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Healthier Dessert Ingredient Swaps: Tips and Recipes

This Article was last updated 4 months ago by Ola

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There’s nothing wrong with relishing the most decadent, oozy, rich dessert of your dreams, in all its sugar-laden glory. Just eat them in moderation and alongside a nutrient-rich diet. Sounds reasonable, right?

But for those of us who enjoy a daily dessert, it might be a good idea to find some lighter ingredient swaps to make it easier to eat on the regular. Let’s talk about some more nutrient-dense treat ideas using some of our favorite dessert ingredient swaps.

These are some of our favorite ingredient swaps in desserts to amp up the nutrition even when you’re having something sweet.

1. Use 70 percent or higher dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate

The percentage refers to how much cacao is in the chocolate. Cacao’s iron, magnesium, and calcium nutrients are why chocolate can be beneficial. The lower the percentage, the higher the amount of sugar.

Dark chocolate also beats out white chocolate due to some missing antioxidant benefits. White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, which gives milk and dark chocolate those added benefits. You can also choose cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips for an even lower sugar option.

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2. Use the water from a can of chickpeas to make an eggless meringue

If you want to avoid eggs (though they have lots of health benefits), you can still have the cloud-like fluffiness they provide, thanks to bean liquid, also known as aquafaba. Here’s a recipe for a simple meringue:

  • 2 cups whipped garbanzo (that other name for chickpeas) bean liquid
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together all of the ingredients until stiff peaks form. Use the meringue as you would normally in any meringue dessert, or just top a spice cake with it. Delish.

3. Use fruit, especially dates and bananas, instead of refined sugar

Using fruit as a sweetener can add some micronutrients to the recipe. Try soaking some dried dates and then pureeing them into a rich caramel-like paste. The fruit is quite sugary naturally, but you’re also getting more fiber and nutrients like potassium.

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You can skip sugar or honey in a smoothie or dairy-free ice cream if you’ve got a frozen banana on hand for more added nutrients. Keep a few of those, already peeled, in the freezer for a quick dessert fix.

4. Substitute white all-purpose flour for other flours

In some dishes, you can use whole-wheat flour at a 1-to-1 ratio, but with pastry, it’s better to use less whole-wheat pastry flour because it’s so heavy and doesn’t flake. Usually, swapping about 1/3 to 1/2 of the white flour for whole-wheat flour is a good idea. Then you get more fiber and nutrients.

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