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Need ideas for something else now....low fat/low-sugar deserts that actually taste good!

On my mission to lose weight I am trying to not skimp on the protein/carb, etc. foods (for ex. for dinner and lunch) that I really enjoy and instead skimp on the things I don't absolutely need (i.e. desert)... But of course, I crave chocolate regularly... so...

any ideas for low-fat/low-sugar deserts? Don't have to be low carb - I am trying to watch my fat intake and not take in a giant amount of sugar...

Only 2 things - I don't use splenda or artificial sweeteners and I truly dislike whipped cream (yes I do know how weird that is!) Other than that any ideas truly welcome!


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  1. When my mom was in Weight Watchers in the eighties, they gave her a recipe for a cappucino flavored blender "mousse." I still make it from time to time when I want something a little sweet but with some redeeming nutritional value. It's basically powdered milk, instant espresso, ground cinnamon, a bit of sugar, and powdered unsweetened gelatin, thickened with ice. I can look up the formula if it's of interest to you, let me know.

    I also think a small amount of chocolate goes a long way, though for some it's a challenge to stick with the small amount. There are some good dessert recipes in Sally Schneider's cookbooks, in particular one called The Art of Low Calorie Cooking that may be out of print. It's usually on eBay for not much--the chocolate chestnut truffles are genius, as is the pineapple upside down cake based on sponge. She treats fruit well in A New Way to Cook, though fruit desserts aren't always low calorie, it's all about portion control.

    Lastly, one of my favorite desserts is a few dates, split and stuffed with walnuts or thick yogurt cheese or chevre. When figs are in season, they're good this way, too. Berries with greek yogurt and honey is another favorite. A little good cheese and a nice piece of fruit are a satisfying winter dessert, as are poached pears or compotes with citrus, flavored with vanilla bean, etc.

    1. Low sugar and no sugar substitutes compounds the challenge. Try any variety of rice pudding and use chopped dates or prunes (they're called dried plums today) to sweeten it up. You can chop the fruit and cook it down in a bit of water to make a syrup that will distribute the sweetness of the fruit more evenly throughout your pudding.

      1. I melt a small amount of really nice dark chocolate, and dip fruit in it (berries, oranges, nectarine, apple...). Not fancy or anything I'd give guests but tasty. I just take maybe 1/4 or 1/5 of a bar and melt in a little bowl.

        1. I love berries with Cointreau and/or Limoncello on. I usually put Splenda on but you wouldn't have to.

          1. I made this chocolate sorbet for a party last night and it was really good and VERY chocolaty so even if it does have a ton of sugar in it, you don't need to eat a ton of it. It is very low fat. Good with some fruit on the side.

            I also once tried a recipe for pouring caramel sauce over sliced oranges. Yum.

            Other than that, when we were in our weight loss mode we ate a lot of small portion ice cream sandwiches and popsicles. Still sugary of course, but smaller portions satisfied the sweet cravings. (we lost 70 pounds between the two of us without ever touching Splenda & co).

            1. Microwave Diet Cookery by Marcia Stone and Thelma Snyder, 1988
              You can get it at half.com for under $1 + shipping
              No artificial sweeteners used in the book, and oil is used primarily for seasoning. Balanced menus set up to provide fiber, low fat & sugar, and seasonally sourced with calorie counts, desserts, snacks, and planning advice. A good idea starter even if you don't intend to make everything in the microwave.

              I've made a quick microwaved custard with old bananas, eggs (or egg whites only), and cinnamon, although cocoa powder could also be used to replace the cinnamon. Put into a custard cup (or mug) and microwave under a paper towel. Turn over onto a plate and drizzle with honey.

              1. I'm all about the scrumptious but ultra healthy desserts. My go to favorite is tossing sliced apples with cinnamon, a healthy pinch of salt and some lemon and then baking with some oats tossed with a teaspoon (+) of molasses sugar and a spritz of oil. We get a lot of ugly apples in our csa box, so this kills 2 birds with one stone. Also, cooked custards w egg can be made pretty healthy and are satisfying, too. Also, epi.com has some good yogurt based custards that are thickened w gelatin; I've had great luck with one with cardamom and orange sauce.

                And stewed plums with cardamom over yogurt is always yummy.

                As for chocolate... I have a stash of good stuff tucked away and am allowed a little here or there.

                1. Not dieting here, but I like to make weeknight desserts from time to time, and try to keep them from being too unhealthy. Yoghurt panna cotta, creme caramel (low fat milk, eggs and a bit of sugar - skip the caramel and just sprinkle over some maple syrup), home made jelly (I like to make my own fruit juices, but good bought juice is great too), banana bread made partially with wholewheat flour, light on the chocolate and heavy on the nuts. I'm going to try tuile biscuits next. Oh, I also like cheese (cream cheese is fine, too) and fruit butter spread on a cracker. Or peanut butter with sliced apples and cinnamon on toast! Or grilled grapefruit halves barely sprinkled with brown sugar.

                  Mmm, now I want dessert.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gooseberry

                    Just to clarify, I assume by homemade jelly, you mean a gelatine dessert, what in the US we gemerically call jello (actually a brand name). Because here jelly means something else, but I'm sure you know that!

                  2. Quick 'n' dirty fruit sorbet: take any kind of frozen fruit - peaches or strawberries or cherries that you've prepped yourself and frozen, or frozen mixed berries from the store. Throw it in the Cuisinart. Process. Add a little Splenda, maybe a little cream. Don't process too much, just until the big chunks are gone. Spoon into bowls. If it gets too runny, refreeze, and reprocess a little.

                    It's almost entirely fruit, but it tastes and looks like a fancy treat. On low-carb diets you can add a dollop of whipped cream.

                    I buy a flat of fresh local peaches every summer and peel, slice and freeze them so I can have peach sorbet throughout the winter. Almost any fruit or melon will work.

                    1. I'm with you on the ban of artificial sweeteners and I also truly dislike whipped cream! My favorite "lite" desserts revolve around fruit. I make a great lemon-buttermilk sorbet and top it with pureed berries (whatever I have in the freezer). I also make a sugar-free apple butter that I mix with plain low-fat yogurt or use to replace oils in pumpkin or banana breads.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: RosemaryHoney

                        More info on lemon-buttermilk sorbet please.

                        Sounds lovely. And I have buttermilk in the fridge that is begging for me to cook with it.

                      2. I'm currently cooking my way through Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite, and his banana oat muffins are scrumptious. He does use real butter and sugar, but it works out at between 5-10 grams per portion, so not loads.

                        He also has a recipe for vanilla pannacotta using semi-skimmed milk and yoghurt which sounds yummy.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: greedygirl

                          I tried finding that yogurt panna cotta recipe online, but no luck. Would you mind passing it along? it sounds so good.

                        2. Brandied fruit-even canned will perk up with a dose of brandy mixed with the fruit juice (not syrup) you can use peach and pear halves, apples with the core scooped out- douse with brandy and add a maraschino cherry for colour and bake for 1/2 hour in a 350 oven.

                          Expresso 'Jello'- sweetened (with whatever you like) and gelled with Knox gelatin, then topped with whatever topping you want to sustitute for the whipped cream ( that I use)and twist of lemon.This looks very elegant in a parfait glass or even tiny demi-tasse cups...a nice end to a meal

                          Lemon Snow-you will find the recipe in most old-fashioned cookbooks- a meringue based mix of lemon and egg white that works just as well with Splenda...jazz it up and do it with lime for a St. Patricks day theme (coming up soon, I hope as it always seems like the end of winter!

                          1. I can't believe I forgot about yogurt cream--take FF yogurt and spoon it into a coffee filter over a cup and let drain; soon it will have the consistency of Greek yogurt, in a few hours it will have the consistency of sour cream, overnight cream cheese. You can use it to replace cream cheese or sour cream in both sweet and savoury dishes, baked or uncooked.

                            This can be flavoured before draining; I've mixed grated ginger or cinnamon into it, as well as orange peels.

                            Replace butter in baked goods with bananas or applesauce (better for breads and muffins, carrot cake).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Caralien

                              good suggestion, i love the versatility of yogurt cheese!

                              for a quick, simple weeknight dessert, i just top yogurt cheese or greek yogurt with a little maple syrup (or maple sugar) and a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a drizzle of agave nectar and a few gratings of high-quality dark chocolate.

                            2. Here's a recipe that I just sent to my daughter. She's always looking for something fairly healthy, and low sugar for my two year old grandson. I haven't tried it myself, but I'm sure you could add a few chocolate chips to help with that craving. When I'm dieting, I always look for something with crunch, so this seems to fill the bill.

                              1. Lately I've been having a lot of Greek yogurt for dessert, fat-free, it's very satisfying and healthy and low in calories. Either flavored (I don't know how much sugar these have), or plain with a drizzle of honey, plus some berries and maybe a sprinkling of granola.

                                You can also try just keeping high-quality dark chocolate around and having a couple of squares after dinner - depends on if you can stop at just a couple of squares! It's easier with the dark stuff, a little goes a long way.

                                If you like frozen desserts, check out the Skinny Cow products, especially the ice cream sandwiches - I know they are low fat and low cal, and I think they are tasty. (Again, not sure of the sugar content . . .).

                                1. one of the first desserts I put together as a new cook and often revert back to is what I like to call mango parfait (american style parfait). It's basically mangoes cut in a large dice, topped w/plain or vanilla yogurt, the fage yogurt would work well as suggested for other desserts and topped with crushed ameretti cookies.

                                  1. Used to make a version of healthy rice pudding... except I preferred barley... fat free (or low if you prefer) cottage cheese, a dash of cinnamon, dash of vanilla, little Truvia/stevia, cooked barley with just a sprinkle of the water it was cooked in.. .mix and nuke in micro til gooey.

                                    Peaches, sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon, then nuked til melted in micro.

                                    Used to make mini key lime pies for a WW friend of mine... I'd grind All Bran Extra Fiber into a powder, combine a cup of the "flour" with some water and Butter Buds if desired or just some salt, and cinnamon, then press into four mini pie tins. Bake for five to ten minutes at 400 til golden, then cool. Mix sugar free vanilla pudding mix with 2 cups - 2 tbsp skim milk and 2tbsp key lime juice. Pour into pie cups, then refrigerate til set. Beat four egg whites with a pinch of salt til almost stiff then beat in a *little* stevia til stiff. Top pies with meringue. Then broil til meringue is browned.

                                    Take egg whites and beat til frothy. Heat a mini fry pan with Pam. Pour in a little egg white then rotate pan to cover bottom with egg. Cook through, then flip to brown other side. Remove to a plate. Cook all egg whites to make as many crepes as desired. Then mix either fat free ricotta cheese or fat free cottage cheese with a little stevia or sweetener of choice. Fill each crepe with a little cheese, then fold over the bottom, then fold in the sides and finish rolling up. Secure wtih a toothpick and return to pan to heat through and brown all sides. Enjoy with a low-sugar jam.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Emme

                                      Emme's egg white "crepes" are a great suggestion - i make a similar version all the time, sometimes for dessert, sometimes for breakfast! they're great with cinnamon & sliced bananas.

                                    2. it helps if you're willing to experiment with new ingredients.

                                      natural alternatives to white sugar:

                                      - stevia: a completely sugar-free herb from a South American plant

                                      - agave nectar - syrup derived from the cactus plant. technically it IS sugar, but has a lower glycemic index, and it's 25% sweeter than sugar so you use less of it.

                                      those are my go-to sweeteners, the choice varies depending on the application. i'll also occasionally use maple sugar or good maple syrup if the flavor calls for it.

                                      other ingredients/preparations to consider:

                                      - Greek yogurt as many have already mentioned, or as Caralien suggested, yogurt cheese - it's very versatile.

                                      - mesquite flour - it can be hard to find, but it's great in baked goods, or even as a flavoring (i sometimes use it in yogurt, cottage cheese, or smoothies). we've talked about it recently here on CH...


                                      - roasted defatted peanut flour - if you love peanut butter, this stuff is a godsend. stir it into yogurt, use it in baked goods - you get the flavor of PB with all of the protein but much less fat. i know you asked for dessert help, but it's also great in savory applications & sauces. i order mine here...