By Ashley Henshaw

With Halloween and Thanksgiving parties during the fall, it's no wonder why so many people tend to pack on extra calories towards the end of the year. Here is a list of delectable fall desserts for you and your family to indulge on this season without busting any diet plans.

1. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Naturally, one of the favorite flavors of fall has to be pumpkin. This fresh and subtly sweet vegetable actually makes some delicious desserts, and in this recipe the deep, rich flavors of the dark chocolate are the perfect complement. Use dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa for a healthier choice. Note that this recipe also uses fat-free milk and a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour to include healthier ingredients in this dessert.


1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
¾ cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoons of baking soda
½ teaspoons of salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
15-ounce canned pumpkin
½ cup of canola oil
¼ cup of fat-free milk
½ cup of walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup of miniature dark chocolate pieces
2 tablespoons of miniature semisweet chocolate pieces (for topping)
2 teaspoons of powdered sugar
Non-stick cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coat a 15x10-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir the flours, sugar, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine the eggs, pumpkin, milk and canola oil in a medium bowl. Beat lightly.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the large bowl and stir in the chocolate pieces.
Spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate pieces on top.
Bake for 25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
Cool on a wire track. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and cut into bars.

2. Apple Crisp

This favorite fall dessert is comprised mostly of a super-healthy, fiber-packed fruit: the apple. The other ingredients in this recipe, besides a little sugar and butter, are quite healthy as well, making this one of the best choices for a seasonal treat. Add a little fat-free yogurt on the side if you want something cool to go with this warm and cozy dessert.


3 large green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
½ cup of unsweetened apple cider
½ cup of firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup of whole-wheat flour
½ cup of rolled oats
2 tablespoons of butter


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the sliced apples in an 8x8-inch baking dish and drizzle the lemon juice on top of them.
Place 2 tablespoon of the apple cider aside. Pour the rest over the apples.
Stir the flour, brown sugar and oats together.
Cut the butter into small pieces and mix them in with the oat mixture.
Sprinkle the oats and butter mixture over the apples. Drizzle the remaining apple cider on top.
Bake for 35 minutes. Allow the dessert to cool for a few minutes before serving.

3. Mini Pumpkin Pies

Portion control is always helpful in making your desserts healthy. When you add to that a delicious fall veggie like pumpkins, you have a winning healthy fall dessert. Add a dollop of fat-free cool whip if you like a little topping on your pie.


12 9x13-inch sheets of phyllo dough
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon of cloves
¼ teaspoon of ginger
¾ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
12-ounce can of fat-free, condensed milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 egg whites
Pinch salt
Cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray each sheet of phyllo with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with brown sugar. Once the sheets are completed, stack them into groups of 4, giving you 3 stacks total.
Cut each stack into 12 rectangles using 4 columns and 3 rows. Press each rectangle into a muffin pan cup, filling 3 12-cup muffin pans total.
Mix the pumpkin and spices in a medium bowl. Lightly beat in the salt, milk, eggs and egg whites.
Add one tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture into each of the muffin pan cups.
Bake for 12-14 minutes.

4. Caramel Popcorn

This is an easy treat to warm you up by the fire on a cool fall evening. The caramel is sticky sweet but not overwhelming. Meanwhile, the popcorn gives you a great dose of antioxidants, whole grains and fiber. Pop your kernels on the stove or in an air popper for a healthier result since microwave popcorn typically comes with extra salt or butter added in.


¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup low-fat margarine
1 ½ teaspoon. vanilla
¼ teaspoon. salt
12 cups of popped popcorn


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a Dutch oven or sauce pain to heat the sugars, margarine and salt. Stir over medium heat.
When the mixture begins to boil and the sugar is dissolved, stir in the vanilla.
Place the popcorn in a large bowl. Pour the mixture in and stir until the popcorn is coated.
Spread the coated popcorn out in a large, shallow roasting pan.Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once. Allow the popcorn to cool for several minutes on a large piece of foil before eating.


She Knows


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