Sometimes you just have to have something sweet. The problem with conventional desserts, however, is they are loaded with sugar and empty calories. Not only that, but favorite desserts like cakes, pies, and cookies are usually made with wheat flour, which contains gluten, while creamy desserts like puddings and ice cream are made from dairy products. Gluten grains and dairy are two extremely difficult substances for the human body to digest, and they can clog you up with toxins and mucus.

People new to a healthier, plant-based way of eating often fear they have to give up dessert in order to pursue a healthier lifestyle, but you don’t! It’s okay to have a sweet treat, as long as you do it the right way.

So, what can you eat when you’re craving something sweet? I always recommend starting simply to see if that satisfies the craving. Before you dive into dessert, try a little stevia sweetened rooibos tea and see if that does the trick. If it doesn’t, it may be time to bring out the big guns. Here are a few to try.

1. Vegan Vanilla Latte

Try my Vegan Vanilla Latte. Warm a little unsweetened almond milk on the stovetop with the seeds from a vanilla bean or some organic vanilla extract. Add some stevia to taste. Grate a little fresh nutmeg on top and enjoy.

2. Hot Cocoa

Alternatively, try a little healthy hot chocolate. Try my Vegan Almost Raw Hot Chocolate.

3. Acai Rainforest Smoothie

This thick, satisfying smoothie is packed with antioxidants and flavor. I love acai berries, not just for how great they are for you, but for their complex, wonderful flavor that tastes like a cross between red wine and chocolate. To make the acai rainforest smoothie, blend 3-1/2 ounces frozen acai berries, 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, ½ tablespoon raw cacao powder and stevia to taste. You can also add ½ avocado to thicken the smoothie.

4. Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is so satisfying, and a little goes a very long way. Not only is it smooth and silky, but chocolate also stimulates serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter in your brain. It also contains resveratrol, antioxidants, and is a good source of magnesium. Make sure the chocolate is 72 percent or higher cacao, dairy-free, and organic.

5. Chia Seed Delight

Chia seeds contain high levels of antioxidants, as well as beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds also contain fiber, which slows down your body’s conversion of sugars. To make the chia seed delight, blend one cup of unsweetened almond milk, ½ tablespoon of raw cacao powder, and stevia to taste. Pour over chia seeds and allow to soak for ten minutes before eating. Here’s the official recipe for Chia Seed Delight.

6. Raw Cacao Fudge.

Avocadoes are creamy and make an excellent whipped dessert base.

7. Sweet Potato Custard

Combine a cooked, mashed sweet potato with ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg and a dash of cloves in a food processor. Add stevia to taste and eat either chilled or warm.

8. Spirulina Smoothie

With protein, omega-3 fats, and natural electrolytes, this smoothie is just the dessert to healthfully eliminate your sweet cravings. To make it, blend two cups of natural, unsweetened coconut water, one tablespoon of spirulina powder, and stevia to taste.

9. Macadamia Nuts

Raw macadamia nuts are naturally sweet and make a great dessert by themselves. Don’t forget to soak them before you eat them to remove the inhibitor enzymes on their surface.

10. Raw Cacao Truffles

You only need one or two of these deliciously sweet treats to banish your cravings. Find the recipe HERE.

11. Organic Watermelon Slushie

watermelon slushie

Watermelon is very detoxifying. For this recipe, always use seeded, organic watermelons. To make, freeze three cups of watermelon chunks overnight and blend with 2-1/2 cups of coconut water.

12. Halvah

Use your food processor or blender to make this honeyed sesame treat. Don’t forget to soak your sesame seeds overnight before working with them, and rinse them well after soaking. Dry the seeds in a dehydrator on its lowest setting before using. Add ½ cup sesame seeds to the dry bowl of the food processor and begin to process to grind the seeds into a fine meal. Frequently scrape down the sides and stir seeds to ensure all are well ground. Mix in a little honey, a Tbs. of raw tahini and a pinch of Celtic sea salt by hand to form a dough, and then roll into balls.

Before we get to the delicious desserts, here are a few rules.

The Rules

Rule # 1: Agave, artificial sweeteners and sugar are out!

Artificial sweeteners may have zero calories, but they still have a profound effect on your body. Aspartame (NutraSweet) is an excitotoxin that can have serious negative neurological consequences. Sucralose (Splenda) has been shown to reduce the good bacteria in your intestines. Some studies have shown that saccharine (Sweet n’ Low) can lead to weight gain. Agave, which claims to be a “natural” product goes through multiple chemical processes before making it to grocery store shelves and contains high levels of fructose, a highly processed sugar that puts undue toxic load on your liver. Sugar raises blood glucose. None of these is a good alternative.

Rule #2: Stevia is a great alternative to sugar.

So how do you sweeten your desserts? Try stevia, which is a naturally sweet herb. A little goes a long way. I enjoy NuNaturals Pure Liquid Clear Stevia, which has a nice clean taste and no bitterness.

Rule #3: If you have a craving, find a healthy way to give into it.

Sweet cravings are a natural part of detoxification. Denying those cravings can make things worse, causing you a serious tumble off the wagon when you finally allow yourself to give in. If you have a craving, allow yourself a little something sweet. Just find a way to do it in a healthy manner. A piece of dark chocolate is an example.

Rule #4: Be present while you enjoy your sweet treat.

If you’re having an intense sweet craving, make sure you actually take the time away from distractions to enjoy it as you satisfy your sweet tooth. Don’t turn on the TV or distract yourself from the pleasure of the sweetness in some other way. Instead, sit down and really allow yourself the full enjoyment of your dessert, being present and focused in the moment as you eat it. The best way to truly satisfy a craving is by giving the act of eating or drinking your attention so you can take full pleasure from the nourishment you are providing your body.

New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist