When you shake up your lifestyle, sweets are often the first to go. Drastic measures and deprivation are hallmarks of failed diets. A better approach is to take small steps each day in the right direction.

Your overall pattern of eating is far more important than whether you have a treat every now and again. “Known as ‘the total diet approach’, this idea teaches that all foods can fit within a balanced eating plan when consumed in moderation, in appropriate portion sizes and when combined with exercise,” says Candice Smith, Head of Vitality’s nutrition strategy.

Fresh fruit and nuts make fantastic bases for healthy desserts, with enough natural flavour and the added benefits of plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, without compromising on decadence. Substitutions for traditional recipe ingredients can also reduce kilojoules while adding health benefits.

Smith suggests these health-boosting dessert ideas:

  • Keep portions small. A few bites is generally enough to satisfy the sweetest of teeth.
  • Plate up attractively. A focus on presentation encourages guests or family members to eat slowly and savour each bite.
  • For gluten-free options, replace wheat flour with almond flour or desiccated coconut.
  • Plant protein powerhouses, like black beans can stand in for flour in certain recipes.
  • Low-fat plain yoghurt or unsweetened low fat evaporated milk is a great replacement for cream/sour cream.
  • Grease pans with non-stick spray instead of butter.
  • Replace sugar with unsweetened apple sauce.
  • All dried cranberries contain added sugar – rather opt for other dried fruit without the added sugar.
  • Bake custard-based tarts with low-fat milk.
  • Fresh fruit makes for great healthy desserts as most contain enough natural sweetness just as they are.

Try this chocolate tart with nut crust – all the delicious without the deprivation!


  • 150g almonds, ground
  • 150g dates, dried
  • 450g 70% dark chocolate
  • 550ml low-fat milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 90g unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 90g unsalted pecan nuts
  • 30ml honey
  • 5ml water


Preheat oven to 160°C.

Toast the ground almonds in the oven until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Blend almonds and dates in a food processor until the mixture binds together in a smooth paste.

Line a 20cm tart tin with the ground almond mixture by pressing it into a thin layer covering the base and sides and place in the refrigerator until needed.

Roast pecan nuts and macadamia nuts in the oven until they start to release aroma.

Heat the milk on the stove until it comes to the boil. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until all the chocolate has melted.
Allow to cool slightly before adding the eggs, which have been slightly whisked.

Pour chocolate mixture into tart shell and decorate with the toasted nuts on top. Place tart in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven.

Place honey and water in a tea cup and melt in the microwave. Brush the top of the chocolate tart with the honey glaze.

Serves: 16, Preparation time: 20min, Cooking time: 35min


Recipe developed by the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio

The Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio is a teaching and dining kitchen located in Sandton, Johannesburg where you can take part in fun and interactive cooking classes to help ignite a life-long love of healthy, appetising cooking.

Proudly launched in partnership with Woolworths and Prue Leith Chefs Academy.

Book online at www.healthyfoodstudio.co.za


Follow Elle Decoration on TwitterFacebook & Instagram