A sweet tooth can pop up at times, especially when you’re feeling a bit down, stressed or fatigued after a rough night with little sleep. And while you might want to indulge your senses and settle a sugar craving with a thick slice of cake or a rich and dense chocolate peanut butter brownie, a high-calorie dessert isn’t going to make you feel much better.
Sure, it might be delicious and feel worthwhile at the moment, but you’ll likely end up losing that temporary happiness and become lethargic, bloated and hungry—for more sweet foods, too—as a result shortly after. If eating too many desserts becomes a habit, they’ll add up, and so those excess calories, fats and sugars will be bad for your health long-term.
Eating desserts that lack nutrition and are highly processed, sweet and high in carbs will increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases, which come from greater inflammation in the body and higher blood sugar levels. Plus, desserts that are teeming with calories and sugar accumulate, so you might gain weight in time, if your number of daily calories surges too dramatically and lingers at elevated levels for an extended period.
A good rule is to keep indulgences in moderation and instead incorporate more low-carb desserts and other naturally sweet foods into your meals and snacks in order to both satisfy those sugar needs and avoid unhealthy side effects most typically associated with dessert. Plus, there are several options for low carb desserts and other baked treats on the market to choose from, when you don’t have time to bake something from scratch at home.
Here are a couple of easy and delicious low carb desserts and sweet snacks to use as inspiration when baking at home or when shopping at the store.
Granola with Chocolate Chips with a Scoop of Non-dairy Ice Cream
Granola and trail mix get a bad rap, as they’re often touted as healthy snack or breakfast foods but can be loaded with sneaky sugars, carbs and calories, instead of protein or fiber. A high protein low sugar granola is a healthier option, and it works well as a wholesome snack or slimmed-down dessert, depending on how you use it.
For example, add in vegan, dark chocolate chips and a serving of nuts, like almonds or pistachios, for a sweet snack to take on the go or serve the chocolate chip granola mixture over a scoop of non-dairy ice cream, avocado chocolate mousse or frozen yogurt for dessert. The combination of fiber, protein and healthy fats keeps you satiated and provides real fuel, despite its dessert feel and sweet flavor.
Chocolate Keto Truffles
Chocolate truffles are rich and velvety, and they’re a perfectly portioned sized dessert, so you can better monitor carbs, calories and sugars. And you can play around with different flavors—top or fill keto truffles with various kinds of nuts, shredded coconut flakes, fruit, espresso beans and more. Another idea is to drizzle nut butter on top, for extra heart-healthy fats and creaminess to fill you up and boost flavor.
You can also buy keto truffles containing fewer carbs and using healthier sweeteners that don’t spike and elevate blood sugar levels, too. Just stick to one or two max though—don’t let sweet snacks and desserts replace too many other foods, since you don’t want to skimp on the nutritional value for the majority of your meals and snacks.
Chocolate Drizzled Nuts
Drizzle almonds, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts and cashews with an antioxidant-containing semi-sweet dark chocolate coating, to transform a healthy snack into a decadent dessert. Choose chocolate chips that are low in sugar, keto approved and vegan for more health benefits, plus that coveted bold, rich dark chocolate flavor, then melt and drizzle with any nuts you prefer.
You can also melt the chocolate and make a fondue at home with your own pairing options on skewers. Skewer ideas include bite-sized keto protein bars, fruit, low-carb pound cake, low-carb marshmallows and other fun eats, which you’ll dunk into that pool of warm and gooey, chocolate-flavored goodness.
High Protein Keto Cookies or Cookie Dough
Cookies are definitely defined as dessert, as well as cookie dough, which you can serve on top of dairy-free ice cream or yogurt or simply eat with a spoon. Keto friendly, high protein cookies can be a great staple to keep at home, as they’re ready-to-eat and non-perishable, so you can order them in bulk.
Another way to boost nutritional value is to choose plant-based, high-protein sweet snacks, those that are low in carbs and sugar and free of sugar alcohols, which may cause GI upset in many people. (Bhu’s FIT Protein Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough are sugar alcohol free and still low-carb and low-sugar.)
Plus, since they’re portable, you can keep them in your bag and at the office without worrying about spoilage or the urge to buy a baked good or candy bar instead. They should have around 250-300 calories per serving, which is the ideal size for a healthy dessert or sweet snack in order to maintain a healthy diet and keep blood sugar stable.
Berries and Whipped Cream
Just because dessert is fruit, it doesn’t mean it won’t satisfy a sweet tooth well—in fact, the fresh fruit offers fiber and antioxidants to promote better health and heart health and offers natural sweetness, which is much healthier than added sugars, which you’ll find in baked goods and most restaurant-style desserts.
Berries are low in sugar in comparison to fruits and contain fiber to lower the net gram count of carbohydrates—so they’re keto friendly and won’t spike blood sugar. Plus, make it an indulgent dessert by adding keto chocolate syrup and dairy-free ice cream or whipped cream, or use the fruit to make homemade keto friendly, vegan brownies, fat bombs, mousse, or lemon bars.