15 Healthier Twists on Kids’ Favorite Desserts: From Cookies to Ice CreamElizabeth Stark
Kids, and many of their parents, love sweets. Classic kids’ desserts, like milkshakes, cake, and cookies, seem to be everywhere, and that can make it difficult to stick to a healthy daily regimen. To help, I’ve rounded 15 healthy takes on classic kids’ dessert recipes. Now, your kids can have their favorite treats without a big dose of parent guilt. Head below for 15 healthier updates of everyone’s favorite desserts!
15 Healthy Twists on Kids’ Favorite Dessert Recipes 1 of 16
Healthier takes on 15 of your kids' favorite dessert recipes!
Apple Pie 2 of 16
Looking for a dessert with all the homeyness and sweetness of apple pie with way less fat and sugar? These "apple pies" are perfect. Baked in a wholesome real apple, they're topped with just a tiny circle of crust (which reduces the fat considerably). As an added bonus, they have a natural serving size, which is great for those of us who don't always go for the thinnest sliver of the pie.
Make apple pie in the apple
S’mores 3 of 16
Though there's nothing healthy about graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, the s'more is a favorite flavor combination, especially for kids. So, to get your s'more and keep things on the healthy side, make these tiny baked s'more bites. You'll get all the flavor satisfaction of the classic treat — without the monster serving size.
Make baked s'more bites
Banana Splits 4 of 16
There's nothing like the flavor synergy of chocolate, bananas, and ice cream, but the typical banana split can pack over 1,000 calories. Lighten things way up with these tiny banana split bites: tiny banana pieces are hollowed out, filled with ice cream, and dipped in chocolate. Yum!
Make mini banana splits
Banana Bread 5 of 16
Banana bread is a classic and this healthier vesion features whole wheat and quinoa flours, and is brimming with sweet strawberries.
Get the recipe here.
Image: Brooklyn Supper
Creamsicles 6 of 16Refreshing desserts from the freezer don't have to be loaded with chemicals, additives, and sugar. Using fresh-squeezed juice, yogurt, and a smidge of honey, you can make your own ice pops with delicious whole food ingredients and big citrus flavor. Make blood orange creamsicles
Pecan Pie 7 of 16
There healthier pecan bars are a great alternative to pecan pie, which can be loaded with calories and fat. These delicious whole grain treats are brimming with heart-healthy fats from the pecans and a bit of whole grain to boot!
Image: Julie Van Rosendaal
Carrot Cake 8 of 16
Owing to the presence of carrots, carrot cake can seem healthy, but many versions can have over 500 calories. This carrot cake recipe makes use of natural sugars, whole grains, and a much lighter (but still creamy and delicious) cream cheese frosting.
Make wholesome carrot cake
Cheesecake 9 of 16
Cheesecake is one of my personal favorites, but the typical slice can have almost 500 calories, over 25 grams of fat, and more than 40 grams of sugar. Since the combo of tangy and sweet just can't be beat, make your own healthier version at home. This no-bake cheesecake tart provides those same creamy flavors in much healthier portions, and with much less fat and sugar.
Make a skinny no-bake cheesecake tart
Chocolate Cake 10 of 16
Who doesn't love chocolate cake? Nobody. And that's the problem. But this lightened-up vegan cake is pretty low in fat and is wonderful with just a dusting of confectioners sugar instead of a slathering of frosting, which is often what really gets you calorie-wise.
Make vegan chocolate cake
Strawberry Milkshake 11 of 16
Who doesn't love a creamy, thick strawberry milkshake? But high-calorie drinks can leave shake-sippers still feeling hungry, even if they've gulped down as much as 500 calories. Lighten up this favorite sweet by making a healthy, and just as pink, strawberry grapefruit smoothie!
Make strawberry grapefruit smoothies
Ice Cream Sandwiches 12 of 16
Ice cream sandwiches have always been a favorite treat of mine. Calorie counts for store-bought ice cream sandwiches range from 150 to almost 500, but what the store-bought versions have in common are oils, additives, simple carbs, and corn syrup. Instead, why not make your sandwiches at home? For these ice cream sandwiches on a stick, I made a wholesome oatmeal cookie and filled it with creamy Haagen-Dazs. So, how's that healthier? It's a smaller bite made with real ingredients, so you'll feel satisfied while keeping additives and other yucky stuff out of your kitchen. Lighten things up even more by using frozen yogurt in place of ice cream.
Make ice cream sandwiches on a stick
Chocolate Ice Cream 13 of 16
Chocolate ice cream is a summer favorite, as well as a spring, fall, and winter favorite. But with lots of sugar and cream, it's one that's best enjoyed in serious moderation. Try making this rich chocolate sorbet instead. With no cream or eggs, it's much lower in fat, but just as delicious.
Make chocolate sorbet
Chocolate Chip Cookies 14 of 16
Everyone's favorite cookie isn't exactly good for you. And, since chocolate chip cookies are so tasty, odds are slim that you'll eat just one. Instead, try these lightened-up chocolate chip cookies. They've got a few healthy tricks up their sleeve and come in at about 65 calories a pop for a generously sized cookie. That means your kids (and you!) can enjoy a couple for a satisfying dessert.
Get the recipe here
Image: Brooke McLay
Frozen Yogurt 15 of 16
Making your own frozen yogurt at home is a great way to control the sugar. This recipe features loads of blueberries, for great fruity flavor!
Get the recipe here.
Image: Shaina Olmanson
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 16 of 16
Adding protein to a favorite treat is a great way to boost nutrition. These deliciously chewy cookies feature satisfying ingredients like whole grain oatmeal, flax seeds, and almond meal, and that means they are anything but empty calories!
Get the recipe here.
Image: Macki West
For more kids’ favorites without the guilt, check out 11 healthier takes on junk food classics.
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