3 Healthy Summer Desserts

Sweltering temperatures can make it easy to reach for a pint of sugary sherbet or an oversized slice of ice cream cake, but these treats are packed with unhealthy ingredients and a whole lot of calories.

However, you don’t have to forgo scrumptious desserts altogether – instead, just choose healthier recipes that use light ingredients that refresh and delight your palate without weighing you down.

Below are three healthy summer dessert recipes to try. Make them for your family, bring them to a party or enjoy them all your own – whatever you choose, you’re sure to love them.

  1. Coconut Lime Raspberry Chia Pudding
    Chia seeds aren’t just for tossing on your morning breakfast parfait – you can also enjoy them in desserts. And with good reason – the little seeds are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and loads of fiber. In this recipe from Skinny Taste, chia seeds are incorporated into pudding for a light dessert. Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:

1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup canned light coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon sweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest

Directions
1. Place half the raspberries and the remaining ingredients in a large container. Mix well, then cover container and refrigerate at least 5-6 hours or overnight.
2. Divide pudding into two bowls and top with remaining berries. Serve and enjoy.

  1. Berry Tart with Lemon Cookie CrustΒ 
    This recipe from Better Homes & Gardens magazine features a low-fat lemon topping made from Greek yogurt. Add a generous sprinkle of mixed berries and you have a delightful dessert that will be a crowd-pleaser at summer barbecues and patio parties. Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
Fresh mint sprigs

Directions
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, baking powder, vanilla and salt; beat until combined. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Gradually beat in as much flour as possible with the mixer, using a wooden spoon to add in any remaining flour.
2. Press dough onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Line the crust with two sheets of foil. Bake the crust for 6 minutes, and then remove the foil and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Let crust cool on a wire rack.
3. While the crust is cooling, create the lemon cream topping. Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of the lemon peel to a small bowl and stir to combine. Fold in the yogurt until fully incorporated. Pour the filling into the bottom of the cooled crust.
4. Sprinkle topping with berries and mint sprigs. Remove sides from pan and slice tart. Serve and enjoy.

  1. Key Lime Ice Pops
    Is the mercury rising sky-high? Then whip up these Key Lime Ice Pops from Women’s Day magazine. They’re a refreshing, lighter twist on a favorite summer pie. Makes 12 pops.

Ingredients:

6 graham crackers
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup very cold heavy cream
12 3-ounce paper cups
12 wooden craft sticks

Directions
1. Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse to combine.
2. Add the cream cheese to a large bowl and then use an electric mixer on low speed to beat the cheese until smooth. Gradually incorporate the sweetened condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice.
3. Add the cream and then increase the speed of the mixer and combine until the mixture is thick and forms soft peaks, about 3-4 minutes. Separate the mixture into cups. Top with the graham cracker-butter mixture and then lightly press down on the tops of the mixture to flatten slightly.
4. Place the cups on a baking sheet and then push a craft stick halfway into each cup. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
5. When ready to serve, peel the cups away from the ice pops. Enjoy.

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