Wow everyone at Thanksgiving dinner by bringing a healthy, flavorful, sweet and satisfying dessert to share with friends or family.

Just because you live healthy, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a holiday desert. I find that more and more people have food sensitivities, so I am always on the look out for a healthy gluten and dairy free desert. My latest challenge was finding grain free desert recipes that would be sweet and satisfying to everyone who joins me in a celebration of Thanksgiving.

My healthy Thanksgiving dessert recipes are lighter and healthier versions of your favorite holiday classics. Many of these sweet and healthy desserts can be made ahead, so you can bring them along to wherever you’re having Thanksgiving dinner. Simple, light and healthy options like pudding, mouse or a smoothie maybe just be enough to satisfy that sweet craving and packed with great nutrition.

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1. Chocolate-chia pudding

Vegan, dairy free desert, light and healthy Thanksgiving desert

Chia contains calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and is a great source of protein, fiber and healthy omega-3 fats.

– 1-2 servings
– 1 can of coconut cream
– 1/4 cup of chia seeds
– 1/4 cup of maple syrup
– 1/2 cup of cacao powder

– Pour all ingredients into blender
– Let it sit in blender for 10 minutes to allow chia seed to swell to 10 times their size.
– Once it has formed a tapioca consistency, puree it for 30 seconds or until smooth.
– Pour into serving cups and let it set for 4 hours.
– Top with fresh berries.

healthy thanksgiving desserts_2

Recipe by Dana James

2. Pumpkin pie smoothie

Vegan, dairy free, perfect as a light Thanksgiving desert option.

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut milk has a high saturated fat content. It is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique (known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)) and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. [1]

– 2-3 servings
– 1/1/2 cup pumpkin puree
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 cup crushed ice
– 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 1 tsp ‘Fall’ spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice)
– Maple syrup or pure stevia extract to taste

Blend all ingredients together. Enjoy!

healthy thanksgiving desserts_3

3. Avocado chocolate mousse

Vegan, dairy free, sweet and satisfying desert

Coconut sugar contains a small amount of fiber and a few nutrients, while also having a lower glycemic index than regular sugar [2]. Avocados are packed with healthy fat (monounsaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid), protein (an average avocado contains around 4 grams of protein), potassium (containing more per weight than bananas).

In addition, avocados are rich in vitamin K, Vitamin B9, vitamin B6, vitamin B5 vitamin C, and vitamin E [3].

– 1 cup raw cacao
– 2 Tbsp coconut oil
– 2-4 Tbsp raw coconut sugar
– ½ cup maple syrup
– 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
– ½ tsp organic soy or tamari sauce (I prefer Braggs Liquid Aminos, it’s non-GMO and Gluten Free)
– 2 avocados

Blend all ingredients together. Serves 2.

healthy thanksgiving desserts_1

Recipe by Chef Teton

4. Applesauce cinnamon mold

Gelatin is a good source of protein (6 grams per Tablespoon), collagen and amino acids (it has 18, 9 of which are essential) [4] A lighter option for thanksgiving desert.

– 1/2 cup cinnamon hearts
– 3/4 cups cold water
– 1 tablespoon good quality gelatin (I like Great Lakes Gelatin)
– 1 cup hot water
– Juice of 1 lemon (3 – 4 tablespoons)
– 1/3 cup coconut sugar
– 1 15oz. can applesauce

Add cinnamon hearts to 1/2 cup cold water. Heat. stirring until hearts are melted. Stir gelatin into remaining 1/4 cup cold water. Dissolve thoroughly in 1 cup hot water. Add lemon juice and sugar, stirring until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Add cinnamon water, without cooling, and applesauce. Mold as desired. Serve with a dallop of whipped coconut cream. Serves 8.

5. Baked pumpkin spice doughnuts

Vegetarian, gluten and dairy free, grain free.

Pumpkin is low in calorie, rich in Beta-Carotene, high in Inflammatory Reducing Beta-Cryptoxanthin and good source of Potassium [5]. Pumpkin is a staple for Thanksgiving desert.

– 5 large eggs
– ½ cup coconut milk
– ½ cup pure maple syrup
– ½ cup pumpkin puree (I used organic canned, if you use fresh make sure to get all of the excess liquid out of it)
– ¼ cup coconut oil
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– ¾ cup blanched almond flour
– ½ cup coconut flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
– ½ teaspoon ground ginger
– ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
– ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
– ¼ teaspoon sea salt

*you could also substitute 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice for the spices listed

Dark chocolate glaze

– ¼ cup dark dairy free chocolate, chopped and melted
– 1½ teaspoons coconut oil, melted
– 1 teaspoon raw honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and oil the insides of your doughnut pan really well. I find palm shortening works best.
Place the eggs, coconut milk, pumpkin, maple, coconut oil and vanilla in a blender and blend until frothy, about 15 seconds.
Add the dry ingredients, then blend on low for 10 seconds and on high for about 20 seconds.

*Lower powered blenders make take a little longer and may also require a few stops and scraping down the sides.

Pour the batter into the pan, filling each cavity 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool for 10 minutes before removing the doughnuts from the pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Repeat with your leftover batter.

Chocolate glaze

Whisk all of the ingredients in a shallow bowl until smooth. Dip the top of each doughnut in the chocolate then gently rotate the doughtnut to let the excess glaze drip off. Turn right-side up and place back on the cooling rack. Let set for 5 minutes, then refrigerate for 15 minutes until the glaze has hardened.

Recipe by Danielle Walker – AgainstAllGrain

6. Apple crisp

Vegan, gluten, dairy, egg free, Paleo a sweet and satisfying Thaksgiving desert

Apples are the staple desert of the season. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an old Welsh proverb that most of us are familiar with. Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, dietary fiber and pectin for a good digestion.

– 4-6 apples, sliced
– 2 Teaspoons vanilla, or ½ vanilla bean (seeds scraped out)
– 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, Grade A
– 1 Tablespoon arrowroot
– ¼ Teaspoon cinnamon
– Dash of lemon juice

Topping:

– ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
– ½ cup almond flour
– 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
– ¼ cup maple syrup, Grade A
– pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vanilla, maple syrup, arrowroot, and cinnamon. Add the sliced apples and toss to coat. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the apples into a deep dish pie pan or a 2.2 quart glass baking dish.

Mix together all the topping ingredients until fully combined, the mixture will be sticky. Drop small spoonfuls of the topping over the apples.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is golden and the apple juices are bubbling.

Serve warm with coconut cream.

healthy thanksgiving desserts

 

7. Nut butter chocolate chip cookies

Vegetarian/vegan, gluten, grain and dairy free, Paleo, quick and simple Thanksgiving desert

Simple and quick to make, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with only 5 ingredients needed to make them. Who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? Almond butter for example is ideal for diabetic patients, as it helps balance sugar levels and insulin. Brazil nutbutter is a great source for mineral Selenium. Nut butter is a great source of healthy fats, which are important for regulating your energy, mood, and even your weight.

– 1 large egg or egg substitution (I like to use 1 Tbsp chia soaked in 3-4 Tbsps of water for 10 min)
– 1 cup (250g) almond butter (or cashewbutter), at room temperature or cold (not warm)*
– 1/2 cup (90g) coconut sugar, lightly packed
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 cup (190g) dairy free dark chocolate chips
– 1/2 cup roasted nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C/350F degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment.

Mix the nut butter, baking soda, and sugar. In a medium bowl, beat the egg if using one and add to the mixture. Mix everything together very well. Fold in the chocolate chips until combined.

Scoop the dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheet. Bake two batches – 6 cookies on each baking sheet each. Gently press down on the dough mounds with the back of a spoon, as pictured above. If you find the cookie dough balls are oily-looking from your almond butter, blot each with a paper towel.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked, but that’s ok. For crispy cookies, bake for up to 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies stay fresh stored covered at room temperature for up to 7 days. Cookies freeze well, up to 3 months.

8. Sweet potato cupcakes

Gluten, dairy, grain and egg free, Paleo, sweet and satisfying desert that everyone will love it

Sweet potatoes have superior fiber content, rich in beta-carotene and a great source of manganese, potassium, Vitamins B6, C, E.

– ½ cup roasted sweet potato (see notes above)
– ¼ cup dates (about 5 medjool dates, or about 2.5 ounces)
– ¼ cup coconut milk
– ¼ cup coconut butter
– 3 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
– 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
– 2 tablespoons psyllium husks
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 6 tablespoons coconut flour
– 1½ teaspoon baking powder (grain free)
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Add In Options: orange zest, cranberries, toasted nuts.
– ⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 176C/350F degrees.

To roast your sweet potatoes

Simply scrub your sweet potato clean, prick all over with a fork, and bake in 176C/350F degree oven for about an hour until some of the sugars are seeping out of the holes! It should be oober soft and deflated looking when it comes out of the oven and deflates!

– Place the dates, milk, coconut butter, and coconut oil in a pan and simmer gently a couple of minutes to soften the dates.
– Add the date mixture and sweet potato to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.
– Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until well mixed. Batter will be very thick.
– Use your hands to grab a golf ball size piece of dough, and roll gently in your hands to form a ball.
– Place the balls into a greased mini muffin tin.
– Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

These will keep for several days on the counter in an airtight container.

Topping – cashew banana cream

– 2 medium bananas
– 3/4 cup cashews
– 1/4 cup honey
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 1/3 cup coconut oil
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Add all banana filling ingredients to your blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.

Recipe by Tessa Domestic Diva

It’s hard to save calories during Thanksgiving, especially when your dining room table is full of goodies. Make your indulgences work for you with still-delicious healthy versions of sweet and satisfying desserts.

  1. http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/
  2. http://www.pca.da.gov.ph/coconutrde/images/sugarpdfs/TPTrinidad_FNRI.pdf
  3. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
  4. http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml
  5. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html

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