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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

30 Low Sugar Desserts You Won’t Believe Are Healthy

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These 30 low sugar desserts are sweet heavenly confections. They’re so good, you won’t believe they’re actually healthy too!

collage of low sugar desserts - healthy fruit salad, cheesecake bites, carrot cake, chocolate pudding, etc

I don’t think I’ve met a dessert I don’t like! I have a serious sweet tooth. While I make sure to fill up on veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, if you tempt me with a dessert, I just can’t resist!

The problem with most desserts is that they are extremely high in sugar! In addition, they’re usually filled with refined carbohydrates, such as white flours. The combination of high sugar with refined carbs is what makes dessert an unhealthy indulgence.

But enjoying a sweet treat every once and awhile is okay, especially when you make some adjustments to some of your favorite desserts.

These 30 low sugar desserts are refined sugar free. Most also use whole grain, or gluten-free flours, such as almond flour, to increase the nutritional value.

So, don’t fret! You can have your cake and eat it too!

photo of different types of sugar

Why Would You Make Low Sugar Desserts?

There are several reasons why you may want to reduce the overall sugar in the desserts you make.

Reduce Calories: Sugar is extremely high in calories, with absolutely no nutritional value. When you indulge in a high calorie dessert you are eating empty calories. Reducing the overall sugar is a dessert will reduce the overall calories.

Reducing Sugar Intake: If you are trying to reduce your overall sugar intake, adding less sugar to your desserts will help you do so.

Less Sweet: If you don’t like your desserts overly sweet, this is another reason to reduce the sugar you add to your desserts.

sugar swirl on wooden cutting board - used in low sugar desserts

What Are The Benefits Of Using Less Sugar?

It would probably be best if we didn’t consume any sugar at all, with the exception of fruit. However, that can be extremely challenging! I aim for the 80-20 rule – to go with no sugar 80% of the time, and very low added sugar 20% of the time. Reducing your overall sugar intake, and limiting the amount of sweet treats you indulge in, can have significant health benefits.

Weight Loss: Using less sugar means that you will consume fewer calories, which helps in weight loss. In addition, according to researchers, fructose can cause fat storage, so less fructose = less fat storage. High sugar foods also cause you to feel hungrier more quickly or frequently. This is because sugar is quickly processed through your digestive system, leaving you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. So using less sugar will help you to feel more satisfied after a meal, leading to less overeating.

Improve Mood: When you consume sugary foods your blood sugar spikes. This gives you a quick boost of energy, but then your blood sugar levels drop quickly, causing you to feel moody. Reducing sugar can help stabilize your mood.

Healthy Teeth: Consuming high sugar foods can cause tooth decay. The natural bacteria in your mouth uses sugar to grow. Overtime this causes a build up of plaque, which in turn causes tooth decay.

Improve Skin: Blood sugar spikes and drops causes inflammation and stress on your body. This can either cause acne, or dull dry skin.

Stabilize Energy: Without the sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, your energy will stabilize, and increase. While sugar can give you a quick boost of energy, the sudden drop leaves you feeling even more tired.

Improve Digestion: Just as sugar can cause inflammation in your skin, it also causes inflammation in your digestive tract. While in the digestive tract, sugar ferments, and turns into glucose. As a result, you can feel quite a bit of stomach discomfort and indigestion.

Reduce Risk of Heart Disease: When sugar doesn’t get used as energy it converts into fatty acids that become triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat that circulates in the blood. When you have a high level of triglycerides you run the risk of developing heart disease, or stroke.

Improve Brain Function: A study at UCLA found that high sugar diets have a correlation with cognitive function. High sugar diets can have a negative impact on memory by causing insulin resistance, which can cause damage communication between brain cells. Sugar can also cause inflammation in the brain which in turn can make it difficult to focus and concentrate.

fruit salad - classic low sugar desserts

What Foods Can You Eat To Fight Sugar Cravings?

Fresh Fruit: The best way to enjoy something sweet that is also nutritious is to stick with fresh fruit. Slice an apple and enjoy with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are also delicious with a dollop of plain unsweetened yogurt.

Dark Chocolate: If you are a chocolate lover like me, dark chocolate is the way to go! It has much less sugar then milk chocolate. The higher the cocoa content the lower the sugar. While 90% dark chocolate can taste rather bitter, 70%, or 80% is just right! Just eat a small square to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Homemade Smoothies: Whip up a smoothie at home. The ones you get from the smoothie places are usually high in sugar. But making your own doesn’t have to be! Add a frozen banana, fresh berries, and leafy greens, or carrots, with some dairy milk.

Trail Mix: Make your own trail mix with a variety of nuts, and dried fruit. Be sure to stick to 1/4 cup serving. It’s easy to go overboard with trail mix!

homemade popsicles

What Are The Healthiest Desserts To Eat?

Unsweetened Applesauce: Making your own homemade applesauce is easy, and a great way to enjoy something sweet without any added sugar! The sweetness of the apples with a touch of cinnamon is all you need!

Fruit Salad: There’s no better way to enjoy something sweet and healthy than a bowl of fresh fruit salad. Chop up your favorite fruits. Choose ones with a variety of colors. There’s no need to sprinkle any extra sugar on top!

Homemade Popsicles: Make your own homemade popsicles by blending fresh fruit, and dairy free milk in the blender. Pour into popsicle molds, place in the freezer, and enjoy!

Nice Cream: Using bananas, and no added sugar, nice cream is creamy, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Add your favorite flavorings such as a tablespoon of cocoa powder to make it extra special.

apples - best low sugar desserts vs. donuts - worst

What Is The Difference Between Refined Sugar And Natural Sugar?

Natural Sugars: Natural sugars are found in fruit and dairy products. In fruit, the sugar comes in the form fructose. In dairy the sugar comes in the form of lactose. These foods contain nutrients, in the form of vitamins and minerals. They are also digested more slowly, so they help you feel fuller longer. As a result, consuming foods with natural sugars are high in nutritional value while also keeping you full and satiated.

Refined Sugars: These types of sugars come from cane sugar or sugar beets which are processed to extract the sugar from the original source. You will also find processed sugars added to foods such as high fructose corn syrup. These types of sugars are processed through the body quickly, causing a blood sugar spike, and sudden drop. These types of sugars have no vitamins or nutrients, and leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry quickly.

different types of sweeteners

What Are The Best Sugar Substitutes?

While white sugar or high fructose corn syrup is the worst sugar to use, there are types of sweeteners that you can use in desserts that are less offending. These natural substitutes for sugar are less processed, and more natural than white sugar.

Monk Fruit Sweetener: A type of sweetener that is extracted from monk fruit. It contains zero calories and is 100-250 times sweeter than white sugar. Monk fruit gets its sweetness from antioxidants called mogrosides.

Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm. It has some nutrients including iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. It’s lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar. However, it is still high in calories.

Honey: This syrup produced by bees has small amounts of vitamins and minerals, and many antioxidants. Flavonoids are where honey gets most of its antioxidants. While there are some health benefits to honey, it still contains sugar, and is high in calories.

Maple Syrup: The sweet liquid that comes from the sap of maple trees. It contains minerals minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese, and even more antioxidants than honey. It is slightly lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar, but still high in calorie and can cause blood sugar spikes.

Tips And Tricks For Making Low Sugar Desserts

  • Cut the sugar in half! If you’re following a baking recipe, reduce the amount of sugar added. I recommend cutting it in half, or at least by a third.
  • Substitute White Sugar: If a recipe calls for white sugar, use one of the sugar substitutes instead. These sugars are lower on the glycemic index, less processed, and contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Depending on the recipe, it’s not suggested to use each as a 1:1 substitute. Monk fruit for example, is much sweeter than regular sugar.
  • Use Whole Grain Flours: White flour turns into glucose when consumed. Use whole grains flours to increase nutritional value, and keep you feeling satiated longer.

30 Low Sugar Desserts You Won’t Believe Are Healthy

vegan gluten free lemon bars stacked on a white plate
Gluten Free Lemon Bars with Coconut Custard
With a sweet, tart coconut milk lemon curd filling, and almond flour crust, these Gluten Free Lemon Bars are the perfect dessert for picnics, bake sales, and more! Naturally sweetened, these bars are vegan friendly.
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vegan nutella with hazelnuts and dark chocolate, served on a wooden cutting board
Vegan Nutella
Dark, rich, creamy vegan nutella is made with raw hazelnuts, dark chocolate, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. It is a decadent chocolate hazelnut spread for dipping fruit, or slathering over pancakes, toast, and more!
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mango nice cream in a glass container with sliced bananas
Mango Nice Cream
Creamy, homemade mango nice cream made with frozen bananas, mangos, natural sweetener, and almond milk, is a dairy-free healthy treat! With 4 simple ingredients, and a few minutes, you’ll have a decadent dessert in no time!
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strawberry santa hats with banana "bottom" and whipped cream top on wooden skewers
Strawberry Santa Hats
Strawberry Santa Hats are an easy and fun snack to make with the kids! With only three ingredients, and a few minutes, you'll have a healthy snack for the holidays!
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Lemon Tartlets with Coconut Milk Filling on a white plate
Lemon Tartlets
These healthy mini lemon tartlets have a crunchy, nutty crust, and a sweet lemon curd filling. They're a simple handheld dessert perfect for special occasions!
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vegan chocolate mousse topped with raspberries
Vegan Chocolate Mousse (Healthy, Sugar-Free)
This rich, decadent, silky Vegan Chocolate Mousse is the perfect dessert.  Made with silken tofu, bananas, tahini, cocoa powder, and maple syrup this mousse is healthy, chocolatey, and so easy to make! 
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healthy chocolate chip banana bread slices stacked on top of each other on a white plate
Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
You don't have to sacrifice great flavor when you make lightened-up baked goods! This simple, healthy, chocolate chip banana bread recipe is super moist and tastes delicious. Kid-friendly, and can be made gluten-free or vegan too!
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vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a white plate
Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
This is the best Healthy Vegan Carrot Cake recipe you'll ever make! This dairy free, lightened up carrot cake is soft, moist, and beautifully sweet. Lots of cinnamon, allspice, and walnuts in every bite!
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pumpkin yogurt parfaits, with layers of pumpkin puree and yogurt, topped with granola in a glass cup
Pumpkin Yogurt Parfaits
These Pumpkin Yogurt Parfaits are incredible, and are just what you need this fall. Old fashioned oats, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and honey give you a perfect breakfast, snack or dessert!
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peanut butter banana oatmeal cookies served on a white plate, topped with chocolate chips
Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Peanut Butter
Bite into one of these freshly baked Banana Oatmeal Cookies to start your day. While each cookie is decadent and sweet, they are still good for you and taste just like banana bread! Vegan, gluten-free and kid-friendly too!
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closeup of cheesecake bites topped with fresh raspberries
Cheesecake Bites (Healthy + Easy!)
You’ll want to savor every taste of these rich Cheesecake Bites! They are velvety smooth, creamy, and the best decadent dessert for all occasions.
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gluten free apple crisp served on a white plate topped with whipped cream
Gluten Free Apple Crisp
This Gluten Free Apple Crisp is a delicious fresh fruit compote topped with a healthy mixture of oats, nuts, and spices. Served warm, it's naturally sweet and vegan-friendly. Perfect for a healthy dessert for the whole family!
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gluten free brownies stacked on top of each other against a white background
Delicious Flourless, Gluten Free Brownies!
There is nothing more decadent, fudgy, and delicious than these Gluten Free Brownies. They are made with simple ingredients and yield an unforgettable brownie that you will want to make time and time again. 
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no bake chocolate cheesecake - mini cheesecakes served on a yellow tray with a glass of milk
No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
An easy and simple dessert that doesn't require you to fire up the oven, this no bake chocolate cheesecake has a graham cracker crust and a creamy light chocolate cheesecake filling.
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Vegan Tahini Oatmeal Cookies
These vegan oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips use tahini (a sesame seed paste) to bind these cookies together. It adds a wonderful rich flavor that compliments the walnuts and chocolate chips for a soft and chewy cookie!
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Keto Peanut Butter Cookies dipped in chocolate and nuts, on white plate
Keto Peanut Butter Cookies
These super simple Keto Peanut Butter Cookies require only 6 simple ingredients. They're low-carb, sugar-free, and a total treat!
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No Bake Peanut Butter Balls
These healthy, 100 calorie treats are easy to make, super delicious, kid-friendly, and decadent; but are also vegan, gluten-free and low in sugar!
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vegan chocolate truffles in a white bowl with blue napkin
Vegan Chocolate Truffles
These delicious Vegan Chocolate Truffles with quinoa and peanut butter are the perfect healthy treat. They also happen to be gluten free! These no bake truffles are perfect as a dessert or a snack.
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cherry crumble pie against a white background, top view
Cherry Crumb Pie
This delicious Cherry Crumb Pie is packed with fresh fruit and is topped with a crumble made from almonds and oats. This is a great dessert for any get together: for picnics in the summer to Halloween to Christmas!
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Grab and Go Breakfast Cookie Recipe
These healthy cookies are perfect for breakfast on the go!
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Healthy Pumpkin Pie
This healthy pumpkin pie is delicious, slimmed down version of the classic recipe using less sugar and evaporated skim milk. It’s the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table topped with whipped cream.
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instant pot applesauce with cinnamon and honey, in a white ramekin with a sliced apple on top, pictured with an instant pot in the background
Instant Pot Applesauce with Cinnamon and Honey
This delicious, homemade, instant pot applesauce with cinnamon and honey is one of the easiest things to cook and is ready in just 20 minutes!
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baked apples stuffed with spiced sprouted quinoa, granola, nuts, fruit - top view on a grey plate
Baked Cinnamon Apples with a Quinoa Crumble
These baked apples are stuffed with a mixture of spiced sprouted quinoa, hearty rolled oats, crunchy nuts, and sweet dried fruit. They are absolutely delicious, easy to prep and are perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a guilt-free dessert anytime of the year!
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Mexican Fruit Salad with cubed melon, mango, jicama, dragon fruit, lime juice, and a hint of spicy chili - served in a blue bowl
Mexican Fruit Salad
A simple Mexican Fruit Salad with cubed melon, dragon fruit, jicama, kiwi, lime juice, and a hint of spicy chili. It's an unexpected and delicious take on the traditional fruit salad.
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Healthy, Easy Fruit Salad Recipe
This easy fruit salad recipe is so simple to make, and you can use any fruits you like (or that are in season!) A versatile dish, perfect for a brunch side-dish, on-the-go snack, or healthy dessert. Ready in less than 15 minutes and kid-friendly too!
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Lightened Up Red Velvet Cupcakes
Some secret healthy swaps make for a lightened up nutrition profile, but it certainly isn’t lacking in flavor. It’s waistline-friendly, but also rich and tasty! It’s a cupcake you can feel good about eating.
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Banana Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
It’s crazy that just one simple ingredient — frozen bananas — can turn something like ice cream healthy. And you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it or any fancy equipment — all you need is a freezer and a food processor/blender.
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Healthy Raw Chocolate Pudding
I know what you’re thinking: avocado and chocolate don’t go together. But with the addition of a few other ingredients and the use of a blender, the avocado becomes the base for a super thick and creamy pudding that tastes great.
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Easy, Healthy, Mini Banana Bundt Cakes
Banana bread is one of those irresistible comfort foods that I just can’t get enough of. I like making individual cakes so I can control portion and also use healthier ingredients.
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French Toast Bread Pudding
French toast bread pudding is a healthy breakfast casserole that tastes like dessert! Made with sprouted wheat bread, apples, low-fat cream cheese, egg whites, and a touch of sugar and spices, you’ll get all the decadent goodness of a bread pudding in a nutritious package.
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Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

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