Desserts to Make Your Heart Happy

posted by Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD on Monday, February 5, 2024

Eating to keep your heart healthy can feel a bit complicated. Balancing heart health and enjoying what you eat might seem like two things that don’t go together; not to mention the question of what to do when you have a craving for something sweet...but it can be done! There are many options for foods that won’t break the bank when it comes to sodium and saturated fats, which are two of the biggest concerns regarding heart health. Here are a few tips to help you include dessert that will make your heart happy!

Try to make desserts at home to minimize unhealthy fats that can be lurking in prepackaged treats. Premade pastries, cookies, and brownies often contain a lot of saturated fat, which also makes them last longer on the shelf. But if you make them at home, you can use liquid vegetable oils like canola or avocado instead of butter. You can also add in a few extra ingredients to boost nutrition and flavor.

Tip #1 - Use fruit as the main event or incorporate it into your recipes. On a daily basis, fruit can feel decadent and sweet, but gives you lots of great nutrition to end your meal. You could also do something like a poached pear or grilled peaches for a fancier fruit dessert. Other options might include a traditional fruit crisp with an oatmeal topping or chocolate-covered strawberries.

Tip #2 - Add nuts. Walnuts are a great source of Omega-3 fats for heart health, but any nut is a great source of protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Add nuts to cookies, sprinkle on brownies, or make a nut bark with dark chocolate.

Tip #3 - Go for dark chocolate. There are a lot of options out there, so choose products that are at least 70% or higher. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that play a role in cancer prevention and heart health. You can melt dark chocolate down and dip fruit in it or make a nut bark. You can also use dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate cocoa powder/baking chocolate as an easy swap out.

Tip #4 - Add some cherries. Cherries contain anthocyanins that protect blood vessels. You can swap them for other dried fruit in recipes, dip them in melted dark chocolate, or make a cherry crisp.

Tip #5 - Try beans in your dessert! Beans are a healthy carb that adds protein and fiber to recipes. Recipes for black bean brownies have been around as long as I can remember, but I have also seen recipes for white bean blondies. You can also make a chocolate dessert hummus made with garbanzo beans. It might sound a bit odd, but you never even know they are in there!

Hopefully these tips will help you focus on what you can include in dessert to pack in the nutrition and allow you to still enjoy a little sweet treat in your life!

Try these websites for some great recipe ideas:

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

avocado truffles

These truffles are made with avocado instead of heavy cream.

Makes 25 truffles


  • 1-1/3 cups mashed avocado, about 2 large (make sure it is ripe and soft)
  • 1-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Dark Morsels)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder


Add avocado and salt to a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler (you can also put in the microwave in 20-second intervals until melted). Pour chocolate into a food processor and pulse until avocado is no longer visible. Chill mixture in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Scoop the mixture with a small cookie scoop and roll it into one-inch balls; you should get about 25. Fill a shallow bowl with cocoa powder and roll each truffle until coated. Place on parchment paper. Store in the fridge.

Note: You can mash avocado with a fork and blend it with chocolate—just work hard to make it very smooth.

Nutrition Info: 1 truffle: 67 calories, 1 gm protein, 6 gm fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 6 gm carbohydrates, 2 gm fiber, 3 gm added sugar

About The Author

Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD

Darlene DeWitt is one of Spencer Hospital’s Registered Dietitians. Darlene currently provides outpatient services in the areas of Diabetes management, heart disease, weight loss, GI issues and other various health concerns.  She received her Master of Science degree in nutrition from C ... read more