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6 Low Carb Desserts For the Holidays

6 Low Carb Desserts For the Holidays

Chanel Dubofsky | November 20, 2020 | Women's Health

Limiting your intake of carbohydrates has a lot of benefits, including weight loss and prevention, and/or improvement of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure (1). Carbs come in two types: simple and complex. Simple carbs emit bursts of sugar (glucose) when you eat them and then result in a crashy, tired feeling a little later. Complex carbs digest more slowly and contain more nutrients and fiber. The rich fiber found in complex carbs helps you to feel more full. That is why you feel more full after having whole wheat toast compared to eating a sugary donut (2). There is a lot of focus right now on low carb and high fat diets for weight loss and health, but eliminating complex carbs can rec havoc on your gut (3). As you see, it's not as simple as just "avoid carbs" — like everything in life, it's more complicated. 

If you are committed to eating fewer carbs, it might seem like it's hard to get excited about holiday desserts, but there is no need to feel deprived! We know that this year, the holidays might look a little different, but you can still absolutely enjoy food and feel good at the same time. Check out our round-up of these delicious and low carb desserts to help you stay on track with your health goals. 

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies  (Joy Filled Eats)

This recipe may spark an argument about whether or not white chocolate is in fact chocolate, but anyone enjoying these with you will probably be too busy eating to really get into it. Natural peanut butter is low carb, and raw cocoa butter contains antioxidants known as polyphenols, which also have a wide range of health benefits, including being great for your skin, lowering blood pressure, and preventing blood clots (4). This recipe also works for the gluten-free crowd, since it utilizes almond and coconut flours, which are high in protein and fiber. Plus, it's easy, and did we mention the white chocolate and peanut butter combination? 

 

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Keto Pumpkin Pie (Delish)

Look, pie is important, these days, more than ever. This recipe works if you're keeping an eye on carbs, and if you're following the keto diet, which calls for high-fat, moderate-proteins, and super low carbs (5). Plus, pumpkin is packed with magnesium, essential for nerve and muscle function, as well as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure (6). There's everything that should go in a pie: heavy cream, brown sugar, cloves, vanilla extract. You can also use maple syrup, honey, or molasses, since it's not a super sweet pie, and you can make it without the crust. 

Chocolate Lasagna (Low Carb Maven)

Low Carb Chocolate Lasagna is entirely made from scratch with wholesome gluten-free and sugar-free ingredients | lowcarbmaven.comLet us sing the praises of the no bake dessert, including this one. It involves homemade pudding, a cookie crust, whipped cream, cream cheese, and dark chocolate, which has some pretty impressive nutritional properties. It contains flavanols, a plant chemical which improves blood flow  and may lower blood pressure and prevent diabetes and is also rich in zinc and iron (7). If chocolate isn't your thing, there's a ton of variation to be done here — you can use jam or almond or banana flavoring instead, add vanilla whey protein powder to the crust, and basically mix and match to your heart's content. 

5-Ingredient Coconut Flour SunButter Cookies (Chelsey Amer Nutrition) 

5-Ingredient Coconut Flour SunButter Cookies – Chelsey Amer Nutrition | Chewy and delicious, while high in filling fiber and fat, these 5-Ingredient Coconut Flour SunButter Cookies are exactly what your holiday cookie exchange needs this season! Nut Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy FreeLooking for something tasty and nut-free? These cookies take very little time to make, they're gluten-free and friendly for those with nut and other allergies. Plus, their ingredients keep well, so you can churn out batch after batch. Using coconut flour also means they're packed with fiber, which is not just great for staying regular, but can lower your cholesterol levels, control your blood sugar, and reduce your risk of cancers and heart disease (8). SunButter is used exactly like you'd use peanut or almond butter, but it's made from sunflower seeds, and is high in magnesium and Omega fatty acids (9). 

3-Ingredient Vegan Pecan Pie (My Darling Vegan) 

A dessert that requires only 3 ingredients, will bring joy to vegans, and is low carb! You literally only need nuts, sea salt, and medjool dates. Dates have tons of nutrients, and they're great for digestion, heart health, and there's some research suggesting they might protect the brain against age-related conditions like Alzheimer's Disease (10). A recent study indicated that eating dates during labor may also shorten the amount of time it takes for the cervix to dilate, and improve your bishop score (11). 

 

You also only need minimal equipment to make these pies — just a mini muffin tin, a food processor, some basic kitchen utensils you probably already have, and a piping bag (you can make one out of parchment paper). This recipe takes about an hour and a half, including the time you need to soak the dates. 

Healthy Pumpkin Cookies (Chelsea's Messy Apron)

Yes, delicious low carb cookies exist, and here's an example. They're sweetened naturally with maple syrup, you can add chocolate chips, and one of the ingredients is almond butter, which has more magnesium, fiber, calcium, and vitamin E than peanut butter (12). You also don't need to worry about buying any super fancy ingredients for these cookies — the oat flour can be made quickly in a food processor with either old fashioned or quick oats. Even better? Because they're tasty and good for you, you can eat more of them.

References +
1

Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight? (2017, August 29). Retrieved November 7,2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/low-carb-diet/art-20045831

2

Carbohydrates. (2018, April 16). Retrieved November 7, 2020, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/carbohydrates

3

Overweight and diabetes prevention: is a low-carbohydrate–high-fat diet recommendable?. (2018). European journal of nutrition, 57(4), 1301-1312. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5959976/

4

Cocoa: a sweet treat for the brain? (2015, February 05). Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cocoa-sweet-treat-brain-201502057676

5

Ketogenic Diet. (2020, June 22). Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

7 Dark Chocolate. (n.d.) Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://

www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/

8

Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. (2018, November 16). Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

9

Seeds, sunflower seed butter, with salt added Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.) Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3169/2

10

Beneficial effects of date palm fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. (2016 July).  Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4994443/ 

11

Effects of date fruit (Phoenix dactylifera L.) on labor and delivery outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. (2020 Apr 14). Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7157989/

12

Sunflower Seed Butter and Almond Butter as Nutrient-Rich Alternatives to Peanut Butter. (n.d.). Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400525/Articles/ADA10_SunflowerAlmondButter.pdf