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45 Light Desserts That’ll Hit the Spot

Just because you're trying to eat a little healthier doesn't mean you have to skip out on the sweet stuff. These light desserts are creamy, fruity, chocolatey, whipped and spiced just right. Best of all, they won't wreck your diet. So, go ahead, have your cake (or pie, or cookie...) and eat it, too.

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Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

I began making these moist cupcakes in grade school and still bake them today. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Yogurt-Ricotta Cheesecake

I have always liked Italian ricotta cheesecakes, but they have too much sugar for me. I made a light version, and my family couldn’t even tell the difference! I serve mine with sugar-free strawberry ice cream topping and fresh strawberries. —Diane Shipley, Mentor, Ohio
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Mocha Meringue Sandwich Cookies

These crisp, chewy cookies can be made any size you choose. They're also great with a variety of fillings—try making them with fruit preserves. —Marie Valdes, Brandon, FL
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Frozen Banana Cereal Pops

When we want a healthy snack, we dip bananas in yogurt, roll 'em in cereal, then freeze. Ta-da! —Scarlett Elrod, Newnan, Georgia
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Makeover Peach Upside-Down Cake

Makeover Peach Upside-Down Cake

This peachy delight has charmed folks for years. Our lightened version is even better with less fat and calories than other similar recipes.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Banana Chocolate Cake

This light-as-air chocolate cake has a yummy banana flavor. It’s scrumptious as is, but you can also dress it up with nuts or light frostings. —Tina Bellows, Racine, Wisconsin
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Fluffy Key Lime Pie

For a taste of paradise, try this no-bake Key lime pie recipe. It's low in fat, sugar and fuss. It truly is the best Key lime pie recipe ever! —Frances VanFossan, Warren, Michigan
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Makeover Fruit Pizza

There’s nothing better than a guilt-free dessert, especially when it’s topped with refreshing and colorful fruit. We skimmed the calories and fat from a traditional fruit pizza to create one with about half the calories, fat and cholesterol. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Grilled Honey Balsamic-Glazed Fruit

One summer my mother-in-law made us grilled peaches basted with a sweet and tangy sauce. These are so good I'm always tempted to eat the whole batch. —Kristin Van Dyken, West Richland, Washington
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Grilled Cranberry Pear Crumble

My husband loves it when I make dessert. Fruit crisps are easy and quick to prepare, so I make them often! I created this fall-flavored grilled version with fresh pears and items I had on hand. We loved it. —Ronna Farley, Rockville, Maryland
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Meringue Shells with Lemon Curd

We love a dazzling dessert of meringue shells filled with sunny lemon curd. It’s sweet and tart, crunchy and fluffy. Top it with whipped cream and berries. —Kris Brill, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Makeover Lemon Pound Cake

Makeover Lemon Pound Cake

For this lovely golden cake, I use fat-free yogurt to trim the calories. It's a comforting dessert for days when it's warm enough to dine outside. —Lauren Gilmore, Pennington, New Jersey
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Cranberry Stuffed Apples

Cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts add a homey autumn flavor to these stuffed apples, but the slow cooker does most of the work for me. —Graciela Sandvigen, Rochester, New York
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Sonoran Sunset Watermelon Ice

If you didn’t think watermelon and cilantro could go together in a dessert, this recipe will give you a pleasant surprise! Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and a sprig of cilantro on top for extra flair. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Makeover Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Both of my boys loved this makeover version of a family favorite, and even my husband, who is a bit picky, wants a piece in his lunch tomorrow! —Mary Lou Moeller, Wooster, Ohio
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Sour Cream Bavarian

Are you ‘sweet on’ someone who’s counting calories? Show them you care with this light and refreshing dessert. It’s sinfully creamy and so pretty with the tart raspberry sauce. No one would ever guess that it’s fat-free! —Judi Janczewski, Berwyn, Illinois
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Light Strawberry Pie

People rave about this luscious strawberry pie. Best of all, it’s a low-sugar sensation that you won’t feel guilty eating. —Lou Wright, Rockford, Illinois
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Apple Pie Oatmeal Dessert

Warm and comforting oatmeal desserts bring back memories of time spent with my family around the kitchen table. I serve this dish with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream as a topper. —Carol Greer, Earlville, Illinois
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Frozen Greek Vanilla Yogurt

It's simple and easy to make your own frozen Greek yogurt—you might even want to get the kids in on the fun. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Ginger Plum Tart

Sweet cravings, begone: This free-form plum tart is done in only 35 minutes. Plus, it's extra-awesome when served warm. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Healthy Apple Crisp

This easy dish is a tradition in my family. It's as quick as a boxed cake mix but it's a healthier dessert choice. It's ideal in fall when it seems that everyone has a bag or two of fresh apples to give away! —Terri Wetzel, Roseburg, Oregon
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Frozen Berry & Yogurt Swirls

I enjoy these frozen yogurt pops because they double as a healthy snack and a cool, creamy sweet treat. —Colleen Ludovice, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Apple-Spice Angel Food Cake

I dressed up an angel food cake mix with some nuts, spice and applesauce to make an easy and light dessert. I serve it with a dollop of whipped topping mixed with a half cup of sour cream. —Joan Buehnerkemper, Teutopolis, Illinois
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Root Beer Float Pie

This is the kind of recipe your kids will look back on and always remember. And you don't even need to use an oven. —Cindy Reams, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
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Carrot Cookie Bites

This recipe is a longtime family favorite. The cookies are soft and delicious, and the aroma while baking is absolutely irresistible! I'm always being asked for the recipe. —Jeanie Petrik, Greensburg, Kentucky
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Pumpkin Chip Cake with Walnuts

Pumpkin Chip Cake with Walnuts

My grandmother gave me this family recipe. After a few changes, I made the treat even healthier and tastier. Holidays wouldn’t be the same without it!-Amy Bridgewater, Aztec, New Mexico
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Grapefruit, Lime & Mint Yogurt Parfait

Tart grapefruit and lime are balanced with a bit of honey in this cool and easy parfait. —Lois Enger, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Picnic Berry Shortcakes

You can make the berry sauce ahead of time and chill it. Then assemble the entire dessert right before the picnic or party. —Frieda Bliesner, McAllen, Texas
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Grilled Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

One night I goofed, accidentally using the balsamic butter I save for grilling chicken on my pound cake. What a delicious mistake that my entire family loved! For a patriotic look, add a drizzle of blueberry syrup. —Tammy Hathaway, Freeman Twp, Maine
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Low-Fat Peanut Butter Cookies

When you bite into one of these yummy cookies, you'll never guess it's low in fat. This is my family's favorite healthy peanut butter cookie recipe. —Maria Regakis, Saugus, Massachusetts
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Mango Rice Pudding

Mangoes are my son's favorite fruit, so I was ecstatic to incorporate them into a healthy dessert. You can also use ripe bananas instead of mango, almond extract instead of vanilla, or regular milk in place of soy. —Melissa McCabe, Victor, New York
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Light Cheesecake

Our family adores cheesecake, but I wanted to serve something healthier. I came up with this lighter version that I make for both holidays and everyday. —Diane Roth, Adams, Wisconsin
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Sweet Potato Frozen Yogurt Pops

Once I had my little girl I quickly became really creative in the kitchen, needing to have healthy foods on hand. These frozen treats turned out to be a favorite and are a staple in our home. —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
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Chewy Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

My cookies get coated with sugar, spice and everything nice! They turn out soft on the inside and a little crunchy on the outside, the dough is easy to work with, and they taste fantastic. What more could you ask for in a cookie? —Ashley Wisniewski, Champaign, Illinois
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Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Meringue Roses

Eat these pretty treats as is or crush them into a bowl of strawberries and whipped cream. Readers of my blog, utry.it, went nuts when I posted that idea.—Amy Tong, Anaheim, California
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Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

I lightened up this quick and easy dessert by making a few substitutions. Because the treat is so sweet, no one will know it's healthy, too.—Roxanne Chan, Albany, California.
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Black Bean Brownies

You’d never guess these rich, velvety chocolate treats contain a can of black beans. Who would have thought black bean brownies would be so amazing? —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island
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Chocolate-Dipped Phyllo Sticks

Looking for a little something special to share with friends or family? Try these crunchy treats. They’re great with coffee or a glass of milk. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
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Berry White Ice Pops

Nothing says summer like an ice pop. Kids and adults alike love this fruit-filled version. —Sharon Guinta, Stamford, Connecticut
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Vanilla Meringue Cookies

Want to learn how to make meringues? This meringue cookie recipe creates light, airy morsels. It's the perfect fat-free treat to really beat a sweets craving. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Cinnamon Nut Bars

Classic bar meets good-for-you ingredients in this updated recipe. If you have the patience, after the bars are cool, store them in a tin for a day to allow the flavors to meld...I think they taste even better the next day.— Heidi Lindsey, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
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Strawberry-Rosemary Yogurt Pops

We planted strawberries a few years ago and these tangy-sweet frozen yogurt pops are my very favorite treats to make with them! The options are endless. Try using other yogurt flavors like lemon, raspberry or blueberry. You may also substitute your favorite herb for the rosemary—or simply omit it. —Carmell Childs, Ferron, Utah
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Cranberry and Pear Crisp

This dessert is perfect for that first autumn day you can feel a nip in the air. It’s full of sweet, crunchy fall flavors. —Lori Choquette, Holyoke, Massachusetts
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Mixed Berry Sundaes for 2

Before serving yogurt sundaes, get ready for requests for seconds. Our family enjoys them for breakfast, but they're sweet enough for dessert. What an easy way to get our fruit and calcium. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Grilled Stone Fruits with Balsamic Syrup

Get ready to experience another side of stone fruits. Hot off the rack, these grilled nectarines practically melt in your mouth. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California

Rachel Seis
As senior editor for Taste of Home magazine, Rachel has her hand in everything you see from cover to cover, from writing and editing articles to taste-testing recipes to ensuring every issue is packed with fun and fabulous content. She'll roll up her sleeves to try any new recipe in the kitchen—from spicy Thai dishes (her favorite!) to classic Southern comfort food (OK...also her favorite). When she's not busy thinking of her next meal, Rachel can be found practicing yoga, going for a run, exploring National Parks and traveling to new-to-her cities across the country.
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