July 25, 2024


Health Can Do

Eat the Rainbow Winter Week #10: Delicious Desserts

4 min read
Eat the Rainbow Winter Week #10: Delicious Desserts


Welcome to Week 10 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge!



Hold on a second…I thought this challenge was about fruits and vegetables….

Don’t worry, you’re still in the right place! Fruits and vegetables aren’t just for salads – this week we are going to talk about how you can incorporate fruits and vegetables into delicious desserts

Dessert often gets a bad reputation, and many people make the choice to “cut out” dessert from their diets when eating healthier. I’m here to tell you that you can have a healthy diet and still eat dessert! No foods are inherently “good” or “bad”, so if you want that brownie or cookie, go for it. Check out this post for more information on why eating a variety of foods (and not restricting) is beneficial for your health. 

Use dessert as an opportunity to improve your nutrition and get in some extra vitamins and minerals! Adding fruit or vegetables to your favorite desserts can be a great way to elevate the nutritional content of the foods you already enjoy eating – you can have your cake and eat it too! 

So, how can you add produce to dessert? It’s easier than it may seem. 

First, let’s talk about fruit

Putting some cut-up bananas or berries as a base under your ice cream, cooking fruit in pies and cobblers, and adding fruit to cakes and muffins are all great ways to add a little extra produce into your diet. 

The great thing about fruit is that it’s naturally sweet, so you often don’t need to use as much added sugar in desserts that include fruit. 

Here are some Cancer Dietitian dessert recipes that include fruit:

Maybe a little less intuitive than using fruit, you can also include vegetables in your desserts! 

Adding shredded carrots, zucchini, and beets into cakes and muffins can actually add some extra moisture and make your desserts taste even better. 

Cooking with pumpkin puree is also a great way to add extra vegetables into your day – you can often replace some of the oil/butter in your baked goods with pumpkin puree for a nutritious twist. 

Here are a couple of Cancer Dietitian dessert recipes that include vegetables:

Weekly Challenge:

Make a dessert using a fruit or vegetable! Try out one of the recipes linked above, the pumpkin pie recipe below, or find another recipe that sounds yummy. Take a picture of your creation and post it to our Facebook group!

Produce Highlight of the Week: Pumpkin!

This time of year, pumpkins are everywhere so I want to talk about how and why you should make sure that one of those places is on your plate! Pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotene, which our bodies turn into vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. They also have plenty of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate. All of these work to keep your body and immune system in top shape. 

How to Use

While the pumpkin-spice latte you picked up this morning might be delicious, there probably isn’t a whole lot of actual pumpkin involved. So let’s talk about how to get the real deal into your diet. 

The easiest way to incorporate pumpkin is to use canned. It’s as quick and as simple as opening a can. This is a great option if that’s what works for you! 

Some people prefer to make their own pumpkin puree for recipes because they like the flavor and texture. If you want to go that route, it’s important to know that there are different types of pumpkins. The giant ones you use for carving probably aren’t great for cooking with. Grab a sugar or pie pumpkin- they’re sweeter and much easier to work with because they’re smaller.  Rinse off the pumpkin, cut it in half, and scrape out the seeds (you can save them for roasting later!). Then roast the halved pumpkin in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour or until it’s fork-tender. Scrape out the flesh, mash with a fork, and voila! Fresh pumpkin puree to use in any recipe that calls for canned, including the one below!


Vegan Pumpkin Pie

  • Author: Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
  • One 14.5 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (in a can – can use reduced-fat)
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 6 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. Whisk together ground flaxseed and warm water. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Combine all pie filling ingredients and fill the pie crust.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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