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Nutritious, delicious treats to satisfy your sweet tooth

Making a good treat to satisfy your sweet tooth does not mean you have to sacrifice your health doing it.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Summertime brings about many gatherings, barbecues and parties with a dessert table. However, that dessert does not have to be full of sugar, fat and calories to taste good. There are many ways to make a nutritious, flavorful dessert that does not require a fancy, time-consuming recipe. Here are a few simple desserts that require just five ingredients or less in under 150 calories. 

For today's On the Menu segment, Mercy Health Registered Dietitian Rebecca Serra, RD, shares some key points on simple, low calorie, nutritious desserts that require only five ingredients or less.


Espresso Granita with Whipped Coconut Cream (Calories: 112)


  • 2 cups hot espresso or very strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chilled coconut cream or whipped cream
  • Bittersweet chocolate shavings


Stir espresso or coffee, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves.

Pour into a 9-by-9 metal baking pan. Freeze for 1 hour. Stir, mashing any frozen parts with the back of a fork. Cover; freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Using a fork, scrape granita vigorously to form icy flakes.

Beat cream and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl until peaks form. Divide granita among bowls or glasses. Top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.

The granita can be made three days ahead. Cover tightly with foil; keep frozen. Give it a quick scrape before serving. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1/2 cup each.

Strawberry Banana Vegan Ice Cream (Calories: 101)


  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 3 medium strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream


Cut the ripe banana into large chunks and halve the strawberries. Place them into a freezer-safe container and freeze. Add the coconut cream into one well of an ice cube tray. If you don’t have one, line a small glass jar with plastic wrap and pour the cream in there. Freeze.

When ready to enjoy, add all ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth. You can now enjoy it as soft-serve. Freeze for an additional 3–5 hours for a true ice cream texture.

Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt (Calories: 147)


  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (or any plain yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or any sweetener)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice


Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and mix until smooth. If you want the frozen yogurt to taste more like sorbet, add a tiny bit more lemon juice.

Serve immediately, with your favorite toppings.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies (Calories: 96)


  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of uncooked Quick Oats 
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with cooking spray or use a non-stick silicone baking sheet.

Combine the mashed bananas and oats in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips and place a tablespoon of each on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

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