5 Tasty Tricks to Make Clean-Eating Desserts Without Added Sugar

By: Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.  |  EatingWell.com, April 2017

How to Eat Clean and Still Have Dessert

How to Eat Clean and Still Have Dessert

You can still eat dessert if you're eating clean. Just scale it back and choose treats that are lighter on the sugar or free from added sugar entirely. A modest amount of sweetener is fine; you can still have foods like dark chocolate (what's life without chocolate?). But when you want a sweet treat that's totally clean, we have ideas for desserts with zero added sugar.

1. Trade Up Your Ingredients

Eating clean means eating more of the healthiest foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. So even at dessert—focus on using those ingredients. Instead of a sugar cookie crust, trying making a dessert pizza with juicy watermelon as the base. And instead of frosting use yogurt. This recipe calls for a teaspoon of honey, which you can skip to cut out added sugars entirely.

Try It: Watermelon Fruit Pizza

2. Use Fruit for Sweetness

Fruit is naturally sweet and, unlike cakes and candy, comes in a nutritious package with fiber and vitamins and minerals. Fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, minimizing sugar spikes. And fruit provides key nutrients like potassium, vitamin C and folate. Dates or frozen grapes make a great dessert when you need a sweet bite. For something a little more special turn frozen bananas into creamy, sweet "ice cream" in your food processor.
Try It: Peanut Butter & Banana Ice Cream

3. Make Clean Copycat Desserts

Sure you could eat your fruit as is or cut it into regular slices and it would be a wholesome way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Pineapple slices can be cut into flowers with a cookie cutter and cored apple slices turn into "donuts" with a little creativity. Try our Apple "Donuts" with almond butter frosting and coconut sprinkles and save yourself 15 grams of added sugar (about 4 teaspoons), compared to a regular donut.
Try It: Apple "Donut"

4. Make It Beautiful

Who doesn't love eating Instagram-worthy treats? And you don't need to go crazy to make something beautiful—nature did most of the hard work for you. There are a rainbow of natural colors: deep purple blackberries and grapes, dark blue blueberries, soft green kiwis, orange mangoes and tangerines and bright red strawberries and raspberries. Have fun with them and make your all-fruit desserts more festive with an ombré fruit salad or a rainbow fruit kebab. Full of color, free of artificial anything and added sugar.
Try It: Rainbow Fruit Kebab
 

5. Make Your Own Treats

 

Virgin Banana Piña Colada Pops

Literally, think outside the box and make cleaned up versions of your favorite treats. Skip the frozen desserts aisle at the grocery store and make your own fruit pops with zero added sugar, essentially using a fruit smoothie as your "batter." While many store bought frozen treats have added sugars to sweeten up fruit, this Piña Colada Popsicle mimics a smoothie and is sweetened only with fruit and fruit juice. This is a great idea for kids—and adults—who want a frozen treat without all the added sugar.
Try It: Virgin Banana Piña Colada Pops
Related:
5 Ways to Clean Up Your Snacks
7 Rules for Eating Clean
No-Added Sugar Meal Plan