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Dessert Substitutes

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Dessert is absolutely delicious, divine, and dangerous. One bite turns into another, and the next thing you know it, the whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s is toast. As awesome as dessert is, it really can be the bane to losing weight and body fat as it is mainly processed sugar that is scarce with healthy nutrients. It’s time to start subbing those sweets in with something lower calorie, yet sustainable.

Cue the eye roll. Yes, yes, the idea of trading in a decadent chocolate cake with an apple in the name of health doesn’t sound like a fair trade-off. And you’re right, it’s not. The objective of this post is not to convince you that those two are the same and that eating the apple will miraculously be just as scrumptious as the cake.

People should give in to cravings, on occasion. This is referring to the other 80% of the time where you know you probably shouldn’t be having the Chunky Monkey. Yet, the desire for something sweet is still there. Below are some ideas for things that aren’t exactly going to replicate the dessert you’re after, but will give you some semblance of satisfaction.


Option #1: Greek Yogurt

Now before you burst with outrage, read what goes with it. You can really put anything you like in here but the cool creaminess of the yogurt is similar to that of ice cream. Now this isn’t the full fat greek yogurt, go for the 1-2% stuff.

You can go two routes here: you can buy the ones that already have some fruit in it, or you can buy the plain and make it your own. For the plain, to add some sweetness, honey works very well and it adds a nice silky texture to it. From there you can add berries, bananas, or any fruit you see fit. Even a few chocolate chips won’t hurt.

Option #2: Protein Shake

Hey, these protein flavors come in all sorts of flavors. Chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, fruit flavors, and who knows what else. Blend your favorite protein powder flavor with some sort of milk, a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and you basically, almost, kind of, have yourself a milkshake.

You can make yours however you like but a ripe banana is the key to making sweet and silky. The peanut butter adds some thickness to it, and the milk tends to work better than water.


Option #1: Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

Okay, admittedly not the healthiest item but much better than cake. Try and use whole wheat bread, a nice amount of peanut butter, and a quality jam or jelly. Even a touch of Nutella wouldn’t hurt here because relative to what you would’ve eaten, it’s a much better option.

Option #2: Protein Pancakes

The macronutrients of regular pancake batter actually is not the worst thing in the world. Yes it’s processed flour and has some sugar, but a serving is only a couple hundred calories. Take the mix, add some water, a chocolate flavored protein powder, and you have yourself a nice little treat. Again, throw a couple chocolate chips in and drizzle some honey over it and you’re good to go.


Option #1: Frozen Grapes/Mangoes

Pretty much just like it sounds here, but they are actually so delicious. It has that same crunchiness that candy has and you can pick at it for a while. So if you’re someone that likes to sit back to a movie with some Sour Patch Kids, this might be for you.

Option #2: Homemade Trail Mix

This one can be dangerous because you really do have to pay attention to how much you have since it can get calorically heavy pretty quickly. A nice assortment of nuts, some sort of dried fruit, a light sprinkling of something chocolate, and you’re set.


Again, these aren’t going to be nearly as good as the real deal. But you should understand that going into it. These are just substitutes to prevent you from eating the foods you know aren’t going to help you lose body fat.

Remember with this stuff it’s all about softening the blow. By not completely restricting yourself you don’t feel as if you’re “on a diet”, and you can enjoy these little things like some Nutella, or a handful of chocolate chips. Yes they’re not inherently healthy, but a serving of chocolate chips is maybe 70 calories, a slice of cake is easily 500. That’s what’s meant by “softening the blow.” Give these a try and you might be surprised at how effective they can be.


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