Diane May Nutrition Blog

How To Make Healthier Desserts

November 6th, 2017

With the holidays around the corner, sweet treats become more prevalent.  There is no reason to abstain from enjoying holiday treats.  You just need to learn healthier ways to make scrumptious desserts.  It is important to note that women should not consume more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day (100 calories) and men should not consume more than 9 teaspoons (150 calories) a day. But an occasional indulgence is ok and there are ways to reduce sugar and calories without sacrificing flavor. Below are some swaps to make desserts just as yummy,  less forbidden and increase the nutrition. 

  • Swap 1 cup chickpeas for 1 cup flour-best for brownies and chocolate cake-elevates protein and makes them moist!
  • Swap 1 cup 100% whole wheat flour ( you can use 1/4 cup nut flour with 3/4 cup 100% whole wheat flour as well) for 7/8 cup white flour for all baking needs.
  • Use 1/2 cup of apple sauce or low fat greek yogurt and 1/2 cup oil instead of 1 cup butter or oil.
  • Use 3/4 cup prunes with 1/4 cup boiling water instead of 1 cup of butter.
  • Use 1 cup mashed bananas or pumpkin instead of 1 cup butter or oil.
  • Switch from traditional chocolate chips to coco nibs.
  • Switch from heavy cream to evaporated skim milk or other lower fat dairy options.
  • Try switching 1 Tablespoon of chia and i cup of water (let sit for 15 minutes) instead of 1 egg.
  • When possible, use a whole vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, it adds way more flavor.
  • You can usually, but not always reduce sugar in a recipe by 25%-so for example, if the recipe calls for 6 Tablespoons of sugar, you can reduce it to 5 Tablespoons.

Always make sure you pay attention to portions, even when making healthy swaps. Moderation is key, and enjoy!

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

From: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2007

Ingredients 10 servings


  • Crust 30 small gingersnap cookies, (about 7½ ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil 
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, softened


Active: 20 m

Ready In: 2 h 20 m

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray. To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and freeze the pie for up to 3 days.

Equipment: 9-inch deep-dish pie pan

Tip: To soften frozen yogurt quickly, microwave on Medium-Low for 30 to 60 seconds.

Storage smarts: For long-term freezer storage, wrap your food in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. The plastic will help prevent freezer burn while the foil will help keep off-odors from seeping into the food.

Nutrition information

Serving size: 1 slice

Per serving: 231 calories; 5 g fat(1 g sat); 2 g fiber; 42 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 34 mcg folate; 4 mg cholesterol; 28 g sugars; 26 g added sugars; 4,054 IU vitamin A; 1 mg vitamin C; 111 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 146 mg sodium; 149 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (81% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3