Living a healthy, balanced diet is not entirely about restriction. Rather, it’s all about balance. This means instead of cutting out your favourite naughty foods altogether, you can just save these until the weekend. This approach of cutting back rather than cutting out will make the transition to a healthier lifestyle much more smooth and enjoyable. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. Cravings will be alive and well, and Saturday may seem like an eternity away. On those weeknights after dinner when you feel like something sweet, turn to a healthy alternative instead. After all, you still deserve to treat yourself! Here are three quick and easy recipes for some simple and nutritious sweet desserts that you can whip up any night of the week.

Peanut butter and banana ice cream

If you’re an ice cream lover, this one’s for you! You can make your very own frozen dessert at home, and you won’t even need an ice cream maker. The best news is that you only need two ingredients, so this is something that anyone can make in a heartbeat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • ¼ cup of peanut butter

Method: Cut up the frozen bananas and blend with peanut butter in a food processor until smooth. Dust some toasted coconut over the top and serve immediately.

For other flavours, soft freeze 100mL of coconut milk and blend with any frozen fruit you like. Mangos, strawberries and blueberries all create delicious variations.

Chocolate pudding

No added sugar, no dairy, no preservatives – not only is this chocolate pudding recipe so yummy, but it’s rich in antioxidants and good fats. This recipe serves three, so don’t get carried away and eat it all at once!

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 mashed banana
  • ⅓ cup coconut cream
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ unsweetened cocoa powder

Method: Blend the avocado and coconut cream in a food processor first, then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a container and cover with cling wrap, pressing it down to the surface of the pudding. Allow to set for at least three hours and voila! Garnish with some fresh fruit and toasted coconut to serve.

Apple crumble

If you’re feeling like more of a warm, cozy dessert, this healthy apple crumble is bound to hit the spot. You can even serve it with some of the homemade ice cream for the perfect weeknight treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized apple, diced 
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp milk (almond, soy or whatever you prefer!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp oats 
  • 2 tsp oat flour 
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Optional: raisins, almonds

Method: Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a small oven-safe dish. Combine apple, salt, milk, cinnamon and maple syrup, as well as any optional add-ins. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour and almond butter. Combine the two mixtures and pour into the dish. Bake in the oven on the middle tray for 40 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

A healthy diet can leave you feeling like you’re missing out, but it doesn’t have to! If a piece of fruit or a couple squares of dark chocolate doesn’t quite cut it when your sweet tooth takes over, there are plenty of quick and simple desserts you can make that are tasty, yet still friendly to your waistline. As tempting as it may be to indulge in an extra spoonful or two, always be mindful of proportions and keep within your recommended daily calorie intake. Most importantly, enjoy!