When your child asks for a sweet treat, you can feel good about offering one of these tempting and nutritious desserts.
For some kids, no meal is complete without dessert. But sweets like cookies, cakes, and candy are usually loaded with too much fat and sugar – empty calories that no child needs. Instead, compromise with these easy and downright yummy homemade dessert ideas. Not only will they satisfy their cravings for dessert, they can also give kids a healthy nutritional boost.
These healthy desserts combine small indulgences with fiber- and vitamin-rich fruit, calcium-rich dairy, healthy whole grains, and even vegetables. Children will gobble them up, and parents will love helping kids learn that treats can be delicious and healthy.
Kid-friendly, parent-approved dessert ideas
Strawberries dipped in low-fat chocolate pudding
Think of it as kid-friendly fondue. You can make your own pudding from scratch or a mix or buy it premade from the dairy section of the supermarket.
Frozen chocolate-dipped bananas
Cut slightly unripe and peeled bananas into thirds. Insert a lollipop or wooden stick into the bottom of each piece. Place bananas on a plate or tray (making sure they are not touching), cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least three hours. Microwave dark chocolate chunks in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until the chocolate has melted. Dip the banana pieces halfway into the chocolate, place on a foil-lined tray, and freeze for 30 minutes. You can enjoy them right away or wrap each banana piece in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to two months.
Homemade fruit sorbet or pops
These icy treats pack a ton of flavor without any fat because they’re made without milk or cream. Start by freezing berries or chunks of melon in a zipper-top bag until they are frozen solid. Then puree the fruit in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding a little water or fruit juice if needed. If the fruit is too tart, blend in sugar a teaspoon at a time to achieve desired sweetness. Scoop into bowls and serve, or transfer to an airtight container in the freezer for up to two weeks. You can also pour the mixture into ice-pop molds and freeze.
Toast split whole-wheat English muffins or mini pita breads. While they are still warm, top them with a teaspoon or so of light cream cheese, chocolate-hazelnut spread, or peanut butter. Add a little bit of all-natural fruit preserves, if desired. Top them with sliced fresh fruit, such as apples, strawberries, or peaches. Then sprinkle them with powdered sugar or drizzle chocolate syrup over them.
In a bowl or glass, alternate layers of your child’s favorite yogurt, chopped fresh fruit, and low-fat granola. Top with a sprinkling of chopped nuts, if desired.
Zucchini bread or banana bread
To give your favorite recipe a healthy update, reduce the sugar by a third, swap half the oil or butter for applesauce, and use whole-wheat pastry flour (or “white” whole-wheat flour) instead of regular unbleached flour. For handy portion control, bake the batter in muffin tins with paper liners, checking for doneness after 25 minutes. For an extra treat, stir in 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips, or top the muffins with a dollop of softened, sweetened low-fat cream cheese before serving.
Use low-fat frozen yogurt or ice cream as a base (stick to just one scoop) and get creative with toppings. Here are some ideas to try: crushed whole-grain cereal, raisins, a teaspoon of chopped nuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder, low-sugar jam or mashed fresh fruit, a teaspoon of melted peanut butter, a crumbled gingersnap cookie, a crushed pretzel, or a few chocolate chips.
“Cinnamon roll” toast
Warm cinnamon and gooey cream cheese is irresistible. For a much healthier version, spread toasted whole-wheat bread with a little trans-fat-free margarine and sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar. Warm a tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of powdered sugar. Spoon into a small zipper-top bag and squeeze into one corner. Snip off the corner with scissors and squeeze the bag to drizzle the toast with the “frosting.”