25 Desserts That Satisfy Cravings—Minus the Sugar Crash

When I’m really craving a sweet treat, sometimes indulging in store-bought cookies and desserts packed with preservatives can kill the vibe. I’m more for sweets that don’t leave you feeling overly full or with a sugar-induced hangover, especially when the holidays roll around, and healthy eating isn’t always on the table. If a lighter option sounds up your alley, you’re in for a treat—both figuratively and literally.

This collection of recipes might just change the way you formulate desserts. From fruit-filled to creamy concoctions, these light dessert recipes will satisfy your taste buds without the tummy trouble. They’re sweet escapes that prove you don’t have to compromise on indulgence to feel your best.

25 Light Desserts for Every Craving

Most of us tend to go for light desserts during the hot summer months—think popsicles, sorbet, and granita—but these recipes do the trick beautifully all year long. Sometimes, you just need something on the refreshing side, no matter the season. Be sure to bookmark these tasty treats, because each is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. (Even if the crowd in question is simply you and a good book.)

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why We Love It: With flecks of dark chocolate and sea salt, these chewy pumpkin cookies boast the perfect amount of sweetness without going overboard. While I love these cookies paired with a PSL, they’re perfect for any time of year.

Hero Ingredient: Pumpkin puree is the hero here.

healthy oatmeal cookies_light desserts

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Why We Love It: Oatmeal cookies are one of the first recipes that come to mind when I’m craving a lighter dessert option—sometimes, I even grab one of these for breakfast! What’s a better way to start your morning?

Hero Ingredient: Coconut flakes give these cookies a unique texture and sweetness.

cinnamon baked apples

Easy Cinnamon Baked Apples

Why We Love It: The ease of these baked apples makes it hard to resist baking on a chilly evening. Simply toss together the ingredients and let the goodness bake away. Serve with vanilla ice cream for a simple dessert or over yogurt and granola for a light breakfast.

Hero Ingredient: These apples bake in a healthy serving of honey, creating a delicious caramelized sauce that isn’t overly sweet.

chocolate chip tahini shortbread cookies_light desserts

Chocolate Chip Tahini Shortbread Cookies

Why We Love It: This recipe was shared with us by Daphne Oz—who may have just nailed the best light dessert recipe. Shortbread cookies are a year-round favorite, but when combined with savory ingredients like tahini and sesame seeds, they’re a whole different level of indulgence.

Hero Ingredient: Tahini is the star of this show.

no bake white chocolate lemon cardamom slices

No Bake White Chocolate Lemon Cardamom Slices

Why We Love It: No-bake desserts are some of my absolute favorites, and these lemon cardamom slices are no exception. Bound together by the rich flavor of white chocolate and the warmth of cardamom, these bite-sized slices are perfectly balanced and not too heavy.

Hero Ingredient: This no-bake dessert wouldn’t be the same without the added cardamom spice.

no bake pumpkin pie bars light desserts

No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars

Why We Love It: This may be a controversial opinion, but pumpkin pie shouldn’t only be eaten during the fall months. If you’re not a fan of the pie-baking process, these no-bake pumpkin pie bars are a tasty and simple alternative with the same great flavors.

Hero Ingredient: The pumpkin butter filling adds a light and sweet taste to each bite.

gluten-free pumpkin pie

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Why We Love It: If you do love the pie-baking process, this gluten-free pumpkin pie is a great way to enjoy a classic dessert without some of the heavier ingredients included in traditional recipes.

Hero Ingredient: Cashews form the base of this recipe’s whipped cream. It’s a vegan trick that I can’t get enough of.

apple crumble_light desserts

Healthy & Easy Apple Crumble

Why We Love It: This apple crumble is the best way to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard. Apple and cinnamon are a great flavor combo, and adding those flavors to a healthy dish creates a delicious make-ahead dessert.

Hero Ingredient: Pumpkin pie spice emphasizes the fall flavors.

summer fruit fools light desserts

Summer Fruit Fools

Why We Love It: This fruit fool is a great summer dessert with light and fresh flavors. The fruit is up to your discretion—anything from cherries to mangoes can make a show-stopping dessert. The whipped cream filling is a great complement to the bursting fruit flavors.

Hero Ingredient: Mixing in some lemon zest balances out the sweet fruit with a little citrusy tang.

gluten-free, dairy-free brownies light desserts

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brownies

Why We Love It: As a kid, boxed brownies were always a staple dessert in my household (no shame there). These gluten-free brownies are worth the little added effort and can be made in just one bowl!

Hero Ingredient: The almond butter calms the sugar rush you’d get from traditional brownies.

plum lavender clafoutis

Plum Lavender Clafoutis

Why We Love It: This beautiful baked dessert is the perfect way to live out your French countryside dreams wherever you are. Not to mention the flavors are light with a hint of sweetness that differs from your typical chocolate and sugar-heavy recipes.

Hero Ingredient: Without question, the crushed lavender petals are the beauty of this dish.

grilled peaches with honey_light desserts

Grilled Peaches with Honey

Why We Love It: Grilled desserts aren’t something you see on every menu, but the peaches’ natural sweetness contrasted by a sprinkle of salt creates the best summery dish.

Hero Ingredient: A drizzle of honey is the perfect sweet finish.

mango lassi popsicles

Mango Lassi Popsicles

Why We Love It: These mango lassi popsicles look and taste ten times better than your typical freezer popsicles, and they only take six steps! Drizzle with melted white chocolate and decorate with rose petals for a pretty finish.

Hero Ingredient: The coconut milk and mango pairing brings out all of the tropical flavors.

rhubarb meringue cake light desserts

Rhubarb Meringue Cake

Why We Love It: Rhubarb is one of my top ingredients to work with during the warmer months. This meringue cake utilizes the bold flavors of this fresh fruit in the best way possible. Stunning doesn’t even begin to explain how we feel about this dessert.

Hero Ingredient: Plain, whole milk yogurt gives your light, fluffy cake a nice little tang.

gluten-free strawberry shortcake

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake

Why We Love It: The nostalgia that comes with baking strawberry shortcake is unmatched. This cake is fluffy and filled with fresh fruit flavors, and the sweetness isn’t overwhelming. It’s also a bit lighter and flakier than your traditional shortcake.

Hero Ingredient: Opting for maple syrup is a great way to tone down the sweetness in this recipe without eliminating it entirely.

raspberry tiramisu_light desserts

Raspberry Tiramisu

Why We Love It: Tiramisu in any form is the way to my heart. Pairing with a sweet and flavorful fruit like raspberries is a great way to be the star of any summer party.

Hero Ingredient: A light dusting of bittersweet chocolate over top makes this a must-have dessert.

Shrikhand_light desserts

Shrikhand

Why We Love It: If you’ve never had Shrikhand (or even if you have) this recipe is a must-try, and it only requires five ingredients! The yogurt’s creaminess pairs perfectly with fruit, nuts, or anything your heart (er, stomach) desires.

Hero Ingredient: This recipe would not be complete without Greek yogurt as its base.

spiced sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting_light desserts

Spiced Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Why We Love It: Nothing pairs better than sweet potato desserts and cream cheese frosting. Fortunately for you, this dish contains both—and in cake form! Who could say no?

Hero Ingredient: The tanginess of grated orange zest beautifully supports these sweet, warm flavors.

carrot cake cupcakes

Gluten-Free, Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Why We Love It: Making an entire carrot cake usually doesn’t fit into my busy schedule, but these cupcakes are the perfect alternative. They’re gluten-free and vegan, sweetened by natural flavors, and moistened by coconut oil and flax egg.

Hero Ingredient: The texture in these cupcakes is all due to the walnuts and shredded carrots.

Almond and Blackberry Cream Pavlova

Almond and Blackberry Cream Pavlova

Why We Love It: If you’re intimidated by a pavlova, try this scrumptious recipe as an entry point. It’s as easy as it is delicious, promise!

Hero Ingredient: Orange zest and juice in the berry cream bring all kinds of fresh, citrusy goodness to the table.

Blueberry Ginger and Coconut Cream Parfait

Blueberry Ginger and Coconut Cream Parfait

Why We Love It: Take this as confirmation that parfaits aren’t just for breakfast. They’re a perfect light dessert any time of the year—a refreshing cool-off in the summer and something light amidst all the winter holiday indulgence.

Hero Ingredient: Gingersnap cookies bring just the right amount of texture and crunch to these creamy concoctions.

Lavender PIstachio Madeleines, light desserts

Lavender Pistachio Madeleines

Why We Love It: Lavender and pistachio add a bit of summer flair to these classic French cakey cookies. Make them for school lunches, after-dinner desserts, or anytime-snacking. They truly are a madeleine of all trades.

Hero Ingredient: A simple lemon glaze sends these over the edge.

Blood Orange Amaretto Mascarpone Trifles

Blood Orange Amaretto Mascarpone Trifles

Why We Love It: Once you try this absolutely decadent dessert, you’ll be shocked to find that A) it is surprisingly light, and B) it was born of a cake disaster. You have to taste it to believe it!

Hero Ingredient: Three words: whipped amaretto mascarpone.

Raspberry and Pistachio Cake with Lemon Glaze, light desserts

Raspberry and Pistachio Cake With Lemon Glaze

Why We Love It: If you think a cake can’t be light, think again! This gorgeous option has a seriously light vibe.

Hero Ingredient: I just love it when cakes are infused with pistachio flavor. The nut will give your cake a distinctly buttery bite with just the right amount of crunch.

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars, light desserts

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Why We Love It: With only ten steps, this lemon bar recipe is absolutely perfect in every way. It uses a thicker crust, which I’ve always preferred, and boasts a perfectly zesty lemon flavor to complement the buttery base. It’ll make your taste buds tingle in the best way possible.

Hero Ingredient: The great thing about powdered sugar is that it’s capable of covering mistakes. But how many mistakes can a dessert really have? Either way, it’s sweet and pillowy and just plain delicious. Plus, it’s so fun to sift over the top.

This post was last updated on February 11, 2023.

This Superfood Is Known to Balance Blood Sugar and Boost Digestion—We’re Obsessed

In the ever-evolving world of superfoods, there’s a humble contender worth the pantry space. With its impressive nutrients and versatility, say hello to lupini beans—the unsung heroes of legumes. Beyond their nutritional profile, lupini beans couldn’t be easier to incorporate. Whether you’re a fiber fanatic, a hormone-balancing queen, or home chef with a knack for creativity, add lupini beans to your grocery list. From snacking beans and salads—to pastas and hummus—there’s no shortage of ways to use lupini beans. Let’s revolutionize your meals with these nutrient-packed gems.

Featured image by Suruchi Avasthi.

What are lupini beans?

Lupini beans—also known as lupin beans—are a type of legume. They’re oval-shaped and come in various neutral colors. A close relative of peas, their history runs deep. For centuries, they’ve been a Middle Eastern dietary staple. But they’ve started filling more grocery aisles, thanks to their impressive nutritional profile. Lupini beans are renowned for their high protein content, making them an excellent source of plant-based protein! On top of that, lupini beans are rich in dietary fiber, low in fat, and are naturally gluten-free.

What do lupini beans taste like?

Lupini beans have a nutty flavor and slightly mealy texture. Because of this, they’re a versatile ingredient in a range of dishes and cuisines. That said, they need to be soaked properly and fully cooked. Otherwise, lupini beans are super bitter—due to their alkaloids. You can buy them whole or enjoy them ground, as a snacking bean, or even as a low-carb pasta. No matter your preference, this is a protein-packed and fiber-rich plant food to add to your repertoire.

Image by Michelle Nash

Health Benefits of Lupini Beans

When prepared properly (more on this, below), lupini beans have an impressive nutritional composition. Here are a few key health benefits:

High in protein

Lupini beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, one cup of lupini beans contains over 60 grams of protein! This is an ideal choice for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike.

Rich in fiber

Like most beans and legumes, lupini beans are high in dietary fiber. This encourages digestive health, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and aids in both satiety and weight management. Speaking of digestive health, they’re known to promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Low in fat

Lupini beans are naturally low in fat—particularly, saturated fat. They’re a heart-healthy choice that can mitigate the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, some studies suggest that lupini beans may help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

Naturally gluten-free

Whether you’re gluten sensitive or have celiac disease, lupini beans are naturally gluten-free.

Contain essential nutrients

Lupini beans are a good source of essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, which contribute to overall health and well-being. In particular, these minerals help maintain strong bones.

Support stable blood sugar

Thanks to their fiber and protein, lupini beans can help stabilize blood sugar levels. This is key for energy, hormone health, and minimizing long-term chronic conditions, like diabetes.

Reduce inflammation

These beans contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, which can help protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation.

Image by Suruchi Avasthi

How to Properly Prepare Lupini Beans

If you’re cooking lupini beans the old-school way (raw beans to boiled goodness), you’ll need a bit of time. Read: 5-7 days. If that’s not in your wheelhouse, try lupini beans in the form of pre-packaged snacking bean or pasta. That said, if you’re down to make them from scratch, we promise it’s easy. Although the soaking process takes time, it’s necessary. The end result? A tender, slightly nutty-flavored bean that you can use in salads, soups, spreads, etc.

Ingredients:

  • Dried lupini beans
  • Water
  • Salt (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Inspect and rinse. Examine dried lupini beans for any debris or stones. Discard any damaged beans. Rinse the beans under cold running water.
  2. Soak in cold water. Place the cleaned lupini beans in a large bowl or pot, and cover them with cold water. Use about 3 to 4 cups of water for every cup of dried lupini beans. The beans will expand as they soak—make sure there’s enough water to keep them fully submerged.
  3. Add salt. This is optional, but adding salt to the soaking water will help with the beans’ bitterness. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt per cup of beans.
  4. Soak. Lupini beans require an extended soaking period, typically ranging from 5-7 days. During this time, change the water daily. The beans will gradually expand and absorb water.
  5. Test for bitterness. After 5-7 days, taste a lupini bean to check for bitterness. If the bitterness is still present, continue soaking and changing the water daily until it’s mostly gone. The time required may vary depending on the beans (and your preference).
  6. Boil and rinse. Once the lupini beans are no longer bitter, it’s time to cook them! Transfer the beans to a large pot, cover them with fresh water, and bring them to a boil. Boil the beans for about 15-20 minutes. This step also helps remove any remaining bitterness. Drain the boiled lupini beans and rinse them under cold water.
  7. Use as desired. Your soaked and cooked lupini beans are now ready to be used in various recipes.
Image by Suruchi Avasthi

7 Ways to Add Lupini Beans to Your Diet

Not sure how to incorporate lupini beans into your favorite meals? Fortunately, you can savor these beans in many forms.

Snacking beans

A convenient and nutritious snack, they’re typically sold brined or pickled. Just rinse them well to remove excess salt, and you’re ready to relish their nutty flavor. Add them to a charcuterie board or enjoy with sliced veggies and tzatziki.

Pasta

You can find lupini bean pasta in various shapes and sizes! Best of all, they can easily be swapped for regular noodles. Try our red pepper pasta or our vegan cauliflower mac and cheese.

Hummus

Did you know that lupini beans can be used as an alternative to chickpeas? Enter: hummus. The result is a creamy and flavorful lupini bean hummus that pairs perfectly with pita bread, veggies, or as a sandwich spread.

Salads

Add cooked lupini beans to any salad for an extra boost of protein and fiber. They’re a fantastic addition to green salads, grain bowls, or mixed with lentils for a hearty bean salad.

Soups

Toss lupini beans into soups and stews. They add a rich, creamy texture and a unique flavor. We love them best in this curry butternut squash soup.

Spreads

Along with hummus, make a lupini bean spread by blending the beans with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Serve as a dip or spread on sandwiches and crackers.

Veggie burgers

Make vegetarian or vegan lupini bean burgers! Simply mash cooked lupini beans with ingredients for our sweet potato falafel burgers.

9 Genius Tips to Kick Your Sugar Cravings—for Good

Hot take: If you asked me how to curb your sugar cravings, I’d respond with three simple words: Just eat it. The cookie, the ice cream—whatever sweet foods your cravings call for. I know, not exactly the advice you’d expect from a health coach, but by keeping an intuitive eating approach in mind and equipped with all the healthy hacks from the Glucose Goddess herself, sugar isn’t so scary anymore. (Hint: The trick lies in how you eat it.)

To be fair, I’d ask you a couple of questions before instructing you to throw self-control out the window and eat to your heart’s desire. What you ate for breakfast, (sorry, vanilla lattes don’t count), how you slept last night, and your current menstrual phase all impact blood sugar more than you’d expect—until you finish this article, that is, *wink*. But the biggest impact on sugar cravings? Your blood sugar. Keep reading for both long- and short-term tips for how to curb sugar cravings for good.

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

Image by Michelle Nash

Why do we crave sugar?

Our body is communicating with us all the time. When we learn to listen to its cues, we can give our body exactly what it needs to keep thriving. One (not-so-subtle) example of how our body communicates with us: sugar cravings.

Let’s set the scene. You just arrived home from a long day. Suddenly, your taste buds take over and a little voice in your head whispers, wouldn’t a sweet snack be PERFECT right now? This is your body’s way of communicating that your blood sugar is about to crash—and you need something sweet to bring it back into balance. Whenever our blood sugar levels spike, a crash ensues. The after-effects of this crash are the main reason sugar cravings occur.

Image by Michelle Nash

Remember: Life’s Too Short to Not Eat Sweets

Hear me out. Eating high-sugar foods is totally fine on occasion. While there are many benefits to a sugar-free diet and lifestyle, being too fixated on “clean eating” can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food down the road.

Don’t get me wrong: limiting added sugar in our diet is important to our long-term health and wellness. But a holistically healthy lifestyle means looking at things big picture, and sugary foods eaten in moderation can be a part of a healthy diet. Especially when we’ve implemented sustainable habits like prioritizing sleep, movement, and mental health.

My personal strategy for how to curb sugar cravings is to eat a little sugar every once in a while like it’s no big deal—because the way you think about food affects the nutrition you take in.

Now that some of the shame and fear around eating sugar is hopefully dispelled, let’s talk about strategies for how to quit your so-called sugar addiction and incorporate these sweet snacks into your healthy-living diet.

Image by Michelle Nash

How to Curb Sugar Cravings in the Long-Term

Pay Attention to Your Menstrual Cycle

There’s a reason women crave chocolate and ice cream during our time of the month. Scientists speculate that female sex hormones cause an instability in blood sugar (which leads to higher glucose spikes, crashes, and sugar cravings) and that sex hormones cause an increase in appetite.

In the luteal phase specifically, the female body requires more calories to function. While everybody (and every body) is different, the average increase in calorie requirement is around 300 calories per day during this phase of the menstrual cycle. Increasing calorie intake slightly can help stabilize blood sugar and keep sugar cravings at bay. This is also a great opportunity to add cycle syncing into the mix. During certain phases of your cycle, when these cravings for sweeter foods and carbohydrates arises, respond accordingly! Opting for berries, dark chocolate, whole grains, and functional spices like cinnamon can help you avoid excess sugar consumption and keep your sugar intake in check. Making smart sugar swaps, rather than going cold turkey, is a solid solution.

Prioritize Sleep Hygiene

Sleep quality has a huge impact on sugar cravings. When we are sleep deprived, our body’s ability to metabolize blood glucose is impaired. If you wake up after eight hours of perfect sleep and have a piece of fruit on an empty stomach, it might not cause a blood sugar crash. But another day, after only six hours of sleep, the same piece of fruit can lead to a huge crash in blood sugar.

A poor night’s sleep also affects our hunger hormones. Leptin and ghrelin, our hunger hormones, play key roles in dictating appetite, and a lack of sleep has been shown to impact these hormones and increase hunger cues. What’s more, poor sleep makes us crave higher-calorie foods. So if you’re wondering how to curb sugar cravings, prioritize getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Image by Michelle Nash

Have a piece of fruit

My personal strategy to fight sugar cravings on the spot is usually to eat something sweet. (I know, revolutionary.) I find that giving my body what it needs is a gentle and intuitive approach to healthy living.

Whenever I’m having sugar cravings, I look to fruit first. Usually, mango, watermelon, or nectarines do the trick for me. Not only are you getting a boost of antioxidants (without having too much sugar), but fruit is full of fiber and will balance your blood sugar better than a piece of candy or cake. Not to mention the many vitamins and minerals in fresh fruit that are so important for long-term health and wellness.

Drink An Adrenal Cocktail 

An adrenal cocktail is a hormone-supporting beverage. It often contains citrus to satisfy your sweet tooth and is full of electrolytes and minerals for added hydration.

But when it comes to adrenal cocktails, proceed with caution. Because fruit juice is stripped of fiber, it’s not the best option for stabilizing blood sugar. However, if you pair the functional beverage with a handful of almonds or a scoop of high-fat coconut cream, you can keep your blood sugar stable and cravings at bay.

Eat Dates with Nut Butter

Dried fruit has a higher amount of sugar than fresh fruit. This means that dried picks are more likely to spike blood sugar and drive sugar cravings. But pairing dates with high-protein nut butter that’s full of healthy fats can give us the stable blood sugar boost our body needs. A quick snack of dates and nut butter can satisfy your sugar cravings while also giving you an extra bit of fiber, iron, potassium, and loads of other vitamins and minerals.

Image by Michelle Nash

The Best Way to Indulge in Sugar Cravings

Take an Apple Cider Vinegar shot

Yep, it’s true. Drinking apple cider vinegar, or topping your salad with dressing before eating something sweet, helps reduce the blood sugar spike, crash, and sugar cravings. I call this a WIN. Just be sure to dilute ACV in water prior to drinking.

Think About Food Order

How you eat your food matters. The best way to eat any meal is by eating the highest fiber foods first, then protein, fat, and starches last. But please don’t rip apart your sandwich and eat it piece by piece. These rules are supposed to enhance your life, not make it more complicated. Prioritizing a plate of high-fiber vegetables, like a salad, before every meal is a simple way to implement this healthy hack.

Enjoy Mindful Movement

Moving your body, whether it’s doing jumping jacks, squats, or taking a walk around the block, lowers the spike in blood sugar after eating sweets. This is an incredibly powerful trick on the days when sugar cravings are at an all-time high.

It doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to take long. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, do some chores around the house, or pump up the music and dance to your favorite song.

Pair Your sugar With Protein, Fiber, and Fat

Think back to the dates and nut butter snack above—you can apply this formula anytime you’re craving something sweet. Look for foods to eat alongside sweet treats that are high in fiber, fat, and protein. These macronutrients slow down our digestion, which slows down the release of sugar into our bloodstream, and therefore lessens sugar cravings. Easy snacks to have on hand are prosciutto, cheese, or my personal favorite, a boiled egg. 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.