4 Dessert Ingredient Substitutes That Reduce Calories

Do you love to make desserts? Are those desserts keeping you from losing weight? You're not alone. Plenty of women struggle with their conflicting desires to lose weight and to satisfy their sweet tooth. The good news is that you don't necessarily have to cut out sweets entirely to meet your weight loss goals. You just need to modify the types of desserts that you eat. There are some skinny recipes for your favorite desserts that use healthy ingredient substitutes. Those ingredients replace sugar, fat, and other ingredients that serve up empty calories. Here are four of the most commonly used healthy substitute ingredients in desserts:

Bananas. A banana can work well in anything that should have a fruity taste. Banana also pairs well with chocolate, so it's a good substitute ingredient in everything from milkshakes to brownies to cakes. You don't need much banana to cut out a significant amount of calories. In fact, you can use mashed or pureed bananas as a healthy replacement for a portion of a recipe's required oil. Even replacing 25 or 50 percent of the oil with banana will replace empty calories with a healthy alternative. As an added bonus, you'll get a boost in potassium, which can improve your heart health.

Dates. Dates have a sweet taste but they don't have all the negative health effects that come with sugar. You can use them as a sweetener in almost any dessert. You simply mix the dates with water and then puree them in a blender. You'll then have a creamy mix that you can use as a replacement for fat, shortening, and sugar in everything from brownies to pie crust to smoothies. Dates are also a good source of iron and fiber.

Applesauce. Yes, applesauce makes a great baking ingredient. You may think that it only works in apple-related items, like apple pie, but that's not the case. Look for unsweetened applesauce, which has low sugar content and a very mild taste. You can use it in just about anything, but it works particularly well as a substitute for shortening and oil in muffins and cakes to replace empty calories and provide a shot of fiber.

Pumpkin or sweet potato puree. Use these purees as substitutes for fat in spice or chocolate desserts. Pumpkins can also serve as a replacement for eggs and oil in brownies. Both ingredients provide a boost of vitamins A and C and reduce the overall calorie count of your sweet desserts.

You don't have to give up your favorite sweets to lose weight. You just need to think about your desserts differently. Implement these and other sweet and healthy recipes to lose weight and you'll likely meet your weight loss goals in no time.