Most diets and balanced approaches to eating allow for at least a little indulgence now and then—so, you know, you don’t suddenly snap one day and polish off an entire pint of ice cream. But what about the keto diet, when the whole point is to eliminate nearly all carbs and sugars so you can enter that fat-burning state known as ketosis?
If you’re not already an adherent of the keto diet, here’s a quick breakdown: The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet. In addition to being quite restrictive, it can also be physically grueling at the start (just ask anyone who has ever endured the so-called keto flu—that initial period of insanely intense cravings, fatigue, and irritability). “The idea behind keto is to keep your fat-accumulating hormone, insulin, low by keeping your blood sugar low,” explains Vincent M. Pedre, M.D. “In doing so, you turn on fat-burning genes while suppressing the abdominal-fat-amassing machinery.”
Because the keto diet is high in good fats—like avocados and coconut oil—and very low in sugar and carbs, it can be particularly tricky to follow for anyone with a sweet tooth. But, believe it or not, there are still ways to enjoy your favorite desserts on special occasions without countering all your progress. It’s all about making strategic ingredient swaps and adding in the appropriate keto-friendly foods. To prove it, we’ve rounded up five of the best keto dessert recipes from top keto bloggers and cookbook authors.
(Just note: many keto dessert recipes contain erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol. While experts like Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, say sugar alcohols can be a decent option if you’re looking for a natural low-cal, low-carb sugar alternative, they’re often not appropriate for people with digestive issues, as they ferment in the large intestine and may cause flare-ups in conditions like IBS and SIBO.)