Warmer weather is teasing us out of our homes, and that includes the kitchen. But we still have to eat! With spring and summer meals leaning toward lighter, healthier fare, you’ll probably want to round them off with a lighter, healthier dessert.
Consider skipping the packaged goods and whipping up one of the four sweet treats below. According to renowned functional medicine MD, Mark Hyman, “it’s typically not the salt, sugar, or other ingredients you add to your home-cooked food but rather the salt, sugar, bad fats, and unpronounceable toxic ingredients that food companies add to their packaged goods that damage your health.”
These bon bons, sweet bites, and chocolate pudding are super simple to make—most require just one mixing bowl. They’re also packed with good-for-you ingredients like healthy fats and whole grains. And they’re yummy. As well as dessert, they’re great as mid-afternoon pick-me-ups for grownups or healthy snacks for the kids.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more indulgent than a piece of fruit but still gets a nutritionist’s seal of approval, give any of these a try. Because … our sweet tooth (teeth?) doesn’t get mothballed along with our winter sweaters.
Chocolate avocado mousse
1 cup avocado flesh (2 to 3 avocados, depending on their size)
1/3 cup unsweetened nut milk (or oat milk)
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa or raw cacao powder
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
Optional toppings: pinch of sea salt and/or dark chocolate chunks
- Scoop out avocado flesh, removing any black spots that can be bitter.
- In a food processor (or blender) add avocado, maple syrup, cocoa powder, unsweetened nut or oat milk, and melted coconut oil.
- Blend ingredients until they form a shiny, consistent mousse. If needed, stop the food processor to scrape down the sides, then continue blending until the mousse is smooth and no bits of avocado remain.
- Divide into serving bowls, cover, and refrigerate. The number of servings will depend on the size of your bowls or cups.
Chocolate peanut butter bon bons
Besides being deliciously addictive, peanut butter is a great source of healthy fat and protein. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which help your body mop up free radicals that can damage our cells.
1 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup coconut flour
2 tbs honey (or maple syrup)
1 cup puffed rice/Rice Krispies
1 cup dark chocolate pieces (or milk chocolate. Use baking bars or chocolate bars rather than packaged chocolate chips, which contain stabilizers and won’t melt as easily).
½ tsp salt
- In a large bowl add the peanut butter, puffed rice, honey or maple syrup, coconut flour, and salt. Combine well.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop out a tablespoon of the peanut butter dough at a time, rolling them into balls, and place on the lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes or the fridge for about half an hour.
- While the dough is chilling, melt the chocolate either in a double boiler (in a bowl over a pot of simmering water) on the stove or in the microwave at 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment.
- Using two spoons (or any utensil), dip the peanut butter dough in the melted chocolate to coat each ball, then transfer each dipped ball back onto the baking sheet. Try to work quickly so the bon bons don’t melt into the chocolate and lose their shape. Sprinkle with salt.
- Transfer the tray of chocolate coated bon bons back to the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes or fridge for about 30 minutes to set the chocolate. Then eat and enjoy! Yields about 20-24 bon bons.
Store the bon bons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or the freezer for up to three months. (Don’t leave them out on the counter, or they’ll melt.)
- Swap out the puffed rice for shredded coconut.
- Replace the coconut flour with crushed graham crackers as a binder.
Oatmeal raisin cookie energy bites
If you love oatmeal raisin cookies, these no-bake oatmeal-raisin cookie energy bites are for you. Flaxseed and chia seeds, nutritional powerhouses that are rich in fiber and minerals, are mixed with oats to form the dough, along with cinnamon, sea salt, almond butter, honey, vanilla extract, and raisins—ingredients you likely have on hand.
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup ground flaxseed
2 tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup creamy almond butter
¼ cup honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup raisins
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt.
- Place the almond butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. You want it to be soft and slightly melted. Stir until smooth.
- Stir in the honey and vanilla extract into the melted almond butter. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well combined, then add the raisins.
- Roll the mixture into small balls, about 1 to 2 tablespoons per ball. Place in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Use dried cranberries or chocolate chips instead of raisins if you have those in your pantry… or mix any combination of the three in your dough.
Raw gingerbread bites
Gingerbread cookies are a favorite around the holidays, but if you’re a gingerbread lover, these boldly flavored bites are a treat any time of year. Warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger are known for their health benefits. As well as adding a robust sweetness, molasses is actually a source of minerals such as iron and selenium.
1 cup almond meal/almond flour (like Bob’s Red Mill)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp molasses
¼ cup pitted dates (about 6 medium) roughly chopped
1 to 2 tsp unsweetened almond (or other nut) milk
1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
- In a food processor, pulse almond meal, spices and salt until evenly mixed.
- Add molasses and dates and process until combined.
- Transfer dough into a small bowl and add nut milk as needed, one teaspoon at a time, as you use the back of a spoon to press the mixture together. When the dough clumps and comes away from the sides of the bowl, pinch off small pieces and roll into 1-inch balls.
- Coat some or all of your dough balls in raw help seeds. Makes about 12 balls.
Store in an airtight container or on a covered plate in the fridge for up to five days.