That back-to-school feeling may be in the air, but I insist… summer is not over. I repeat. It is not over! To prove it, we’re doing all of the grilling and entertaining we can at our house. Summertime wouldn’t be the same without ice cream, cobblers, and other classic warm-weather treats so I’ve been on the hunt for light, fresh summer desserts that are guest-approved. I thought I’d share our favorites so far.
Healthy Dessert Ingredients
Summer is the perfect time to indulge in a little dessert since nature gives us plenty of sweet treats in season. Fresh berries, hand-picked peaches, and other fruits are tastiest during the warmer months. Many local farms and farmer’s markets have these organic fruits available at relatively inexpensive prices.
As with all of my recipes, I try to keep things simple because they allow me more time with my family (and less time standing over a hot oven). Plus, easy dessert recipes are a great way to get the kids involved in making (and eating) healthy treats.
I keep my pantry full of these healthy ingredients for when we crave something sweet. Learning to use healthy ingredients to enhance recipes, or to act as substitutes for other not-so-healthy ingredients, is easy to do and not as expensive as you might think. Making the switch to a healthier lifestyle (that includes desserts) is much easier when you have these ingredients on hand.
- Avocado – nutrient-dense and a great source of ‘good’ fats
- Almond flour – an energy-boosting source of healthy fats
- Coconut flour – a low-fat, gluten-free grain alternative
- Coconut milk – a dairy-free alternative for milk and creams
- Maple syrup/honey – antioxidant-rich natural sweeteners
- Coconut sugar – a natural sweetener containing vitamins and minerals
- Stevia – a low-calorie natural sweetener. Read more about my take on it in this post.
- Eggs – binds ingredients while adding protein
- Heavy whipping cream/butter – vitamin-rich and adds a creamy texture. Use grass-fed dairy if possible.
- Coconut oil – a dairy-free, anti-inflammatory alternative to butter
- Cocoa powder – a great way to get that antioxidant-rich chocolate flavor without added sugars
Many of these can be found at local grocery stores or online from Amazon or my favorite, Thrive Market.
12 Healthy & Easy Summer Desserts
These are some of my family’s favorite summer desserts. Whether you are looking for a summertime treat to make with the kids or decadent desserts to serve at your next outdoor gathering, you will certainly find a tasty and nutritious option here!
Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
This recipe puts a healthy twist on one of my favorite summertime treats. Avocados and coconut milk create a creamy base, while peppermint extract adds that familiar (and refreshing!) minty flavor.
My kids love to help me whip this up. From start to finish, the process is easy with an ice cream maker. But, if you don’t have one, just freeze the mixture and stir it every half an hour until it reaches the desired consistency.
Another favorite I eat all year round… homemade coffee ice cream!
No-Bake Raspberry Chocolate Pie
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes! Cocoa powder, raspberries, almonds, and honey create a healthy (and decadent) summer treat that children and adults will love.
Follow the recipe for a large pie, or use single serve dishes. I’ve made this no-bake dessert recipe in pint-sized mason jars for summer dinner parties and it was a big hit. You can also use strawberries instead of raspberries for an early summer variation.
Fruit Smoothie Sorbet
This sorbet is a refreshing summer dessert without the added sugars and artificial ingredients of store-bought treats. Fresh (or frozen) fruit, one banana, and a cup of coconut milk are all you need to whip this up.
You can use an ice cream maker, but I just use my blender. My kids love coming up with new flavor combinations. It’s a great way to get them to try different fruits, too.
Crock Pot Cheesecake
This recipe makes a delicious and healthy cheesecake base without heating up the house with the oven. The grain-free crust is made with almonds or pecans, while the cheesecake is sweetened with stevia or honey (you choose!).
Cheesecake is versatile and can be adapted to fit the season. Top it with fresh blueberries or add strawberries and drizzle with a dark chocolate sauce for a summery twist.
10-Minute Peach Cobbler
This recipe is a seasonal favorite at my house. It is easy to throw together and utilizes fresh peaches and almond flour to create a grain-free cobbler. Top this cobbler with a healthy whipped topping made from heavy whipping cream and stevia for that classic peaches and cream taste.
I love that I can use this recipe to make a single serving or enough for 10 people to enjoy. When peaches aren’t in season, I substitute berries and other soft fruits in their place.
Chocolate Coconut Clusters
These simple coconut clusters are easy to make and almost taste too good to be healthy (but, I promise, they are). Coconut, almond butter, and chocolate is a perfect combination of sweet, savory, and creamy. They are full of healthy fats and sweetened with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
My kids always want to help with these, and I often catch them sneaking bites in the process. These are perfect to have on hand for a healthy snack, but they are decadent enough to serve as a dessert, too.
Healthy Panna Cotta
Panna cotta is Italian for “cooked cream” and has a pudding-like texture. This recipe is dairy-free (although you can substitute dairy milk if you prefer) and calls for honey and maple syrup to sweeten it up. A key ingredient in panna cotta is gelatin. Grass-fed gelatin is a healthy source of protein and can soothe the digestive tract.
I love the versatility of this recipe. Dress it up with caramel or chocolate sauce for special occasions, or keep it simple with summer berries and nuts for a nutrient-dense treat.
Healthy Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Vanilla ice cream is good, but butter pecan is better. This recipe is filled with healthy fats (the kind we need for a happy brain) and sweetened with natural sweeteners. Who knew ice cream could taste this good, and be good for you (in moderation, of course)?
This recipe can even be made dairy-free by replacing the butter with coconut oil. Using homegrown pecans from the local farmers market makes this treat extra special.
Berry Cream Bars
This recipe is a bit more involved than the others listed here, but I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. These bars are delicious!
With dates, honey, coconut, raspberries and blackberries, this recipe makes a delicious and healthy summer treat. I imagine you could substitute blueberries and strawberries for the raspberries and blackberries, too.
Paleo Avocado Brownies
Sometimes I just need a fudgy, chocolate brownie. That’s why I created this grain-free brownie recipe with avocados and dairy-free dark chocolate.
This recipe is rich in nutrients and antioxidants and naturally sweetened with honey. Add nuts for an additional protein boost.
For a fun, summery dessert add fresh or dried edible flowers (daisies, violets, lavender, calendula, or chamomile, for example) either in the mix or as a garnish. If adding them into the mix, make sure to finely crush the flowers.
Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Making strawberry ice cream at home is one of my favorite ways to use fresh strawberries. Egg yolks and coconut milk add protein, while honey and strawberries naturally sweeten the creamy base. Add a banana, peanut butter drizzle, homemade marshmallows, coconut cream or whipped cream for a healthy strawberry banana split.
This ice cream won’t be as bright pink as store-bought ones that use artificial dyes. If you still want that bright pink hue, you can try a natural food dye.
Paleo Lemon Blueberry Cake
Better than strawberry shortcake, this lemon blueberry cake combines the light and refreshing flavors of summer together perfectly. Fresh (rather than frozen) blueberries and plenty of lemon juice make this cake delicious and healthy. It’s also grain and dairy-free, which I love.
Although this recipe is a little more involved, it is totally worth the extra effort. It would be perfect for a summer brunch or afternoon coffee date with friends.
Coconut Mango Popsicles
These healthy popsicles are a great frozen treat for hot summer days, but they’re also great for digestion! With coconut water kefir as the base, these offer probiotics as well as electrolytes. They’re so easy to make the kids often make them all by themselves.
If you don’t want to wait, you can skip the fermentation step and use plain coconut water. You’ll miss the probiotic benefits but will still have a tasty and healthy treat.
While this isn’t exactly a recipe, I think it’s worth including. I love that my kids enjoy fruit so much and don’t need additional sweets all the time. Fresh fruit is one of our favorite desserts, especially when the fruit is fresh and in season. We like to have fresh berries, sliced peaches, and watermelon for summertime treats. Don’t forget a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra antioxidants!
Easy Summer Desserts for Summer Memories
I can’t help but be nostalgic about summer with all of the swimming, playing, exploring, and tasty summer treats. That’s why I love having this arsenal of healthy summertime desserts so my kids can have the same fun memories (without all the junk!).
Seize every moment!
What are your favorite healthy summertime treats?