5 vegan tricks to make your dessert healthier

A life without cakes, pies and chocolate chip cookies is not the kind of life anyone wants to live. On the other hand, sugar doesn’t always make people feel their best, at least once the final crumbs have been brushed away, and many find that cutting back can get their step back on track. How do you satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your health? Insist on a delicious compromise. From exploring natural sweeteners to embracing the gluten-free trend, here are five easy ways to enjoy better-for-you vegan desserts.

VegNews.GisellesCakeGiselle’s vegan kitchen

Use natural sweeteners

Many studies indicate that white sugar is unhealthy because it is stripped of all its natural minerals. When this elimination process occurs, white sugar becomes nothing more than empty calories that spike blood sugar and cause a roller coaster of insulin resistance, cravings, and crashes. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in dessert from time to time, because vegan alternatives like date syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup are available at almost every grocery store. While we wouldn’t call these natural syrups a health food, they do tend to be a bit kinder on the body, meaning you can experience all the joys of something sweet without a drastic crash. Instead of swapping one of these natural sweeteners for granulated sugar in one of your favorite recipes, look to treats that already call for natural sweeteners, like this delicious chocolate mousse. Alternatively, support vegan brands that don’t use refined sugar, like Giselle’s Vegan Kitchen (yes, they ship nationwide!).

VegNews.ErinMckennasErin McKenna’s Bakery

Skip the gluten

Less than two percent of the US population has been diagnosed with celiac disease, but the body’s reaction to gluten isn’t black and white. There are ranges of intolerance to gluten, and many people are sensitive to this substance. Sure, gluten may not give you terrible abdominal pain or give you hives, but if you feel a little bloated or sluggish after consuming gluten, you might want to consider trying some gluten-free desserts. Fortunately, the gluten-free trend is still going strong, and bakers have innovated to the point where you can’t really tell the difference between a gluten-free and a gluten-free cupcake. Try these vegan and gluten-free banana cream cupcakes or find a local vegan bakery that offers gluten-free options. We personally love Karma Baker and Erin McKenna’s Bakery.

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rethink dessert

Dessert doesn’t always have to be a chocolate chip cookie. Many whole plant-based foods provide natural sweetness to quell most cravings. For example, a sticky-sweet roasted sweet potato glazed with maple syrup, frozen cotton candy grapes, and juicy Medjool dates stuffed with nut butter are all worthy of being considered a sweet treat. For something that feels a little more dessert-like, try this Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl.

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reduce oil

Oil-free is a huge trend in the health space, and for good reason. Oil, whether it’s coconut or canola, is the most calorically dense substance you can eat, but it doesn’t provide a significant amount of nutrients. Most oils are also high in saturated fat, which should always be kept in moderation to avoid excess inflammation and heart disease. Unfortunately, oil is an integral part of many baked goods, it’s what makes many desserts moist and tender. It’s hard to completely remove oil from baked goods, but you can reduce it. Applesauce is a solid replacement, particularly in pies, brownies, and quick breads. The next time you make your famous banana bread, try swapping half the amount of oil for applesauce. Nut butter also works in recipes that are naturally dense (like banana bread). Don’t you like to experiment a lot? Try this tried and true gluten free and oil free hummingbird cake.

VegNews.BigspoonnutbutterLarge Spoon Rotisserie

Fill up on fat (healthy)

If you eat a low-fat diet, you more than likely have problems with an insatiable sweet tooth. Fat stabilizes blood sugar levels and prevents the highs and lows that follow a meal made up of refined flours and sugars. Healthy fat options that happen to be vegan include tahini, olive oil, avocados, and nut butters. Almonds or cashews can also be an excellent source of fat and protein that help satisfy your appetite, support a healthy diet, and reduce cravings. Here’s a healthy fat and a sweet treat: apples or banana coins slathered with fancy nut butter.

For more better-for-you dessert recipes, read:
Vegan Banana Bread Blondies

Raw Vegan Swedish Truffles

Girl Scouts Vegan No Bake Samoas

eliot caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he is not writing you will find him cooking or giving Portuguese classes.

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