Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts: Guilt-Free Ways To Give Thanks

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

healthy thanksgiving desserts

Healthy Thanksgiving desserts don't usually go hand-in-hand with holiday meals, but you can steer clear of traditional pies, cakes, and other sweet treats and still curb your sweet tooth.

You don't have to forgo dessert this Turkey Day to avoid packing on holiday pounds.

Simply choose the healthy Thanksgiving desserts below!

They taste outstanding, and you can enjoy them guilt-free since they're packed with nutrients and lack added sugar that packs in calories and leads to holiday weight gain.

Check out the following healthy Thanksgiving desserts when planning your next holiday meal!

Can't get enough sweets? Learn how to reduce sugar addiction and recognize sugar addiction symptoms!

Healthy Pumpkin Bars

Instead of traditional pumpkin pie, choose this satiating pumpkin bar recipe instead as one of your healthy Thanksgiving desserts!

Bar Ingredients

Frosting Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a 9 X 9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Melt together the cream cheese and coconut oil on a stove or in your microwave, until you can stir them together easily.
  • Combine the pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil/cream cheese mixture, eggs, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Beat the mixture with a hand mixer at medium speed, until smooth.
  • In another bowl, stir together the almond flour, monk fruit blend, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  • Add the dry flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat them with a hand mixer at low speed until just combined.
  • Transfer the batter to the lined baking pan, smooth out the top, and bake it for 30-35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool the bars completely.
  • Make the frosting using a hand mixture to beat the cream cheese, powdered monk fruit, and vanilla until smooth. If you'd like to, thin the mixture with some milk or cream.
  • Frost the bars, cut them, serve, and enjoy them with your family on Thanksgiving!

Servings: 16

Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake

This keto pumpkin cheesecake recipe is packed with flavor, but it's free from the added sugar found in traditional cheesecake recipes.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup of canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup of granulated erythritol
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut flour
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Generously grease a 9-inch pie pan.
  • In a food processor, add cream cheese, pumpkin, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut flour.
  • Process the mixture until blended, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the eggs and process the mixture just until blended (avoid overmixing).
  • Pour the mixture into a prepared pie pan.
  • Bake it until the cheesecake isn't liquid anymore (about 30-35 minutes).
  • Transfer the cheesecake to a cooling rack and cool it to room temperature (this takes about 2 hours).
  • Cover and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before slicing the cheesecake.
  • To slice it cleanly, use a sharp knife dipped in hot water. Dip it again after cutting each slice.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 8

Cinnamon Baked Apples

Your entire family, even younger kids, will adore this cinnamon-baked apple Thanksgiving dessert!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium apples (about 3 cups sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place the oil on a pie plate or baking dish.
  • Warm the oil in your oven for a few minutes to melt it.
  • Slice the apples into 1/2-inch slices and discard the cores.
  • Place the apples in the baking dish with the oil.
  • Add the cinnamon and toss to combine well.
  • Bake the apples for about 30 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork.
  • Serve the baked apples as one of your healthy Thanksgiving desserts, and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Keto Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Another fun healthy pumpkin-themed dessert that's free from added sugar is this delicious keto pumpkin pie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of stevia
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of unsweetened full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut flour

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9-inch glass pie plate with coconut oil.
  • In a large bowl, using a hand whisk, lightly whisk the eggs.
  • Add the pumpkin, stevia, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla, and whisk until well incorporated.
  • Shake the coconut milk can well. Open the can, and stir it thoroughly.
  • Measure 1 cup (making sure again it's smooth and free of lumps) and add it to the pumpkin mixture, whisking to combine.
  • Then whisk in the coconut flour.
  • Using a rubber spatula, transfer the mixture to the prepared pie plate.
  • Bake the pie until the center appears set (with just the slightest jiggle), and a toothpick inserted in it comes out just a little moist, but free of batter, about 40-45 minutes.
  • Cool the pie for 2 hours on a cooling rack, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pie for at least 2 more hours before slicing and serving.
  • When ready to slice, gently run a knife along the edges of the pie to help release it from the pan.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the pie, and firmly slide a cake server underneath each slice before you lift it up.
  • The pie is fragile, so take care when you slice it and especially when you lift the slices up from the pan.

Servings 8

Apple Pie Quinoa Bowl

Instead of high-calorie traditional apple pie this Thanksgiving, try this apple pie quinoa recipe instead.

Doing so helps cut calories and boosts fiber and protein, so you can eat this holiday dessert guilt-free and stay on track with a healthy lifestyle.

You can even eat this nutritious dessert for breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups of water
  • 2 large apples, diced
  • 1 cup of raw quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of protein almond milk or soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Instructions

  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Add the quinoa, apples, and salt, and cover.
  • Simmer the mixture, covered, for 40 minutes.
  • Turn off the stovetop heat, keep the mixture covered, and let it sit for 20 additional minutes.
  • Stir in the apple pie spice, vanilla, coconut butter, nuts, milk, and honey.
  • Divide the mixture into eight equal servings, serve in eight individual serving bowls, and enjoy it hot or cold!

Servings: 8

Coconut Ice Cream

Top crustless pumpkin pie, apple dishes, or chocolate-flavored healthy Thanksgiving desserts with nutritious homemade coconut ice cream in place of regular ice cream this holiday season.

Doing so helps reduce added sugar, calories, and unwanted inches and pounds.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup of protein almond milk or soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of stevia
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Instructions

  • Mix all of the ingredients above together in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Use an ice cream maker OR freeze the mixture in ice cube trays.
  • Blend the frozen mixture in a blender until smooth.
  • Place the ice cream mixture in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it, serve, and enjoy!

Servings: about 4

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Protein Balls

These protein-rich energy balls work well for just about any occasion, not just as a healthy Thanksgiving dessert.

Try the peanut butter oatmeal protein ball recipe below as a pre- or post-workout snack as well!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of oats
  • 2 scoops of protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of protein almond milk or soy milk

Instructions

  • Combine the protein powder, oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • Add the honey, vanilla extract, and peanut butter, and mix well.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Slowly add in the milk and combine the mixture with your hands until it begins to form a ball shape.
  • Roll the mixture into smaller balls using your hands.
  • Place the balls in a large pan.
  • Chill the protein balls in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them.

Servings: about 24 balls

Cinnamon Baked Pears

Consider this cinnamon-baked pears recipe if you’re looking for a simple but healthy sweet treat to make for Thanksgiving.

Top it with healthy homemade coconut ice cream if you’d like, but it tastes delicious on its own!

Ingredients

  • 4 pears, cored and cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place halved pears on a baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, combine syrup (or honey), cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and walnuts, and mix well.
  • Sprinkle pears with the walnut mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Allow the pears to cool, and enjoy!
  • Top the pears with homemade coconut ice cream if desired.

Servings: 8 pear halves

Erin Coleman
B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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  1. Grease a 9-inch glass pie pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs.
  3. Add the pumpkin, stevia, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Whisk until well mixed.
  4. Shake the coconut milk well. Open the can and stir it thoroughly. Measure 1 cup and add it to the pumpkin mixture. Whisk to combine well, then whisk in the coconut flour.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a prepared pie pain using a spatula.
  6. Bake the pie until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into it comes out a little moist and free of batter (about 40-45 minutes).
  7. Cool the pie for 2 hours on a cooling rack.
  8. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 more hours.
  9. Slice the pie, serve it, and enjoy this nutritious thanksgiving dessert!

Servings: 8

#5 Cranberry Bites

You can serve this cranberry bite recipe as a healthy Thanksgiving dessert or festive holiday snack between meals. Family member of all ages will love these snack-sized, nutrient-dense bites!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup miniature dark chocolate pieces (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork until smooth.
  2. Stir in the oats, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, peanut butter, and dark chocolate pieces if you're using them.
  3. Shape each cranberry bite into 32 bite-sized balls and flatten them slightly.
  4. Chill the bites until you're ready to serve them.
  5. Enjoy!
  6. Store the cranberry bites in an airtight container in a refrigerator up to 3 days or your freezer for up to 3 months.

Servings: 16

#6 Vegan Pecan Pie Bars

Forgo traditional pecan pie this Thanksgiving holiday by choosing a guilt-free, gluten-free, vegan pecan pie bar recipe instead!

Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 7–8 large Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1–2 tablespoons of water, as needed

Salted Caramel Ingredients

  • 20 large Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup of crushed pecans

Instructions

  1. Line a 7×7 or 8×8 square dish with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the rolled oats, pecans, almond flour, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor.
  3. Process these ingredients until they form a crumbled, flour-like mixture.
  4. Add the Medjool dates and process the ingredients again until they form a sticky, crumbled mixture. If needed, add water and process again. You should be able to pinch the dough together with your hands.
  5. Transfer mixture to the square dish and press it down in an even layer.
  6. Combine the Medjool dates, water, vanilla, and salt in your food processor.
  7. Process the mixture until a caramel-like consistency forms. Scrape down the sides of the food processor between pulses, if needed, until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Spread the caramel over the crust in an even layer. Toss the crushed pecans on top and gently press them into the bars.
  9. Chill the pecan bars in your freezer for at least 30 minutes before slicing them.
  10. Serve and enjoy!
  11. Store the pecan pie bars in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. For long-term storage, place them in your freezer.

Servings: 16 bars

#7 Pumpkin Pie Spice Yogurt Parfaits

This pumpkin pie spice yogurt parfait recipe is loaded with flavor and a unique addition to your list of healthy Thanksgiving desserts!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of vanilla Greek yogurt, divided in half
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, divided in half
  • 3/4 cup of crumbled graham crackers, oats, or granola

Instructions

  1. Combine 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, the pumpkin puree, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of yogurt with the remaining pumpkin spice.
  3. In two small glasses, layer the vanilla yogurt, oats or crackers (or granola), pumpkin yogurt, then another layer of oats or other fillings of your choice.
  4. Top each glass with the remaining vanilla yogurt.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 2

#8 Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

This refreshing pumpkin pie smoothie recipe is nutritious and delicious! As it's one of the best healthy Thanksgiving desserts, you can enjoy it this holiday season or any time of the year!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon, crushed almonds, and melted peanut butter as toppings

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in the blender and blend them until smooth.
  2. Add more almond milk if your smoothie is too thick and add ice cubes for a frothier texture.
  3. Serve the smoothies with a pinch of cinnamon, crushed almonds, and a drizzle of peanut butter if you'd like
  4. Enjoy!

Servings: 2

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