The 30-Day Bigger Leaner Stronger Transformation
When you get “serious” about your meal planning, tasty desserts are usually the first thing to go.
But they shouldn’t be!
As these 20 healthy dessert recipes prove, you don’t need to cut out fun foods entirely. You simply need to tweak your recipes so that you can enjoy your favorite tasty treats without exploding your macros.
From chocolate-covered protein pretzels to healthy sweet potato fudge, you’re sure to find something in this list that you’ll love.
Pretzels are such an easy snack to eat by the handful, especially when they’re dipped in chocolate. But then you’d probably be overloading on carbs, right?
Not with this innovative recipe for homemade pretzels, which use protein powder instead of flour. There’s no need to make a yeast dough, and they don’t require tricky twisting either. The only thing you need to make them the right shape is a pretzel cutter.
Fudge is one of the most classic chocolate desserts, yet the traditional version is a far cry from being nutritious. It’s not the dark chocolate that’s at fault, but the heavy cream, or sweetened condensed milk, and loads of sugar that are added.
This healthy fudge is made with totally different ingredients – including sweet potatoes, which account for over half the carbs. But it ends up with the same indulgent flavor and texture you’re used to.
2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and pureed
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs (or flax eggs)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. sea saltGet the Recipe
You can make low-fat ice cream at home without an ice cream maker, and you don’t even have to give up dairy.
Blend together cottage cheese and Greek yogurt with a cup of milk, and the result is an ice cream base that’s thick enough to just be left alone in the freezer. Stir occasionally, and in a few hours you’ll have healthy homemade ice cream.
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup low-fat milk
5 packets stevia
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spiceGet the Recipe
Satisfy your cinnamon roll cravings without turning on the oven (or driving to the mall). These protein truffles may not be real baked goods, but they do have the right look and flavor to trick your senses.
And the macros will make everyone happy, especially since you don’t have to swap out sugar for stevia. If you want to add the optional icing swirl on top, stir together vanilla protein powder with water until it reaches the desired texture. Put it into a plastic sandwich bag, and snip off the corner to make a piping bag.
In order to bake donuts and avoid the fryer, you’ll need the right kind of pan. But it’s surprising how many healthy donut recipes there are online, enough to make a new flavor every week. That’ll help boost your willpower when you have to drive by Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme.
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Like many other fruits, avocado is awesome in desserts when mashed up and mixed into the batter. It’s just too bad we didn’t realize it sooner. Avocado can be baked in cookies, made into a raw pudding, or even turned into healthy ice cream with frozen bananas.
In this recipe, the mellow fruit transforms into a creamy, rich pie filling sweetened with just a touch of honey. The key lime filling will work with any crust, but this one is easy to make by processing almond flour and dates.
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp. raw honey
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup dates
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenneGet the Recipe
Can’t stop yourself from eating peanut butter out of the jar by the spoonful? Those 100 calories per tablespoon add up fast.
Luckily, it only takes three ingredients and ten minutes to make a satisfying peanut butter dessert. It’s also a great snack to have post-workout, delivering a mix of protein, fat, and sugar.
Sometimes a dessert isn’t satisfying unless it’s smothered in dark chocolate. But while you’re covering everything in melted chocolate, you may as well add some protein.
These protein bites start out as pieces of fresh fruit, and then they’re coated in a mix of coconut flour and whey. Finally, they’re dipped in dark chocolate to become mini candy bars – only more nutritious.
Jello is a favorite for dieters, but it’s so low in calories because it has hardly any substance to it. Don’t we all want dessert to be a benefit to our diets?
Add Greek yogurt and protein powder, and gelatin becomes a healthy dessert that does more than fill in the gaps. It adds nutrients, especially since there’s fresh fruit in the mix too.
Can you believe these are low-calorie cupcakes? With some healthy substitutions, you can have dessert and bacon all in one – without actually going overboard.
It starts with a modification of yellow cake mix using egg whites, applesauce, and maple syrup. Then the frosting is made with cream cheese, whereas going with buttercream would be literally piling butter and sugar on top of the cupcake. By making everything a little leaner, there’s room for just enough bacon to taste it.
1 3/4 cups yellow cake mix
1/2 cup egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. lite maple syrup
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. maple extract
1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup light butter (like Brummel & Brown)
2 Tbsp. lite maple syrup
1/8 tsp. maple extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. cooked crumbled baconGet the Recipe
Almost any cookie recipe can be made healthier by swapping out some of the flour for protein powder. It’s a good baking trick to know any time of year, but it’s particularly useful to know how to make protein cookies when the holidays roll around.
You can bring these gluten-free cookies to any gathering, and no one will be the wiser.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. unsulphered molasses
5 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp. vanilla extractGet the Recipe
Although this dessert looks decadent enough to serve at a dinner party, it couldn’t be easier to make.
Scoop out the middle of the pear, and stuff it with walnuts, chocolate chips, and butter. Brush some prepared puff pastry sheets with melted butter, and wrap it around the pear. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake for about a half hour.
For a slightly healthier phyllo-wrapped pear dumpling, just don’t stuff the middle with chocolate.
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
8 phyllo sheets, divided
1 Tbsp. turbinado sugar (optional)Get the Recipe
Whether you want a simple strawberry shortcake or to assemble a more extravagant dessert, angel food cake is a delicious base.
But the premade and boxed versions are just not the same as homemade in terms of preservatives, artificial flavors, and nutritional value. And that’s especially true compared to this healthy angel food cake with egg whites and whey protein powder.
This grab-and-go oatmeal doesn’t require a microwave or even a bowl. Instead it’s served up in muffin form, complete with bananas, milk, and peanut butter.
But these can be made gluten-free since they don’t use any wheat flour. Like regular oatmeal, you can easily adjust this to taste by mixing in spices, dried fruit, chopped nuts, or even chocolate chips.
3 large bananas, mashed
1 cup milk
2 egg whites (or 1 large egg)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. PB2
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (or other mix-ins)Get the Recipe
The secret that takes this sweet potato pie to another level is cinnamon roll-flavored coconut butter, which contains pecans, but if you can’t pick up a jar substitute regular coconut butter.
Then, double the amount of ground cinnamon in the pie filling. This already has a pecan crust and topping, so this healthy sweet potato pie will be full of flavor – plus a touch of protein for good measure.
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. baking stevia
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
2 Tbsp. Sweet Spread cinnamon roll coconutter (or coconut oil)
2 Tbsp. baking stevia
1 large egg
1/2 scoop WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. butter extract (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. Sweet Spreads cinnamon roll coconutter
1 Tbsp. baking steviaGet the Recipe
Avoiding flour, butter, or added sugar? Then you’re going to love these berry tarts, which help you avoid all three while still getting the feel of a baked good.
And if you aren’t in the mood for berries, you can substitute any kind of fruit. Try a tropical combo like mango and pineapple, or welcome fall with sliced apples and pears.
1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried figs
1 large banana
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
3/4 cup chopped strawberries
3/4 cup chopped kiwiGet the Recipe
For a low-calorie dessert, it’s hard to beat sorbet. However, the premade kinds are usually loaded with sugar.
This coffee sorbet doesn’t require much sweetness as long as you aren’t the kind to take two sugars with your morning cup. Speaking of, this sorbet is also a great pick-me-up in the morning. Just as with brewed coffee, you can add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
4 cups brewed coffee
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extractGet the Recipe
Never go to bed without dessert again. This chocolate cake takes about five minutes to make with pantry staples. You can even use a teaspoon of baking soda if you don’t have an egg.
And since it’s a single-serving cake, you won’t be tempted to overeat. There are a lot of mug cake recipes floating around, but this version delivers on both decadence and nutrition density.
Every kind of cheesecake has protein because of the dairy – even raw vegan cheesecakes contain tree nuts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t adjust the recipe to bump up the protein count even more.
To make a lean cheesecake, use fat-free cream cheese and Greek yogurt, and add a couple scoops of protein powder. The hardest part is waiting for it to be ready; it’s best to bake it the day before and let it chill overnight.
Don’t let the veggies fool you into thinking traditional carrot cake is healthy. It might have a few more nutrients than chocolate cake, but it usually has just as much fat and sugar.
This version swaps out the flour for protein powder, ground oats, and a touch of coconut flour for a healthier batter. Then the cake is packed with carrots, apples, and raisins for plenty of all-natural sugar. It’s finished with a protein-rich frosting with Greek yogurt, and if you can’t find quark, substitute as much cream cheese as it takes to reach the desired texture.
1 1/3 cups rolled oats, ground
2 large eggs
3 egg whites
2/3 cup + 3 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
3 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate
2 Tbsp. stevia powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup raisins
4 cups shredded carrots
1/4 cup dried apple (or pineapple) pieces
Orange zest to taste
1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 cups quark cheese
2/5 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp. stevia powder
3 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolateGet the Recipe
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