Healthier Dessert Recipes for Bananas Foster and Brownies

Healthier Recipes for Bananas Foster and Brownies

Plus, tips for amping up the nutritional value of deserts.

Healthy Bananas Foster Recipe

Bananas Foster | Photo by Rachel Benavides

Dessert plays an undeniable role in the meaningful moments of our lives. It’s the crowd favorite on holidays and special occasions. We offer it to those who are grieving and friends who are celebrating. No dinner date night is complete without it. 

For those of us who like sweets on a regular basis, a nutritious alternative can keep us on track with our health goals while we have our cake and eat it too; and because eating healthy looks different for different diners, we’ve compiled a variety of strategies to adapt your favorite treats. Whether you’ve gone gluten-free, are playing at paleo or watching your added sugar, here are our top tips to make over your desserts:

  • Trim the fat. Try grass-fed butter, pastured lard or coconut oil for a lower inflammatory fat in pastries or pie shells. Sub in applesauce to cut the saturated fat and add a higher-fiber sweetener.
  • Swap in natural sugars. Use pureed fruits, like apples, bananas, dates or pears, to sweeten muffins, coffee cakes or frozen desserts. Honey, maple syrup or molasses can add a richer flavor than granulated sugar. Sugar substitutes such as monk fruit and sucralose can help reduce the glycemic load for people watching their blood sugar.
  • Go with your gut. Desserts with colorful fruits, vegetables (carrots, beets, pumpkins or sweet potatoes) and dark chocolate offer probiotic phytochemicals and fiber that promote gut health.
  • Don’t forget the flour. Substitute a third of the all-purpose flour in a brownie or blondie with whole wheat flour. Add protein with spelt, amaranth, garbanzo or oat flour. Try a gluten-free baking blend if you’re new to the game.
  • Amp up the nutrients. Add walnuts, flax or chia seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids to pies or puddings. Ditch the dairy and try coconut milk in custard or mousse.

We put these tools to work in two classic dishes: bananas Foster and homemade brownies. Our bananas Foster flambé gets most of its sweetness from fiber-rich bananas. We top the warm bananas with nice cream, a three-ingredient frozen dessert without added sugar.

Better-for-you brownies are rich and moist, thanks to heart-healthy avocados and dark chocolate for a powerful antioxidant punch. They contain a third of the sugar of traditional brownies and are gluten-free. These desserts prove that sometimes your favorite food just needs a little love and ingenuity to love you right back.


Bananas Foster Flambé for healthy recipe
Bananas Foster Flambé | Photo by Rachel Benavides

Bananas Foster Flambé with Nice Cream

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 ripe but firm bananas, halved vertically
  • 1/3 cup dark rum


Melt the butter with brown sugar and lime juice in a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the banana slices to the brown sugar mixture and brown for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Remove the skillet from the heat and pour in the rum. Place the skillet back over the heat and tilt the skillet to ignite the fire if using a gas range. Alternately, bring a lit match close to the sauce to ignite the alcohol in the mixture. Let the alcohol burn off and the flame die before transferring the banana and a generous spoonful of sauce to a serving bowl. Top with a scoop of nice cream.

Nice Cream Ingredients:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (optional)


Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If the mixture is not solid enough to scoop, freeze for 30 minutes to harden.


Healthy Brownies Recipe
Better For You Brownies | Photo by Rachel Benavides

Better-for-You Brownies

Makes 1 8×8-inch pan

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or gluten-free
  • 1:1 baking mix
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 3 oz dark chocolate bar (70% cacao
  • or greater), roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch pan with baking spray. Blend the avocado in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (except the dark chocolate bar) and blend into a smooth batter. Stir in the chocolate chunks and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.