A fun, delicious, and easy way to make your desserts a little healthier is to incorporate vegetables -- we promise, your family won't even notice.
Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor

The last thing you might ever associate with sugary sweets are nutrient-rich vegetables – if you’re going to splurge on an indulgent dish you may as well make it count, right?

While a frosted cupcake isn’t a truly 'healthy' dish, and we can’t magically make it a nutritious offering, there’s a way to lighten your favorite desserts (icing and all!) without losing any of the sweet, comforting flavors you’ve come to hold dear. Vegetables serve as a great base for a delicious desert, and certain veggies act as flavor boosters or natural sweeteners that allow you to reduce the sugar used in traditional baking recipes.

There are so many ways you can incorporate fresh veggies like beets or zucchini into a sweet treat. A vegetable-heavy cake is one way you could definitely entice your pickier family members to up their daily intake. These recipes have proven to be fan favorites for those looking to easily incorporate fresh vegetables into baked sweets.

1) Red Velvet Beet Cake: 

Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor

A slice of traditional red velvet cake can cost you upwards of 900 calories and 57 grams of fat per slice. The best red velvet cake calls on the power and color of the beet, and this version of the classic comfort dessert clocks in at just 284 calories and 9 grams of fat per slice.

2) Carrot-Zucchini Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting:

Credit: Photo: Dylan + Jeni

Fresh zucchini makes a brilliant addition to this redesigned carrot cake, and the whole thing comes together within an hour.

3) Spiced Parsnip Cake with Caramel Icing: 

Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree

Just like carrots do for carrot cake, parsnips make this aromatic spice cake moist and delicious.

4) Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

Credit: Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

We admit, we're partial towards using zucchini as a prime ingredient for your baked sweets – but at 280 calories and 9 grams of fat per slice, how could we not be?

5) Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes:

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

If you're looking for a dessert that will travel better than a slice of cake, stick one of these in your lunch bag during the week. They're the perfect sweetened pick-me-up for when you hit your 3 p.m. slump.