8 Seasonal Fruit-Based Treats to Make at Home

They're low-cal, seriously sweet—and there's no oven required.

Updated on June 20, 2022

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Fruit salad is the quintessential summer dessert, but let's face it, the same old melon balls and grapes can get pretty boring after a while. Before reaching for yet another bowl of cantaloupe, try making one of these creative, healthy, low-calorie recipes from nutrition expert Lauri Watson, RD, with Summerville Medical Center in Summerville, South Carolina. They combine the flavors and nutritional power of in-season produce with the textures of decadent desserts you love, like ice cream and custard. 

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This frozen dessert, akin to a scraped Italian ice, is about as simple and versatile as it gets.

First, select your favorite seasonal fruit, like strawberries, blackberries or watermelon. Then blend with lemon or lime juice—about 1 tablespoon per cup of fruit—and a bit of water. 

Once your liquid is smooth, pour into a wide, shallow baking dish and freeze for an hour. When the wait is over, grab a fork. Scrape the frozen mixture until you're left with a tray of icy flakes. Then place it back in the freezer for another 60 minutes. Repeat this step once more, scoop some into a bowl and you'll be ready to dig in.

Cool, refreshing and sweetened with natural flavors, a watermelon or strawberry granita contains a mere 50 calories per cup.

a bowl of frozen dessert made with blended bananas, accompanied by a fresh banana
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Banana 'ice cream'

Ice cream is a favorite summer dessert, but the traditional variety is typically loaded with sugar and saturated fat. "Healthy" store-bought options, meanwhile, often come loaded with additives your body doesn't need.

Making healthy "ice cream" in your own kitchen is possible, and requires just one ingredient—bananas. Peel, dice, and freeze a banana. Then toss it in your blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Giving your fruit a minute or two to soften outside the freezer may make blending a bit easier. Watson tops her frozen bananas with a bit of all-natural peanut butter or fresh berries, but a dusting of cocoa powder, cinnamon, or chopped nuts would also make a wholesome addition.

One large frozen banana contains just 120 calories and cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa are virtually calorie-free. For chopped nuts and nut butters, stick to a tablespoon at 43 and 94 calories, respectively. If you're adding berries, tally up 40 calories per 1/2 cup.

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Yogurt Popsicle

These pre-portioned frozen treats are as simple to make as they are to eat. To prepare them, bust out your blender, your trusty popsicle mold, and some fresh ingredients, like plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, milk, and fresh fruit. Watson recommends strawberries or bananas. As you blend everything together, use your judgment for proportions. Remember that your mixture should be thin enough to pour.

The next step is simple: Pour equal amounts of liquid into your ice pop molds. Once your pops are frozen, they're ready to be enjoyed or to save in the freezer for later.

Your popsicle's calorie counts will vary based on ingredients, but a pop containing 3 ounces of yogurt, half a large banana, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and a half cup of almond milk has about 130 calories.

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Berry Smoothie Bowls

Social media feeds are often flooded with picturesque bowls of blended fruits and veggies topped with granola, strawberries, and chia seeds. These tasty creations, known as smoothie bowls, will run you about $10 at a typical store. And despite their health halo, they may contain more calories than you realize.

Blending your own bowl saves cash and allows you to control what you're adding. Watson recommends filling your blender with your favorite smoothie ingredients, like Greek yogurt, frozen berries, a handful of spinach, and almond milk or coconut milk. She also suggests adding a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder and mixing until smooth.

Transfer your thick mixture into a bowl and add toppings of your choosing. Half a sliced banana and a tablespoon of unsweetened coconut chips or almond butter are tasty options. The calories in your bowl will vary based on your ingredients, but your average creation should clock in at around 250 to 325 calories. Keep track of what you put in your blender and consider enjoying one of these bowls as a morning or afternoon meal.

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Chocolate and Avocado Mousse

There's almost no dessert more decadent than chocolate mousse, but traditional recipes can have 350 calories or more per cup. The creamy treat is usually packed with unhealthy saturated fat and added sugar, too—but our recipe has a secret nutrition-booster: avocado.

"Mash your avocados with some unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla extract, and whip or blend until smooth," Watson recommends. For best results, she says, chill your mixture in the refrigerator.

Avocado contains healthy fat, but it's also high in calories, so stick to 1/2 cup of the mashed stuff, about half of one ripe fruit. Blend with about 1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond milk, a substitute for dairy milk. The other ingredients are relatively low in calories, so add to your heart's content. The final product will contain roughly 185 calories and about 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats.

For a bit of extra sweetness—without more calories—sprinkle in some stevia, Watson suggests.

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Seasonal Parfait

Fruit and yogurt parfaits are sweet and creamy and can be modified to suit your taste buds.

For starters, grab a 5-ounce serving of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and a cup of sliced seasonal fruit, like strawberries, mangoes, peaches—or a combination of all three. You'll also need 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts like walnuts to add a little crunch.

In a jar or bowl, layer your ingredients. Before you're ready to eat, top your creation with a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. The calorie count may vary depending on your chosen fruit, but expect this snack to ring up right around 220 calories.

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Chocolate-drizzled Fruit Skewers

It's fruit, but better! Pick up a few cups of your favorite berries—strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries—and give them a good wash. After patting them dry, thread your berries onto small wooden skewers and place on a lined baking sheet. Then drizzle with melted dark chocolate.

Be choosy about your chocolate. Dark chocolate contains 170 calories per ounce, as well as some iron (important for nearly every cell in your body). It also boasts manganese, which plays a role in metabolism and bone development. Chocolate also contains flavanols, compounds that may help protect you from heart disease. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate, the stronger the benefits.

These treats will also make your taste buds happy. Per skewer, with a half cup of berries and half an ounce of chocolate, they come in around 115 calories.

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Banana 'pudding'

Traditional banana pudding, adorned with vanilla wafers, is laden with fat, sugar, and about 400 calories per cup-sized serving. But you can still enjoy the sweet and creamy flavor of this dessert while ditching some of the high-calorie ingredients.

For a lighter banana pudding, mash one ripe banana with a 5-ounce container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt until smooth. Then drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of honey. One serving, made with a medium banana, contains about 200 calories. The yogurt also offers 15 grams of protein, while the banana adds good-for-you nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6.

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