Easy Change #9: Make Desserts Less Sweet

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This is part of my Easy Changes series. Want to take a small step toward better health? Check them out and make an easy change today!

Ever since my road to healthier eating started a few years ago, I've been trying to train my taste buds to be satisfied with less sugar. 

Did you know you can change your tastes by choice? I mentioned a while back that I did this with vegetables: when I learned how good they were for me, I started enjoying them more, and was more willing to try new ones. Now I'm a veggie lover!

I used to never think twice about the amount of sugar in something. I remember gorging on sweets in the cafeteria my freshman year of college, without even a tinge of guilt.

But as my eyes began to open to the negative effects of sugar, my palate started wanting it less.

Sugar in Moderation

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a sweet treat fairly often, especially if it's homemade ice cream. And if I'm offered dessert, I don't usually turn it down. But I try eat it slowly, and I might share it with my husband so we're both eating less of it. And when I make my own desserts, I always use less sugar than the recipe calls for.

I think it's fine to eat some sugar. In some cases, it might even be beneficial to your health. But moderation is key. Use less, and consume it less often. How sweet does your dessert really need to be? And do you really need one every night, or every time you go out to eat?


The Challenge

So today your challenge is to make your desserts a little less sweet.

How much to cut? I'd start with cutting out about 1/3 of the sugar. If your recipe calls for a cup of sugar, try 2/3 cup.

Now, this may not work well with fancy, light as air cakes. But for every-day sorts of treats like cookies, sweet breads, muffins, ice cream, or pudding, it should be just fine. 

Also, if you are getting a recipe from a blogger who you know tries to use sugar in moderation, use your judgement before cutting any out. It might be just fine the way it is.

When I make homemade ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, I cut the sugar in half. I also replace it with healthier options, but I'll get to that in another post. The easiest change is to simply cut back!

You can do it, I promise.

Want to try some desserts that already use sweetener in moderation? How about my Rhubarb Coffeecake, Healthy Cookie Dough Bites, or Breakfast Brownies? And don't forget the Basil & Pine Nut Ice Cream with Blackberry Swirl!

If you try cutting down the sugar in a favorite recipe, let me know how it goes!


This is part of: Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Healthy2Day Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Keep it Real Thursday, Eat Make Grow, Frugal Food Thursday, Freaky Friday, Monday Mania


  1. Great suggestion! I always cut the sweetener in my baked goods, and sometimes they're still too sweet for me. I also use bananas, dates, or fruit juice in place of sugar in some recipes. It's amazing how easily you can adapt your taste buds to be satisfied with less sweetener.

    1. awesome tips about fruit! I'm never sure how to make those substitutions...

  2. In total agreement here on cutting back the amounts of sugar in quick bread recipes. We've been tweaking a banana bread recipe this summer and just bumping the amount of fruit has allowed us to get down to just 1/2 cup of sugar in a large loaf.

  3. Great advice! I've recently almost completely eliminated sugar from my diet, and it's made a huge difference. I believe strongly that sugar is one of the main culprits of a lot of health issues. Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday!

    1. Anne, way to be! I'm so glad that eliminating sugar has helped you to be well! We try to consume in moderation around here, and almost never refined sugar - usually honey, maple syrup, or sucanat. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great tips, I think it's important for people to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in their diet. If you do too much too fast, you're taste buds won't be satisfied, or your husband. I know when I started reducing the sugar in sweets (and after I finally told him that I was) he wasn't quite as pleased with the outcome. Now, a couple years later, he's finally to the point where having store bought sweets and family get togethers make him sick.

    1. Jerri - I know, desserts at gatherings are rough sometimes! But you do need to work to find that balance to fit your taste buds. I've definitely erred on the side of not sweet enough. Poor husband! :)