Just because it's a treat doesn't mean it can't be nutritious.
When it comes to picky eaters dessert is usually the easiest part of a meal to handle, unless you’re aiming to be healthy. Donuts, sundaes, and slices of cake taste delicious, but they’re not so great for you. As a parent, you want your kids to eat as nutritiously as possible.
The good news is you really can make a sweet, satisfying dessert that your kids will love, and you don't have to choose between butter and sugar bombs, or something so un-fun it might as well be veggie sticks.
These dietitian-backed ideas are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, but tasty enough that your kids won’t even realize they’re wholesome.
Pumpkin Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Ditch the festive fall PSL and whip up a chocolate avocado mousse at home. The mousse is decadent and creamy, and it’s teeming with good-for-you nutrients like healthy fats and antioxidants, thanks to heart-healthy avocado and skin-boosting pumpkin, says Maggie Michalczyk, MS, RD.
“To make this avocado chocolate mousse simply combine 2 ripe avocados, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 5 dates, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 cup almond milk in a food processor until smooth,” she says. Kids will love it because they will think it's simply chocolate pudding, and it's a great way for parents to sneak in more nutrition like vitamins E, fiber, and healthy fat in their kids' diet.
Fruit Kebabs Drizzled With Dark Chocolate
Every kid loves finger food! Fruit kebabs are easy to prepare and they’re super fun for children to eat, and when they’re dunked in or drizzled with rich, melted chocolate, the kebabs go from a healthy breakfast side to a yummy, sweet dessert, says Michalczyk.
“If using wooden or bamboo skewers, make sure all the splinters are off of them by rolling two together in your hands, or rub them over each other, as if you are sharpening a knife,” she says.
Cut fruit that is not already small into 1-inch or bite-size chunks. Go for easy options, like strawberries, blackberries, and pineapple. Skewer the fruit in whatever order you choose. Using a fork, drizzle melted dark chocolate over it, and enjoy!
Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Bananas
“This sweet treat is fun to make and only requires two ingredients. Plus, bananas are packed with potassium and are kid friendly,” says NYC-based Registered Dietitian, Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD.
Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-second increments until melted. Cut each banana in half and put half on a skewer.
Dip the skewer into the melted chocolate and coat the top half of the banana with chocolate. Then place the chocolate-coated banana on a parchment paper lined plate and freeze for at least two hours.
Peanut Butter Date Bites
“This is another sweet treat and kid-friendly recipe that only requires two ingredients. Your kids will love helping form the bites, too,” says Rizzo. And dates are packed with fiber to promote healthy digestion and have some natural sweetness to complement the nut butter.
In a food processor, combine the peanut butter and dates. Process until finely chopped or smooth and then remove the mixture from the food processor and roll into bites. Place on a parchment lined plate and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Frozen Yogurt Grapes
“Grapes are packed with antioxidants and yogurt provides protein, both of which are important for your growing kid,” says Rizzo. Plus, they can just pop them right into their mouths, in a matter of seconds.
Stick a toothpick into each grape and dip the grape into the yogurt. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and repeat until all the grapes are covered in yogurt. Freeze for at least two hours.
Blueberry Crunch Parfaits
“Most parents always have these ingredients handy making this a go-to treat when you’re running low on time and energy,” says Chicago-based Julie Pappas, R.D.
“Greek yogurt provides protein and the berries provide additional nutrients and fiber – making them a perfect pair,” she explains. A tip? Prepare these dessert yogurt parfaits in low-ball glasses or clear mugs to make your kids feel like it’s an extra special treat.
Place graham crackers in a bag and pound to break into crumbles. Then place half the serving of yogurt at the bottom of the glass and top with half the graham cracker crumble and half the amount of blueberries. Layer the remaining yogurt and top with the rest of the graham cracker crumble and blueberries. Add a spoon and start scooping!
Dessert Energy Balls
“Dessert energy bites are delicious, nutritious, and simple to make! Start with a base of oat flour or almond flour and unsweetened cocoa power, add mini chocolate chips, almond or peanut butter, a little bit of maple syrup and mix together,” says Michalczyk.
Once thoroughly mixed through, use your hands and roll into little balls. “These are fun because kids can help make them, they are customizable to whatever ingredients you would like to incorporate and are a great portion size for a small sweet treat,” she says.