No-bake turmeric bars
This dessert is made with ingredients that actively work to keep inflammation away. The starring ingredient is turmeric, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices in the pantry. It’s combined with coconut flour, cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup, and chocolate chips to make a batch of no-bake bars.
Photo: Vegan Chickpea
Low Sugar Frosted Christmas Cookies
Some might say that Christmas desserts are treats that should not be messed with. Perhaps whole wheat flour does not belong in a Christmas cookie. Maybe “low sugar” should not be included in a Christmas cookie title. It’s a treat, right? Can’t we just leave it well enough alone?
But the more I experiment with cutting down the sweetener in my baked goods, the more I’m discovering that treats still taste like treats even with the sugar cut in half or more.
Wait. I don’t know how to write that. “…with the sugar cut in half or more.” Or should it be “…with the sugar cut in half or less.” I’m talking about cutting out even more than half of the originally called for sugar. Less sugar. Cut it by more than half, so that it’s even less. That is what I’m trying to say. Sometimes writing good sentences is so hard. Who decided that fractions would be smaller every time their bottom number gets bigger? Do you know how hard it is to explain to a small child that 1/8 is bigger than 1/16?? It’s the fraction inventors that are making my sentence writing so complicated right now.
Just for that, I’m not giving the fraction people any of my cookies. They can figure out their own half or more or less sugar fraction in their own cookie recipes. Merry Christmas, fraction people.
Well, there’s no good way to segue after this slightly embarrassing but mostly justified outburst. All any of us really needs to know is that we can cut the sweetener in most baked good recipes and not taste the difference. Truly this sugar cookie is still so sweet I can barely eat it. My kids – who love sugar-covered-sugar just like all the other kids – cannot tell that these cookies are low in sugar. I daresay that if we left these on a plate for Santa, he’d be like, “Wow, these are the best cookies I’ve had all night, but without the sugar crash. This mother must have used half or more (or less) of the sugar called for in the recipe.”
15 Festive Birthday Desserts That Aren't Cake
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Festive treats that don't have more than half a cup of sugar
Indulging in festive foods and being mindful of your health can seem like an impossible task during December, but Christmas can be healthier than you think.
When asked to bring the dessert, people normally turn to classic recipes like pavlovas, puddings, trifles and mince pies, but typically these recipes are loaded with sugars.
Generally, it's the sheer size of the meal — or meals — we consume on Christmas Day, and their high fat and sugar content, that can leave us feeling heavy, bloated and fatigued.
The easiest way to avoid these spells of discomfort is to seek out sweet treats and dessert recipes that have a protein base and only include a maximum amount of half a cup of added sugars. This combination of low sugar and high protein will help to achieve a sustainable release of energy throughout the day."
Another way you can do this is by adding low-calories, nutrient-rich ingredients to your recipes. Greek yoghurt, for example, adds protein and calcium and can be used as a lower-calorie alternative to ice-cream and cream, while fresh berries, stone fruit and mashed banana can add sweetness to recipes and help to reduce the overall amount of sugars you need.
Finally, remember that much of the enjoyment that comes from eating sweet foods is experienced in the first couple of mouthfuls. For this reason, serving smaller, individualised portions of indulgent treats can slash calorie intake significantly without depriving you of enjoying something yummy.
If you're looking to cut your sugar intake, here's some festive recipes that don't have more than half a cup of sugar.
This recipe can be as healthy as you want it to be. Similar to rocky road or white Christmas, Christmas bark is made with melted chocolate and different toppings of your choosing, like nuts, low-sugar dried fruit or pretzels. I always add some peanut butter to mine when melting the chocolate and a natural spread like Mayver's Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter adds another delicious texture too. (Scroll down for the full recipe.)
Peanut butter cookie dough reindeers
A festive version of a natural peanut protein ball makes this recipe a winner. They're super easy to make, can be made ahead of time and the cute reindeer decorations make them a low-sugar winner for children too.
Doubling as an excellent boredom buster for the kids, I only ever add half a cup of brown sugar to my Christmas gingerbread recipe and I add in Mayver's Skin On Peanut Butter for an extra boost of protein and fibre from the skins of the peanuts that are left on when crushed.
Gingerbread men also make for cute and healthy homemade jars of biscuits to be dropped at family and friends' homes with a Christmas card.
Christmas mint and tahini chocolates
For something a little different, these Christmas mint and tahini chocolates use tahini as one of the base ingredients and give this recipe an interesting flavour. Tahini is packed full of vitamins and minerals and the only added sugar comes from the dark chocolate and maple syrup, making this recipe a guilt-free treat to share around on Christmas Day.
Mayver's peanut butter Christmas bark
- 200g dark or milk chocolate
- 200g white chocolate
- 1 cup Mayver's Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
- ½ cup pistachios
- ½ cup low sugar cranberries
- 1 cup pretzels
- Melt chocolate over low heat. Stir in peanut butter.
- Pour into baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Top with a mix of cranberries, pretzels and pistachios.
- Allow to set in fridge for 2-3 hours. Then break and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Susie Burrell and Mayver's.
Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me , and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.
Healthy Christmas desserts
Though the holiday season is an eat-fest of fudge, cookies, pies and cakes, you can still fit into your little black dress while indulging in the sweets with these healthy holiday dessert recipes.
Spiced honey pear crisp
Put this festive fruit dessert on your Christmas table and even your hardcore dessert eaters will dig in. How does it taste so good yet is still good for you? The secret in the dessert recipe: Ripe sweet pears, bold spices, honey, whole grains and toasted heart-healthy nuts.
- 6 ripe pears, cored, sliced
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1/4 firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine pears, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and honey. Spread pears in the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add butter and, with a fork, work it into dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle topping evenly over pears.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, and then serve warm with a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream or dollop of Greek honey-flavored yogurt.
Low-sugar Christmas biscotti
Photo credit: Mike McCune via Flickr
Studded with green pistachios and dark red cherries, these colorful cookies embody the holiday spirit. They are perfect for gifts, to ship to loved ones and for munching with tea while you make holiday plans. And no one will ever guess they are sweetened with stevia.
- 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup Stevia In The Raw Baker’s Bag
- 2/3 cup shelled pistachios
- 2/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer on medium speed to beat the eggs with the sugar for three minutes. Add the stevia and beat for 30 seconds.
- Using the lowest speed, mix in the dry ingredients until the dough looks moist. Finish mixing the dough by hand, using a flexible spatula. Mix in the nuts and cherries. The dough will be thick and sticky.
- Shape half the dough into a log about eight inches long and place it on one side of the baking sheet, moistening your hands lightly with cold water to help smooth and shape it. Shape the dough into a rectangular, flat 9-inch by 3-inch strip. Repeat, shaping the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.
- Bake the logs for 15 minutes or until the logs are rounded on top and golden with slight browning along the sides. Remove and cool the biscotti on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Transfer logs to a cutting board and cut each log diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Return the slices to the lined baking sheet, arranging them in rows with the edges touching.
- Bake for eight minutes or until the biscotti are lightly colored and feel dry to the touch. Cool the biscotti on baking racks. These biscotti keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Fig-filled phyllo pouches
Photo credit: Hedonistin via Flickr
This dessert combines sweet and savory for a delish portion-controlled Christmas treat. Fresh figs add natural sweetness while the phyllo makes a flaky pouch that is lower in fat compared to pie dough or puff pastry. Sometimes the best way to curb a sweet binge is by eating something savory. This Christmas dessert recipe gives you both.
Low-Sugar Christmas Desserts - Recipes
My delicious yet sugar-free and oil-free desserts are created to all those who love their sweet bites, but without any regrets or adverse side-effects. Discover healthy versions of puddings, ricotta creams, cakes, brownies, muffins, tarts, cookies and bliss balls.
How to Make Low Sugar Strawberry Sauce for Desserts [Video]
Let’s make an easy low sugar strawberry sauce using fresh strawberries. All you need is a blender and 3-4 ingredients. This sauce is ideal for pancakes, crepes, waffles, cheesecake, pound cake, ice cream, and other desserts. My low sugar strawberry sauce is: vegan and plant-based low-fat low glycemic Candida diet [&hellip]
How to Make Vegan Espresso Chocolate Bars [Video]
Learn how to make espresso flavoured raw vegan chocolate bars that resemble Nucao’s espresso chocolate bar but come with a third of the price. You’ll need only 6 ingredients and 15 minutes of your time. Before we go on, I’d like to share the story behind those chocolate bars. I’m [&hellip]
How to Make 18 Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipes
Learn how to make delicious and healthy refined sugar free vegan holiday dessert recipes that everyone will love. You’ll find healthy brownies and blondies, cookies, cakes, muffins and candies in this vegan holiday recipes’ round up. 18 Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipes Let’s bring healthy to a whole new level and [&hellip]
How to Eat for the Daily Dozen Meal Plan [Video]
Delicious and satiating Daily Dozen meal plan including food for an entire day. Enjoy healthy and tasty breakfasts, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks. In order to know all about Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen checklist, go and check out my previous article. The latter explains all the healthy food categories, lists [&hellip]
How to Make Low-Fat Chocolate Bliss Balls [Video]
Healthy low-fat no dates chocolate bliss balls that make a great plant-based energy boosting sweet treat for work or kids’ lunch boxes. It’s one of those vegan bliss ball recipes that is: perfect for healthy snacking, rich in minerals and vitamins, super easy to make. From eating two of those [&hellip]
How to Make Oil-Free Vegan Beet Brownies
Soft and fudgy whole food plant-based chocolate beet brownies that are gluten-free and exceptionally easy to make. You’ll only need a food processor and 15 minutes of your time. To point out the good qualities of my vegan beet brownies, let me say that they are: Extremely simple to make. [&hellip]
How to Make in 3 Ways: Vegan Oatmeal Cookies [Video]
Super easy and delicious vegan oatmeal cookies that are soft and chewy using whole food plant-based ingredients. You only need a bowl, fork, plate and spatula to make the 3 versions: chocolate chip, raisin and goji berry, and coconut cookies. I love those oatmeal cookies because they are: Super easy [&hellip]
How to Make Sweet and Savoury Vegan Mother’s Day Recipes
Delicious sweet and savoury vegan Mother’s Day recipes for brunch, lunch and dinner. Healthy gluten-free and oil-free recipes that your mother will love. Sweet and Savoury Vegan Mother’s Day Recipes Vegan Mother’s Day Breakfast Surprise your mother with delicious and healthy breakfast that will make the Mother’s Day morning so [&hellip]
How to Make Gingerbread Flavoured Vegan Energy Balls [Video]
Try those quick and easy gingerbread flavoured vegan energy balls that are perfect as healthy snacks when you need a pick-me-up in the afternoon. You only need a food processor or a large bowl, a spoon and 25 minutes of your time. And if you’re into energy balls, check out [&hellip]
How to Make Oil-Free and GF Vegan Christmas Cookies
Enjoy a round of delicious and healthy vegan Christmas cookies that are oil-free, gluten-free and refined sugar free. Those simple and gorgeous cookies will definitely be part of your holiday baking traditions! Maybe it’s the gingerbread cookies’ tradition, but the most popular sweet treats for the holiday season seem to [&hellip]
How to Make Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Blondies [Video]
Turn those vegan pumpkin blondies into your favourite dessert that is free from oils and refined sugar. You’ll only need a food processor and 15 minutes of your time to make this healthy vegan gluten-free recipe. My vegan pumpkin blondies are: Dairy-free Gluten-free Oil-free Can be made nut-free and peanut-free [&hellip]
How to Make Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread [Video]
Perfectly moist vegan gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe that uses neither oils nor refined sugar. It’s a healthy alternative to those enjoying the indulgence of baked goods. My quick bread deserves attention because it’s: Totally plant-based Dairy-free Gluten-free Oil-free Candida diet friendly (use xylitol and/or stevia) Nut-free (use seed butter) To [&hellip]
I've been into healthy eating for many years, but developed a more profound interest in nutrition and related diseases when I started reading The China Study and other special books on nutrition. After being in real estate and hospitality business for more than 10 years I decided to totally change my path to spread the word about healthy and sustainable nutrition and lifestyle. I am also a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate graduate from eCornell. I hope you enjoy my whole food plant-based recipes and practical tips!
Puddings and Desserts
Q uick to prepare , serve with low fat ice cream, custard or crème fraiche.
Berry Salad with Soya Yoghurt
A bright and beautiful fruit salad, perfect for Summer. Experiment with different fruits year-round and choose a soya yoghurt to add to your soya foods for the day.
A plant-based UCLP© twist on a classic.
Apple and Blackberry Oat Crumble
A warming winter favourite which adds to your five a day.
Treat yourself to a delicious and low sugar chocolate dessert.
Easy Banana Ice Cream
Kids will have great fun making this but make sure they save some for you.
Fudgy Buttermilk Brownies
We all love to indulge in chocolate but unlike most chocolate recipes this one is made with low fat buttermilk. So whether you decide to ice or not you are sure to enjoy tucking into these.
They are not saintly but these devilish-tasty treats are an improvement on traditional versions and contain that important oat beta glucan for cholesterol lowering.
This versatile recipe can be used with sweet or savoury fillings or toppings, meaning it can be served at breakfast, lunch or supper!
Pear and Almond Flan
The pear and almonds are a simple combination that give a wonderful flavour. Perfect for parties or cosy days at home.