Dessert can be tricky to maneuver. It can spell digestive disaster, and it is stereotypically loaded with sugars and fats. Dessert is among the first things people cut out when wanting to trim weight and shed fat. Dessert should not be eaten every day, but sometimes when you have a real dessert craving there are some good options to consider. In The Beauty Detox Solution, I discuss how you can include dessert in moderation into your beauty health plan. Here are some guidelines to healthy desserts:

Raw Fruit should not be eaten as a dessert. I’ve harped on this countless times! Raw fruit goes through your body quickly (20-30 minutes on average) and if placed after a heavy meal it will lead to flatulence and fermentation. Not to mention, your body won’t reap the benefits because it won’t reach the small intestine in time for it to absorb the full spectrum of nutrients. Eating fruit for dessert will actually have negative bodily side affects than if you abstained completely. Have the fruit first, and especially in the morning. Try it for yourself- have fruit only on an empty stomach and notice how any bloating effects of consuming fruit get minimized or eliminated.
Avoid Agave: Although lately it has become a widely accepted alternative sweetener, agave contains high levels of fructose. It is also often highly processed and refined, despite the misleading label “raw”. Instead, try these natural sweeteners in desserts- raw honey (it must be organic and preferably local), dried dates or figs, xyitol or stevia. I’m happy to see restaurants like Quintessence in NYC switch from agave to xylitol.
Eat your nuts: Coconuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts are viable options to include into your desserts. Nuts and dried figs make great pie crusts, toppings, and they help beef up a dessert in fiber content. Unsweetened nut milks are preferable over cow milk or soy milk because they are healthier foods that mimic your favorite dairy products. Coconut milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk and almond milk are totally acceptable milk alternatives to include in desserts.
Vanilla: Vanilla extract has a number of health benefits such as being associated with reducing stress and anxiety and helping aid weight loss. Vanilla is a natural calming agent and it is great to smell and digest small amounts before bed. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way with vanilla extract. Limit to a few drops in individual servings of warm drinks or baked goodies.
Add cinnamon: It is a great source of magnesium, fiber, iron and calcium. Cinnamon fires up your colon and contributes to colon health while protecting against heart disease and boosting brain function. It also plays a regulatory role in lowering your blood sugar. There are many ways that cinnamon can be included in a healthy dessert. Stir ½ tsp of cinnamon and ½ tsp vanilla into chia seeds soaking in almond milk for 10 minutes. Sprinkle some cinnamon into a glass of warmed almond milk and stevia. Sprinkle a ¼ tsp over a baked yam, sweet potato or carrots.
Be creative with your grains: Experiment mixing the above ingredients with quinoa, millet and other grains may lead to surprising and delicious desserts. Sometimes, the best desserts are the undiscovered ones we whip together at home while experimenting. These would be great to include if you had a starch-based dinner, such as a meal with brown rice.

For more beauty desserts checkout pages 228-230 of the Beauty Detox Solution to learn how to make my Raw Pecan Love Pie, Raw Cacao Truffles, Happy Cow Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate and my Chia Seed Delight.

As with all things, eat dessert in moderation. Following the guidelines outlined in The Beauty Detox Solution should eliminate major cravings for sweets and refined sugars as your body becomes balanced. On the most basic level, cravings are generated when your body is lacking nutrients. In order to compensate, you reach for macronutrients such as a milk chocolate bar when your body really needs micronutrients. These minerals, enzymes and vitamins that your body needs can be found in a wide variety of plant-based foods.

Sometimes you need to do a strict dessert fast for a little while to “reset”. I realized I was having too much dark chocolate for a while, so when I was in Puerto Rico I made myself give it up entirely. Now I’ve been off it for a while, and I don’t plan on having it for at least another month or more. It is good to make yourself fast from certain things, especially if they started off in moderation but then start becoming something you really start craving.

Enjoying a Glowing Green Smoothie once a day is the most powerful way to retain and absorb these nutrients. If you experience cravings on a daily basis, opt for herbal tea with stevia and lemon or veggie sticks dipped in Sally’s Salsa or Green Bean-Miso Dip, and remember how important Probiotic & Enzyme Salad is. Next time you want to indulge, try one of these BDS friendly dessert options to seal your meal with a sweet ending.

What’s your favorite healthy dessert, for there are many good desserts out there!

New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist