healthy recipes for desserts kids love

9 Recipes For Healthy Desserts For Kids

I’ve put together 9 recipes for healthy desserts that my family loves just for you. The best thing is that these recipes are filled with healthy real food ingredients. So you can feel good about eating them and enjoy watching your kids chow down on them too! 

healthy recipes for desserts kids love

Who loves dessert? I know I do and so do my kids! It’s something that we look forward to and could eat everyday! I wanted to write this post so that you’d have several recipes for healthy desserts that are both healthy and taste really really good!

What Are Moms Struggling With When It Comes to Dessert and Kids?

As a feeding therapist and Mom of two littles the topic of desserts comes up quite often. Some questions and concerns discussed about offering desserts seems to be the same for most parents. Mainly Mom’s are wondering how often they should be offering dessert during the weekday.

Other Moms are feeling guilty for the desserts they have on hand that are loaded with extra junk but they honestly don’t know a healthier alternative to offer. Some Moms that are super health conscious may never let their kids have any sweet treats therefore end of fighting the dessert battle a lot.

Then you have Moms of picky eaters that most likely make their kids eat that one small bite just to have dessert.

I don’t know about you guys but I have been each of these “Moms” at one point or another. No shame at all, we all battle this at some point. If you’re wondering what the “right” answer is to how often your kids should have dessert I can tell you a couple things.

How Often Should Kids Eat Dessert During The Week?

Personally, I think  we as parents put too much emphasis on dessert and talking about it like a forbidden food. Reality is dessert is a food and at some point or another kids will be able to have it whether it’s at your house or somewhere else. So why not teach them how to make healthy choices early on?

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, research indicates that the more attention we give to try to restrict dessert the more kids will want dessert and start to obsess over it. As parents we are trying to do our best so no judgement there.

The study is just saying that restricting these foods and choosing to view these foods as bad is not a way to help our children learn to moderate intake of these foods.

I can give you a perfect example of putting too much attention on dessert. If you know me you know I’m pretty health conscious. I don’t count calories, weigh myself, portion control or any of that but I do love to eat a lot of plant foods and just real whole food. I can kinda get a little obsessive at times and have to bring myself back to planet earth. It’s something I’m always working on.

So a year or so ago I was battling the picky eating beast with my oldest. I worried a lot about the lack of fruits and veggies he was NOT eating. It kinda consumed me so what did I do? I barely let him have sweets. I thought I was doing the right thing but reality was I was making him want those sweets even more. He was starting to view those foods as more desirable than the food I was serving on his plate.

When I started just chilling out and understanding he’s a kid. Kids want to eat treats just like adults. Kids need to know how to make choices and healthy choices at that. Kids need to learn how to listen to their body.

So, I started finding healthy recipes for desserts and making them or I’d find healthier alternatives to packaged items. I started allowing my kids to have a dessert WITH dinner every once in awhile! I know, you probably think I’m cray but I’ll get to that strategy in a bit.

I also started deciding before dinner if we were going to have a sweet treat that night. I didn’t want dessert to be based on whether we ate our dinner or not. I wanted dessert to be on the same playing field as dinner and that way it wouldn’t seem like it was placed on such a high pedestal.

So Why Serve Dessert With Dinner?

According to Ellyn Satter, author of Child of Mine, is a psychologist that developed the Division of Responsibility (DOR). The DOR states that Parents decide WHAT, WHERE, and WHEN food will be served and Kids decided IF and HOW MUCH they will eat.

It’s not so black and white as this especially if you have a picky eater but when you mainly follow this rule it helps significantly. For extreme picky eaters or for families that are bribing, begging, and having mealtime battles then I highly recommend following this rule pretty strictly when starting out.

What I love about this rule is that as parents we decide what food we will cook, where we will eat, and when we will eat meals. I love this because as a parent you still need to keep in mind your kids preferred food but you are in charge. It’s totally okay to offer your kids choices like “would you rather have spaghetti or tacos for dinner”.

Establishing a place to eat sets the routine and kids thrive on routines. Just like establishing a place to eat, establishing times you will eat also help kids. It keeps kids from grazing throughout the day, walking around while eating, and keeps hunger cues present.

So if you have dessert and you place it on your child’s plate at dinner they will start to learn it’s just something you have every now and then. They will also be in charge of when they will eat it. For some kids they may immediately go for the dessert at first, then you will start to notice they might save it for the end. They are learning how to listen to their body and learning that they want to eat their meal too because that is what truly fuels them and keeps their engine going for longer.

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How Many Times Should We Have Dessert

In our house we have a healthy dessert about 3-4 nights per week. Some people may be like whaaaaaat? but that’s what works for us. It’s not a big deal if we don’t have and it’s fun if we do. We don’t fight about whether we will have it or not.

Honestly, it’s really not that big of a deal in our house like it used to be. Plus, sometimes I put it on the table with dinner and other times it’s after dinner. It’s important for every family to find what works for you and go for it.

The more you make food fun, enjoyable, and even healthy at your own table the more your kids will go out into the world ready to navigate the junk that’s out there. There will be less sneaking of food too.

Another good idea is to have set nights for desssert. For example, maybe you have it only on the weekends because those of “fun” days. Maybe you have it Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you are fighting with your kids about how often dessert is served then this may be a great idea for you to implement. It allows your kids to know when it’s coming and therefore can help decrease tantrums over it.

Tips For Making Dessert A Fun Experience For All Kids

Try serving a dessert with a meal either on the plate or in the center of the table (family style)

Make dessert about dessert and not tying it to whether your child cleans their plate

No bribing your child to eat for dessert (this teaches them the dessert food is more powerful than the other food)

Incorporate sweet treats into the meal plan so kids know when to expect it

Use fruits and dips as dessert to teach kids dessert comes in all different forms

Don’t soothe an upset child with dessert. Instead teach them why they are upset and talk about how to feel better. Food isn’t what makes us feel better when we’re sad, it’s finding out why we are sad and finding a solution for it.

Try not to reward or give consequences with food. I prefer to reward or give a consequence that is directly related to the behavior demonstrated. For example, for a reward for sitting at the table without your child getting up five times would be to eat dinner one night in the family room with TV trays. This is always a fun reward and treat for every now and then. Or, if your child has great manners at the table then they can choose dinner one night for the family or have a pass to skip setting the table one night.

Try not to demonize dessert or call it bad food. We don’t want our kids to develop the idea that dessert is necessarily bad which can lead to shame and guilt over the years.

Help kids learn about food by using colors. For example, orange foods help our eyes or red foods help our heart. You can also call them sleepy and awake foods. Awake foods give us energy and sleepy foods don’t always make us feel as energetic.

Making Recipes For Healthy Desserts

I love to find recipes and swap out ingredients with real, whole food ingredients. Below I’ll share some tips for swapping out some ingredients for healthier ones. This will help you be on your way to finding recipes for healthy desserts.

Swap out oil for apple sauce 

Swap out eggs for flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 2.5 tbsp water)

Swap out sugar for honey or pure maple syrup or mashed banana

Swap out cow butter for vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

Swap out butter for peanut or another kind of nut butter

Swap out dairy milk for Plant Milk (I love unsweetened almond, soy, or cashew milk)

Swap out white flour for oats and/or ground oats (place in food processor to grind)

Swap out white flour for 100% whole wheat flour or Buckwheat flour (GF)

Add in 1 tbsp ground chia, or flax, or hemp seeds or all three for extra fiber, protein, and omegas

My Favorite Recipes For Healthy Desserts

  1. Apple Donuts

    1. Slice apples horizontally. About 1/2 inch think. Spread topping of choice over apple such as a nut butter, or sun butter, chocolate hummus, or honey. Then use sprinkles, coconut flakes, or mini chocolate chips (we love Enjoy Life Allergy friendly brand)
  2. Energy Bites

    1. We love making all different kinds of energy bites. These are not just for dessert but also make great items for lunchboxes or an afternoon pick me up. They’re are so many ways to enjoy these little bundle of joys! Check out some of my favorite recipes RIGHT HERE.
  3. Peach Cobbler

    1. Oh my! This yumminess will melt in your mouth. My youngest and I wanted to make a dessert one night and kinda threw this together with what we had. You can use apples, peaches, or even pears with this dessert too. I like to use a mix of nuts but you can use whatever kind you have. Check out the recipe RIGHT HERE.
  4. Chick Chick Cookies

      1. These cookies are made with chickpea cookies but don’t let that cause you to close this blog right here. LOL They are super yummy. If they aren’t as sweet as you’d like you can always add extra mini chocolate chips or even an extra 1 tbsp of brown sugar, honey, or pure maple syrup. Check them out RIGHT HERE.

  5. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

    1. Not your average oatmeal cookie right here. These were a huge hit even with my semi picky child who I never know what he will like at the moment. See the recipe below:
      1. Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies  
        1. 2 cups gluten free oats
        2. 2 tsp baking powder
        3. 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
        4. 1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
        5. 1 egg or 2 flax eggs
        6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
        7. 1 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
        8. 1 tsp cinnamon
        9. 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
      2. Instructions 
        1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and combine adding in chocolate chips last.
        2. Scoop out onto cookie sheet. I like roll in a ball then kinda flatten on the pan.
        3. Bake on 375 for about 10 minutes. Take out and let cool. Enjoy
      3. Notes 
        1. These cookies are dairy and gluten free. To make vegan use 2 flax eggs. Mix 2 tbsp ground flax with 4.5 tbsp of water and let sit until it firms up. Once it has firmed a little add it to the mix.
        2. You can add walnuts if you like. You can also add ground flax and/or chia seeds along with or instead of hemp seeds. These three seeds hold a powerful punch for omega 3s, plant protein, and fiber.
        3. I like to use Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips as they are completely allergy friendly. Plus I like how small and cute they are.
  6. Peanut Butter Rice “Nice” Crispy Treats

    1. Okay ya’ll! Here is the real deal treat! I think these should have been named Nice Crispy Treats but oh well. This is from one of my favorite blogs to follow, Detoxinista. I love that these little treats only have four ingredients and you don’t even need marshmallows. You can also use sun butter if you have a nut allergy. HERE is the recipe found on pinterest with an easy video to show you how it’s made.
  7. Monkey In The Middle Peanut Butter Bites

    1. NotEnoughCinnamon is a great site that has lots of good recipes. I love this simple 6 ingredients frozen peanut butter banana bites recipe. I like how she includes pictures so you can follow along to make very easily. Plus, kids would love putting this together.
  8. Rice Cake Funny Faces

    1. I like to use brown rice cakes for this. Plain or sea salt work fine. You can even use ones like chocolate or caramel to increase variety of flavors for your little ones.
    2. Top with cream cheese or dairy free cream cheese like kite hill or miyokos.
    3. Other toppings include pumpkin puree mixed with cream cheese, nut butters, sun butter, honey, hazelnut spread, or chocolate hummus.
    4. Then top with your choice of mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, hemp/chia/flax seeds, nuts, dried fruit like cranberries or blueberries, fresh fruit like blueberries, banana slices, strawberry slices, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, etc.
    5. If your kids like more savory flavors use veggies such as avocado, sprouts, celery, carrots, hummus, cucumbers, or radish slices.
    6. You can even get really creative and add some sprouts for the “hair” on the funny faces.
  9. Banana Boat Ice Cream Sundaes

    1. Slice banana in half and place together on a plate or in a bowl. Scoop out some dairy free ice cream (So Delicious brand is our favorite) or dairy free or regular vanilla yogurt. Then top with toppings like mini chocolate chips, peanut butter, honey, coconut flakes, nuts/seeds, blueberries, strawberries, and/or cherries.
    2. We also love the So Delicious cool whip too and add a little on top!

That’s just a few of our favorite recipes for healthy desserts for kids. I hope you can take some of these and incorporate them into your family nights! Let’s teach our kids that desserts can be tasty and healthy too!

Please share this post with a friend if you found a recipe you’d like to make! Don’t forget to follow me on pinterest right HERE for more health hacks for feeding your family!





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