No matter how committed you are to a new diet plan, sweets can be awfully hard to let go of. When it comes to addictive snacking, sugar is simply in its own category. (Ever heard of a “bitter tooth” or a “sour tooth”?) And even if you’re able to refrain from eating candy and ice cream, finding food that doesn’t have added sugar can be amazingly difficult. Even bread, ketchup, and stir-fries are often loaded up with sweeteners.
The Mediterranean diet seeks to limit or eliminate processed grains and refined sugars, while emphasizing fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. Worried you can’t pull it off without the occasional after-dinner treat? Good news! There are plenty of ways to transform Mediterranean-friendly, nutrient-dense foods into dessert with no added sugar.
We’ve assembled a list of delicious desserts that are totally free from refined sugars and processed grains for a guiltless indulgence. Many of them rely on the natural sweetness of fruits and the richness of cheese or olive oil for a distinct, Mediterranean flavor profile. But wait – how does the Mediterranean diet even work if it’s so lax about sweets?
The Mediterranean diet is all about moderation
Part of what makes the Mediterranean diet so popular is how flexible it is. You don’t have to count carbs or do any math to follow it. As long as you’re eating fresh fruit and vegetables with every meal, and choosing whole grains over refined flours, you can indulge in other things.
Red meat is okay once in a while, and you can eat fish and chicken a few times a week. The diet is naturally high in plant-based protein from chickpeas, beans, and whole grains, and you’ll get a lot of your energy from healthy fats and complex carbohydrates that take a while to digest.
Studies show this diet can work wonders for your health. That includes lower cholesterol, decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, and weight loss. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get all of these benefits, and there are other ways to achieve your health and fitness goals besides limiting your diet to these foods. In fact, the best health and fitness plan is the one that’s thoughtfully catered to the foods you like to eat and the activities you most enjoy. (More on that shortly.)
Better than dieting? That’s Noom
Strict diets can consume your day. And in many ways, they can be just as unhealthy as mindlessly or compulsively eating. Instead, making small, thoughtful choices throughout the day can improve your health without dominating your thoughts. And that’s what Noom is here for. We can help you form a plan that leaves room for you to live your life.
With Noom, you get a personal health coach who strives to help you make SMART goals (that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-oriented) so you can stay motivated throughout the process. And our loving community gives you the support you need to stay on track. If the right diet for you includes some sugar – that’s okay! We can account for that together.
Whether or not you decided to give the Mediterranean diet a try, there’s no reason to abstain from any of these 7 delectable after-dinner treats.
1. Baklava Spice Cupcakes
These cupcakes use whole wheat olive oil, yogurt, and honey for a healthier twist to the classic cake components. Feel free to substitute ground cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar – the cupcakes are rich enough on their own. And even though there’s lots of honey in them, studies have demonstrated that honey is a much healthier option than sugar.
2. Brûléed Ricotta
This Italian twist on crème brûlée uses four simple ingredients and can be ready in minutes. With protein-rich ricotta, sweetened with honey and seasoned with lemon zest, you’ll be amazed at how easy and delightful this recipe is.
3. Orange polenta olive oil cake
Polenta is a versatile Italian staple that’s equally good baked, fried, or served as a creamy porridge. But what about polenta cake? This gluten free recipe is flavored with orange juice and uses almond flour for a richer batter. The recipe may take longer than the typical cakes you’re used to baking – but it’s well worth the wait.
4. Lemon Creme with Blueberries
You don’t need to fire up the oven to enjoy this simple dessert. The creme is prepared with yogurt and cream cheese. Lemon zest brings out the fresh, fruity flavor of the berries, and a touch of honey balances out the tartness.
5. Baked Cinnamon & Honey Bananas
If you’ve always got a few overripe bananas lying around, this is truly the perfect way to put them to use. These baked bananas will be ready in minutes and are a healthy way to enjoy one of the world’s most popular fruits once it’s gone a little too dark and fragrant to eat fresh.
6. Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Pie
It’s no secret that pumpkin is a superfood packed with vitamins, but it’s also delicious. This super dessert pairs with coconut in a whole-wheat shell. The recipe calls for stevia as a sweetener, but because of how flexible the Mediterranean diet is, it’s okay to use real sugar once in a while, as long as you’re mindful about how much you take in.
7. Dessert Wine
If you’re going to enjoy a glass of red wine every evening, why not try a sweet red wine or a fortified wine like sherry or marsala? Moderate alcohol consumption may give your heart and circulatory system a boost, and possibly help protect you from diabetes. And if a glass of wine can double as dessert, even better! The key is moderation, so if that’s something you struggle with, it may be better to skip it.
Looking to kickstart your journey to lasting health? Start your 14-day Noom trial today!