According to Health Line, the ketogenic (also known as "keto") diet is similar to the Atkins diet in that it's very low carb, and high in fat. Sound like a dream? It can be, depending on your body's needs. It's intended to lower your blood sugar and insulin levels, all while the lack of carbs you're eating kicks your body into "ketosis," which makes you "efficient at burning fat for energy," according to the article. And even better, you don't necessarily have to give up your desserts on this diet. There are some keto dessert recipes to satiate that sweet tooth, all while not sabotaging your progress on the diet.
The basic rules for the keto diet include only eating 20 net carbs a day, eating meats and dairy that are one to two carbs or less, eating vegetables that are five carbs or less, eating no sugars — including honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, and fruits or fruit juice — and no starches (including whole grains), according to Wicked Stuffed. You can eat dairy, but it has to be full fat (darn). This complete list of foods and their carb values is pretty helpful.
The main downside to this diet, according to NBC News, is that you have to follow the rules "to a T" for it to work. No cheat days. Ever. The article reported if you eat more than your meal plan, you'll risk coming out of "ketosis," and if you don't eat enough the same thing could happen. And falling out of ketosis has some "negative health consequences," according to the article.
Additionally, the article reported people complaining of having the "keto flu," where you get bad headaches, fatigue, nausea, and bad breath. NBC News said this is because "a drop in blood sugar can cause lethargy." Plus, you can be at risk for nutrition deficiencies, the article noted. "You can also develop micronutrient deficiencies that can cause hair loss, and a lot of people become constipated on a ketogenic diet." Pegah Jalali, MS, RD, a clinical coordinator at the New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, recommended in the article that it is important to work with your doctor and a dietitian to make sure you're 100 percent safe when on this diet.
However, the keto diet has also been used to prevent epilepsy in children, and benefit people with chronic conditions such as PCOS and type 2 diabetes, according to WebMD. So if you're currently on this diet or thinking about beginning this journey, you'll enjoy these keto-friendly treats at the end of the day.
1. Low-Carb Cheesecake
This Low-Carb Cheesecake recipe by Wholesome Yum is not only keto-friendly, but is perfect for those on the low carb, gluten-free or sugar-free diet. And it looks creamy and delicious. If you're trying to stay away from all fruit while you're doing keto, simply omit the toping. It's so flavorful, you probably won't miss it.
It takes 10 minutes to prep and an hour to set, so pretty simple right? Plus, there are less than ten ingredients, including almond flour, butter, Erythritol (a natural sweetener), vanilla extract, cream cheese, eggs, and lemon juice.
2. Lemon Pound Cake
Is anyone else's mouth watering? As a southerner, I love me some pound cake, and the fact that this Low-Carb Lemon Pound Cake recipe by Seasonly Creations is gluten free and keto-friendly? Get out of town. According to the blog, it's only 9.5 net carbs per serving. Additionally, the almond flour, xanthan gum, and erythritol keep it keto, while still making it absolutely delicious.
And even though xanthan gum and erythritol sound pretty un-natural, they actually are totally natural replacements for baking powder and sugar respectively.
3. Nut-Free Keto Brownie
Want a brownie recipe that only takes 10 minutes to prep? This Nut-Free Keto Brownie recipe by Ditch the Carbs may be the perfect brownie recipe for you. The author does note, "you must use a really good dark unsweetened cacao powder and mix/emulsify well," so it doesn't taste "eggy." More cacao powder? Yes, please. Especially if this decadent brownie is only 178 calories per serving and 3.5 grams of carbs. Sounds pretty sweet to me. Pun totally intended.
4. Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites
I had to include these Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites by Divalicious Recipes on this list because they remind me of Reese's — one of the best candies on Earth in my opinion. Plus, cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, so it's a win-win. All you need is peanut butter, cream cheese, erythritol, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and dark chocolate. Enjoy.
5. Low-Carb S'mores Bars
There's just something about a s'more than brings me right back to being a kid, camping by the lake, and smelling the smoky fire and enjoying the crackling heat. And of course, the taste of sticky, sweet marshmallow and gooey chocolate. All Day I Dream About Food's S'mores Bar recipe is just as amazing as the original summer treat, but low-carb and keto-friendly.
6. Fudge Fat Bombs
Don't let the name fool you — these decadent and delicious "bombs" aren't going to make you fat. They're low-carb and keto, paleo, grain and gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. And still delicious. Real Balanced made this diet-friendly Fudge Fat Bombs dessert to be delicious enough to satisfy your sweet craving while not undoing all of your hard work.
7. Keto Thin Mints
Man, the Real Balanced blog has a ton of amazing keto dessert recipes. So I couldn't go without mentioning this delicious keto-friendly treat as well. The Keto Thin Mints are just as good as the real deal, and you don't even have to try to dodge the Girl Scouts outside of the grocery store only to be suckered into buying three boxes because they're so darn sweet — plus, Girl Scout cookies.
These faux Thin Mints are "only 1.5 grams of net carbs per cookie," according to the website, and they're grain, gluten, soy, and dairy free. And still yummy.
8. Glazed Donuts
I'm not a super big cake fan — except for cheesecake. So at our wedding, my husband and I decided to forgo the traditional wedding cake (which neither of us would have liked or eaten) and opted for boxes of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for ourselves and our guests. There's nothing like a warm, decadent, Krispy Kreme doughnut, am I right? So these Glazed Donuts from Caroline's Keto Kitchen definitely caught my eye — especially when she said they were "light and fluffy" as she was "trying to steer away from the heavy, cakey, low-carb donut."
You'll just need eggs, almond flour, coconut flour, egg white protein powder, cream cheese, cashew milk, Swerve, salt, baking powder, vanilla, butter, heavy whipping cream, and doughnut pans. Also, I was not aware such a thing existed — doughnut pans — and now I kinda wish I didn't.
9. Flourless Peanut Butter Mug Cake
Y'all. Not only is this cake in a mug absolutely deliciously light and fluffy, but it's easy to make and the perfect serving size for just you — so you don't have to share with anyone. There are just four ingredients — peanut butter, baking powder, an egg, and a sugar substitute — and you microwave it for one minute. That's it! The recipe calls for granulated sugar, but that can easily be substituted with a keto-friendly sweetener. Otherwise, since it's flourless, it's definitely keto-friendly. You have to try this Flourless Peanut Butter Mug Cake by Kirbie's Cravings, you won't be disappointed.
10. Keto Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fat Bombs
Fat bombs seem to be a pretty popular recipe among the keto crowd, I guess since there are a ton of healthy fats in them — and that's one of the most important things for you to consume in a keto diet. These Keto Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fat Bombs from Hello Glow looked too good to overlook — and I sure do love mixing my salts with my sweet (thanks, Memaw). Plus, they include macadamia nuts. Who doesn't like those? You can even keep these in the freezer for a satisfying, filling, and decadent little treat.
This recipe makes 10 cups for you to stash in your freezer, or if you can't wait, they last for two weeks in your refrigerator. Yum.
11. Small & Healthy Grain-Free Lava Cake
Love lava cake and miss it now that you're on the keto diet? Oatmeal with a Fork has you covered with this Small and Healthy Grain-Free Lava Cake recipe. The cool thing about this dessert is it's packed with protein. And though it calls for coconut sugar — where it's a little iffy if that's keto-friendly or not in some circles — you can easily substitute a keto-friendly sweetener in its place to make it 100 percent keto.
12. Low-Carb Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
OK, sorry, I had to do one more recipe from Real Balanced. These Low-Carb Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Bars can get away with the fruitiness by using strawberry extract — since fruit isn't at the top of the list of things you can eat on a keto diet. So we've got strawberry cheesecake, which is freaking delicious on it's own, and adding a chocolate coating around it? And it's bite-sized and low-carb — bring it on.
Again, make sure you've cleared with your healthcare provider whether or not the keto diet is right for you. Extreme changes in your diet can be pretty harmful to your body. But if you're cleared and good to go, enjoy these amazing desserts without blowing your hard work. You've totally earned it.
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