The best better-for-you treats on menus right now

This article is part of our Nutrition + Dining series. Here we explore holistic health topics and share favorite dishes from aligned restaurants.

(PSA: you may not want to read this while hungry!)

Better-for-you treats that are all-the-more sweet

Scouting the best healthy desserts on menus right now with Valentine’s Day fast approaching could be fraught with FOMO and frustration.

After all, we had many options, limited time, and high standards*:

  • More natural/unrefined sugars and flours.
  • Organic and/or locally-sourced ingredients.
  • Looking across a variety of potential dietary restrictions.
  • Must-be delicious!

But we’re always up for a good challenge! 

We’re pretty pleased with the results and breadth of offerings. Without further ado, enjoy these samples of ‘healthier’ treats and the passionate artisans who make them.


*Of course, we avoid high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils – that’s so 2001…

Linzer cookies & Sweet potato brownies (Sweet Love: Berkeley, CA)

healthy vegan gluten-free linzer cookie Berkeley, CA
healthy vegan gluten-free brownies delicious in Berkeley, CA

100%: Vegan / Gluten-free / Refined-sugar-free

Auset Selassie started Sweet Love after being underwhelmed by the high-sugar and low-taste of most Vegan/gluten-free treats. After cooking in Michelin-starred kitchens, private homes, and wellness retreats, she’s bringing it all together for Berkeley with delightful, healthful treats.

Auset prefers coconut sugar and maple syrup which yield richer flavor with more healthful properties. Almond and oat flour are her go-to combo for the perfect texture, not too dry or gummy. For those avoiding nuts, a few selections are made with coconut flour. Ingredients are as few and simple as possible.

Sweet Love is currently popping-up at The Hidden Cafe in Berkeley, with many treats on offer. 

Banana Cacao & Key Lime Pies (Ya Ye Organics: Denver, CO)

delicious organic vegan gluten-free chocolate pie in Denver / Boulder, CO

100%: Organic / Vegan / Gluten-free / Refined-sugar-free

Ya Ye puts the ‘clean’ in healthy, clean eating with enthusiasm. Their raw pies offer a veritable slice of heaven, flavored by pure whole ingredients.

The banana cacao cream pie includes banana, cashew, coconut milk, cacao, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil. The key lime includes avocado, cashews, coconut oil, maple syrup, filtered water, fresh lime juice, lime zest, vanilla extract, pink himalayan salt. Both crusts are made with cashews, dates, coconut, and pink himalayan salt. 

They also have hemp seed cacao cookie dough that may never see the inside of an oven, lest you eat it first!

Local delivery around Denver / Boulder area. Shipping is available further beyond. 

Pain au Chocolat (Proof Bakery: Mesa, AZ)

Local / Organic / Artisan 

We couldn’t leave out a gluten-friendly option!

Proof makes naturally-leavened sourdough croissants using freshly-milled local (AZ) heritage whole grains. The dough is long-fermented and carefully folded to produce just the right amount of layers and texture. 

The chocolate is from specialty bean-to-bar producer, DNA Chocolate, a local Arizona business sourcing organic cacao direct from farmers in Central America. 

It’s a deliciously indulgent treat supporting a more virtuous cycle. 

Chocolate chip cookie (Honey Hi: Los Angeles, CA)

Organic / Local / Gluten-free

Featuring California local fair-trade TCHO chocolate, grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, coconut sugar, and cassava flour. 

We love Honey Hi’s dedication to thoughtful sourcing and preparation. 

Walnut butter & Pistachio butter cookies (Nuttin'butter Cookies: Berkeley + Bay Area, CA)

Vegan gluten-free healthy sugar walnut butter cookies in Berkeley

Vegan / Gluten-free / Refined-sugar-free / Organic

Whitney Singletary’s line of alternative cookies from her cottage operation feature organic nut butters plus select simple ingredients to bring a savory, delicious cookie. 

Her preferred sugars are monk fruit and coconut sugar. We’re partial to the Walnut butter cookie, which uses pure dark maple syrup for a hint of rich sweetness alongside omega-3 rich organic walnut butter and walnuts.  

Pickup and delivery available in the Berkeley area, and she will ship beyond (the cookies travel well). 

Want more like this?

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