5 Vegan Hacks to Make Your Dessert Healthier
1. USE NATURAL SWEETENERS
Many studies indicate that white sugar is unhealthy because it is stripped of all its natural minerals. When this stripping process occurs, white sugar becomes nothing more than empty calories that spike blood sugar and cause a rollercoaster of insulin resistance, cravings, and crashes. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy dessert now and then, because vegan alternatives such as date syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup are available at nearly every grocery store. Swapping one of these natural sweeteners for granulated sugar in one of your go-to recipes
2. SKIP THE GLUTEN
There are ranges of gluten intolerance, and many people are sensitive to this substance. Sure, gluten may not give you awful abdominal pain or make you break out in hives, but if you feel a bit bloated or sluggish after consuming gluten, you may want to consider trying a few gluten-free desserts. Thankfully, the gluten-free trend is still going strong, and bakers have innovated to the point where you truly cannot tell the difference between a gluten-full and a gluten-free cupcake.
3. RE-THINK YOUR DESSERT
Dessert doesn’t always have to be a chocolate-chip cookie. Plenty of whole, plant-based foods provide natural sweetness to calm most cravings. For instance, a sticky-sweet roasted sweet potato glazed in maple syrup, frozen cotton candy grapes, and juicy Medjool dates stuffed with nut butter are all worthy of being deemed a sweet treat.
4. FILL UP ON (HEALTHY) FAT
If you eat a diet that is low in fat, it’s more than likely you will struggle with an insatiable sweet tooth. Fat stabilizes Blood-sugar levels and prevents the highs and lows following a meal comprised of refined flours and sugars. Healthy fat options that just happen to be vegan include tahini, olive oil, avocados, and nut butter. Almonds or cashews can also be an excellent source of fat and protein that help satisfy your appetite, support a healthy diet, and curb cravings.
5. CUT DOWN ON OIL
Oil-free is a big trend in the health space, and for good reason. Oil—whether it’s coconut or canola—is the most calorically dense substance you can eat yet provides no significant amount of nutrients. Most oils are also high in saturated fats, which should always be kept in moderation to avoid excess inflammation and heart disease. Unfortunately, oil is an integral part of many baked goods—it’s what makes many desserts moist and tender. It’s hard to completely eliminate oil from baked goods, but you can reduce it. Applesauce is a solid replacement, particularly in cakes, brownies, and quick breads. The next time you make your famous banana bread, try swapping half the amount of oil for applesauce. Nut butter also works in recipes that are naturally dense (like that banana bread).