New Recipe: 30 Low-Calorie Dessert Recipes That Still Taste Indulgent 2021

Here’s the thing about low-calorie desserts: They don’t have a black-and-white definition. Because all bodies are different and require varying caloric intakes, what’s considered low-calorie for one person may not be for someone else. However, if you came here looking for specific dessert parameters, there are two basic rules you can follow.

“I recommend treating dessert just like any other snack you may have, and aiming to keep it to about 10% of your total daily calories,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., C.D.C.E.S, a New Jersey-based dietitian and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. For example, if your goal is to eat 2,000 calories per day, you may want to keep dessert around 200 calories.

Another way to go about it, says Mascha Davis, M.P.H., R.D.N, founder of and author of Eat Your Vitamins, is to simply enjoy more nutrient-dense desserts. (Yes, they do exist!)

“This can mean adding in more protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals from other foods besides just sugar,” she says. Traditional low-calorie desserts can leave some people wanting more, and if that’s you, it’s best “to focus on food quality over just calories.”

Even then, there will be days when you just feel like indulging in some good ‘ole ice cream. And survey says, you can do that too. “All foods can fit into a healthy diet,” says Davis. “Restriction can lead to feelings of deprivation and subsequent cravings which for some, may even trigger overeating.” She adds that demonizing certain foods also leads to guilt and shame, which can damage your mental health. “One dessert doesn’t make you unhealthy,” she says. “Your overall intake is what matters the most.”

So, when in doubt, enjoy your dessert! Just balance it with nutrient rich foods throughout the day, says Palinski-Wade. “And if you love dessert and want to enjoy it more than occasionally, there are ways to make it lower in calories and more nutritious with a few simple swaps,” she adds, such as replacing butter with avocado at a one-to-one ratio or trading added sugar for pureed fruit.

Those tips and more are outlined in the below dessert recipes, which are already dietitian-approved and range from about 100 to 300 calories. All you have to do is choose one to make and enjoy!


Chewy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

At 210 calories per serving, if you’re trying to be strict, you could halve one of these when a sweet tooth arrives (or, you know, just enjoy the full cookie!). The best part about is they’re made of simple ingredients: cocoa powder, eggs, chocolate chips, walnuts, and sugar.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Pumpkin Bread with Lemony Cream Cheese

This treat has a little bit of everything: texture, moisture, bright and earthy flavors—and most importantly, it pairs perfectly with a hot cup of coffee.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Pumpkin-Cherry Breakfast Cookies

These protein-packed, nutrient-dense cookies are satisfying and delicious. And if you make one batch, you’ll have dessert (or breakfast!) for a week. They come in at 290 calories, since they’re made with breakfast in mind.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Ginger Molasses Cookies


Mocha Meringue Cookies

With only five ingredients, you’ll be able to whip these up for a midnight snack, no problem. And at just 10 calories a pop, you may want to keep a box stocked!

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Blood Orange-Olive Oil Shortbread

There are so many wonderful things about this sweet, savory snack. 1) It’s not your typical dessert, so you’ll never get bored of it. 2) It’s 95 calories per serving, and 3) can you even handle the colorful cuteness?

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Pumpkin Pie in a Cup

Tuck this one away for when autumn rolls back around, or if you’re a real pumpkin lover, get a head start on the goodness. Either way, this quick, but satiating sweet is bound to transport you to Thanksgiving dinner in the best way, and it’s under 100 calories.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Fruit and Nut Coins

Any goji berry fans out there? These simple and beautiful chocolate discs are the perfect after-dinner delight, and they don’t even require baking.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

Another pick that’s appropriate for breakfast and dessert, these light, airy, and flavorful cookies are only 45 calories per serving. So please, have two… or three.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Almond and Maple Energy Bites

Not only will these satisfy your craving for something sweet, they’ll also give you an energy boost when you need one and are perfect for on-the-go. Bonus: You can freeze them for up to three months.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Clementine Honey Granita

More of a sour person than sweet? We got you. This refreshing, simple granita is the ideal summer sipper—and it tastes better than any snowcone from a street-side stand.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Lightened-Up Mocha Latte


Strawberry-Chocolate Clusters


Coconut Truffles

🎶“If you like piña coladas,” 🎶 then you will love these truffles. One bite will transport you to the beach. They’re 125 calories each, call for three ingredients, and no oven is required to make them.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Lily’s Peanut Butter Cup and Almond Butter

This is basically what you’d get if you took the bread out of a PB&J and replaced it with peanut butter cups. According to Davis, it’s got so much fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats that she thinks of it more as a snack than a dessert.

Get the recipe from Nomadista Nutrition »


Roasted Figs with Coconut Whip


Chocolate Banana Nice Cream


Coconut Chia Pudding

A great substitute for when you’ve grown tired of dessert oatmeal, this chia pudding will fill you up without sacrificing any sweet. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be just dessert, either. It’s breakfast- and light lunch-worthy, too.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Blood Orange and Coconut Chia Pudding


Sugar-Free Cinnamon Roll

Not only does this treat taste “just like Cinnabon,” per Palinski-Wade, it contains zero added sugar and can be whipped up in just two minutes! It’s her twist on the viral mug cake trend, and you won’t regret trying it

Get the recipe from Erin Palinski-Wade »


Pomegranate Orange Tart

This is a fancier pick that’s great for special occasions, or if you just feel like treating yourself. It calls for almond flour, agar agar, and pomegranate molasses. At about 300 calories a slice, it’s a winner.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Roasted Pears with Vegan Salted Caramel

If you’re one to often crave a balance of salty and sweet, look no further than this simple, but extremely satisfying dessert. After making the vegan caramel topping, you’ll want to drizzle it on everything.

Get the recipe from Prevention »


Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

If you’re sick of making bread with your overripe bananas, try this yummy recipe instead and say goodbye to your chocolate chip cookie cravings. They’re only 64 calories per serving, to boot.

Get the recipe from Erin Palinski-Wade »


High-Protein Cake Pops

Forget wanting a slice of cake—the equal crunch and fluff of cake pops are even more satisfying. And these special ones are made of only four ingredients: dark chocolate, oats, peanut butter, and chocolate protein powder.

Get the recipe from Erin Palinski-Wade »


Chocolate Chip Prune Cookies

This one’s for those who can never decide between oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip—why not (kind of) both? This recipe is a great example of swapping added sugar for pureed fruit.

Get the recipe from Erin Palinski-Wade »


Chickpea Chocolate Chip Vegan Cookie Dough


Wild Blueberry Nice Cream with Edible Flowers

You may not even want to eat this one because of how pretty it is, but just wait until you taste it. As Gorin puts it, “You’re eating the same ingredients that you might put into a smoothie or fruit salad, but you just happen to be making them into a dessert.”

Get the recipe from Amy Gorin Nutrition »

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