While you might want to force yourself to skip dessert to stay healthy, not giving into your cravings every now and then will only intensify them. Nutrition professor and chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, Rachel Johnson, says, "When you put rules and restrictions on something, you’re only going to want it more."
She recommends that you "satisfy your dessert craving in healthier ways," such as making them yourself at home. Making your own desserts means that you can opt for healthier options, such as using less sugar.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Who has time for baking? That’s where your slow cooker comes to the rescue! Most slow cooker desserts take a few hours to cook, meaning that you have time to do other things, instead of sitting in the kitchen waiting for an oven timer to go off. Being busy is no longer an excuse not to eat well. If you want a healthy, homemade dessert check out these recipes!
Pumpkin pie bars
Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to steer clear of your favorite pumpkin flavored treats! This pumpkin pie bar recipe substitutes the sweetener Stevia for actual sugar, so you get all the benefits of pumpkin with none of the guilt!
Pumpkin is a rich source of fiber and is packed with beta-carotene. It also contains antioxidants, making it a healthy ingredient for a dessert. This recipe takes a little over three hours to cook so you’ll have plenty of time to run some errands (or take a nap!) while it bakes in your slow cooker.
Carrot cake sounds like it should be healthy because it has a vegetable in the title, but unfortunately traditional carrot cakes are loaded with calories. This low carb carrot cake option, however, will help you indulge your carrot cake cravings!
With just 9.5 grams of carbs per serving, this cake is far healthier than your typical carrot cake. It uses a sugar substitute, skips the traditional addition of raisins (although you can throw some in if you really want to!), and is topped with a delectable cream cheese frosting.
Double apple cake
This double apple cake cooks in just an hour, to an hour and a half, in the slow cooker, so you could start it right before dinner and serve it hot and fresh after your meal. With just 235 calories per serving, this low-sugar cake could be your next go-to dessert recipe.
This cake doesn’t have any frosting so it isn’t too sweet, making it a good treat for those who don’t like their desserts to be too sugary. Pair it with a cup of coffee for dessert or even as a morning treat! Go ahead, it’s healthy!
Cardamom rice pudding
A lot of people think rice is unhealthy, but it’s actually a low-calorie, low-fat food that is packed with protein. It’s a bit high in carbohydrates so you probably shouldn’t eat it with every meal but it does make for a tasty dessert.
Served with fresh some fresh fruit, this cardamom rice pudding is a delicious and healthy dessert. Adding to the blend of flavors is some cinnamon sprinkled on top, making for a pudding that tastes rich and creamy but is surprisingly low in fat.
There is a lot of fiber in this fruit-filled dessert which gives it a natural sweetness that doesn’t require too much extra sugar. The "crumble" part of this blackberry-peach crumble is made from oats which, according to The Guardian, "Are a rich source of magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle, and regulating blood pressure."
This crumble is delicious with a scoop of vanilla on top, or, for an even healthier option, some yogurt. This yummy dish is ready in about three hours.
Tiramisu bread pudding
Tiramisu is known for its rich flavor. And anything that tastes this good has to be bad for you, right? Not necessarily. This slow cooker variation swaps out some of the less healthy ingredients, and opts for low-fat milk.
This recipe preserves the indulgent taste of traditional tiramisu while cutting down on the calories, coming in at just under 200 calories per serving. And instead of sugar-laden ladyfingers, the recipe calls for French bread. The pudding takes about two hours to cook and is definitely worth the wait!
Mocha fudge cake
How do you make something that sounds so decadent, so healthy? The secret is using almond flour instead of regular flour. A traditional cake packs a whopping 279 calories per serving with 42 grams of carbs. This mocha fudge cake, however, has just 200 calories per serving with 5.8 grams of carbs!
For even fewer calories, try substituting the almond flour for coconut flour. This will bring each serving down to 162 calories, increasing your carbs a bit for a total of 11 grams. Either way, you’re getting a delicious cake that’s low in fat!
This low-calorie mocha fudge cake takes 2-4 hours in the slow cooker. If that’s too long to wait, pop it in the oven for about 35 minutes.
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Lauren Kelly, the nutritionist and cookbook author behind this recipe, calls this "a gigantic cookie" which you "slice into cookie bars." Whether you end up slicing them into individual oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, or opt for one massive, showstopper-bake, this combination of ingredients is too delectable to pass up.
There are just 225 calories per serving. Even better, these cookies are gluten free and made without refined sugar. And as Kelly says, "No junk in these babies!"
Lemon pudding cake
This indulgent lemon pudding cake is the perfect dessert if your sweet tooth craves a touch of zest. With just over 200 calories per serving, this yogurt-based treat is served with whipped cream and pomegranate seeds, although you could substitute any other fruit.
It might seem like something this tasty would be terrible for you, but this dessert contains just six grams of fat per serving! It cooks in about two hours, giving you just enough time to daydream about taking your first bite of this refreshing cake.
Fudge is such a dense and rich sweet that it seems impossible that you could make it healthy (let alone cook it in a slow cooker), yet this recipe proves otherwise! This fudge recipe is both sugar free and dairy free. The secret is to use coconut milk and sugar free chocolate chips. One piece of this fudge has just 78 calories, making it the ultimate healthy sweet.
But this recipe’s gonna take a little time. While it only takes 5 minutes to whip up the ingredients, it then needs to cook for 3 hours, and then chill to stiffen. The total time needed before you can sample your homemade fudge is 6-7 hours, but the best things are worth waiting for!
It’s time for dessert!
It looks so easy to balance work and home life on TV, but anyone who has ever tried vacuuming in high heels knows that the June Cleaver way of life is in no way realistic. Trying to juggle work, family, and a social life is time-consuming and often leaves little time to prepare a home-cooked meal, let alone dessert.
Hopefully, these recipes will help you to explore some healthier eating habits and also free up some time in your schedule! With these healthy treats, you can have your cake and eat it, too!