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Four guilt-free desserts for runners

Eat cleanly and enjoy treats as treats

Desserts for runners

Many people are guilty of having a sweet tooth. From chocoholics to pastry fiends, we all have a guilty pleasure. These cravings seem to be accentuated during the peaks of training. The body is battling the daily grind and burning copious amounts of calories. It’s hardly surprising that dreams of treats become more frequent. We attempt to avoid such indulgences while trying to keep the body running like a well-oiled machine. However, sometimes the need for a tasty morsel becomes too much and we’re left debating about what to do.

Understanding that if you’re eating cleanly, and making good everyday food choices, having a treat every once in a while won’t ruin your fitness. Especially if it’s one of the following desserts that have been cleaned up as to not wreck your summer beach bod.


Recipes for Runners
Photo: Kim Doerksen.

3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
(optional: 1 oz. dark chocolate grated or ½ cup finely chopped nuts)
1–2 cups whipping cream
3 cups fruit, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium until soft peaks form.
4. Gradually add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, and beat on high for 7 minutes until stiff peaks form and the sugar isn’t completely dissolved.
5. If making a chocolate or nut pavlova, gently fold in the grated chocolate/ finely chopped nuts.
6. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the mixture onto the baking sheet. Build the sides to be about 4.5 cm high (slightly higher than the centre).
7. Bake the shell for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven. Turn off the oven and leave the shell to dry for 1 hour or overnight.
8. Just before serving, whip the cream on high until stiffened. Spread over the meringue and top with desired fruit.

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

Recipes for Runners
Photo: Kim Doerksen.

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ stick butter (6 tbsp), softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup mini chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a cookie sheet, knocking off any excess flour. Set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until combined, about 30 seconds. Add eggs and beat until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the flour mixture.
4. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.
5. Halve the dough. With floured hands form each half into flattened 30 cm x 6 cm logs, and set them 6 cm apart on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake for 35 minutes, until firm. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
7. Cut the logs into 2 cm slices and place back onto the sheet.
8. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.

No-Bake Cheesecake

Recipes for Runners
Photo: Kim Doerksen.

Graham cracker crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter

8 oz. packages low-fat cream cheese
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt


1. To make the graham cracker crust, stir graham cracker crumbs and oil/ butter together until combined. Add 2 loosely packed tablespoons of crust to the bottom of each jar or serving dish, and use your fingers or a spoon to pack it down firmly.
2. For the cheesecake, add all ingredients to a food processor, and pulse to combine, scraping the edges of the bowl once or twice to be sure that all ingredients are blended.
3. Spoon about 2/3 cup of the mixture into each jar or serving dish on top of the graham cracker crust.
4. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours until set.
5. Serve topped with berries, nuts, other desired toppings or enjoy as is

Classic Banana Split

Recipes for Runners
Photo: Kim Doerksen.

1 banana for each serving, sliced in half lengthwise
vanilla frozen yogurt


Jam, chocolate sauce (see DIY chocolate sauce below for a healthier make-at-home version), chopped nuts, nut butter, coconut or cinnamon


1. Place the sliced banana into a bowl and top with frozen yogurt.
2. Garnish with desired toppings.

Bonus recipe: DIY Chocolate Sauce

Recipes for Runners
Photo: Kim Doerksen.

½ cup + 1 tbsp (135 mL) water
2 tbsp maple syrup, plus more to taste
½ cup + 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp dark chocolate, chopped pinch sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. Add water, maple syrup, cocoa powder, chocolate, and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk to combine.
2. Reduce heat and cook on a rolling simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
4. Taste and adjust flavour as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, saltiness for flavour balance, or cocoa powder for more intense chocolate flavour.

Use immediately as a hot chocolate sauce, or let cool completely and then store in a jar. It will thicken slightly in the refrigerator, which you can thin by adding in 15–45 mL water or dairy-free milk. Store covered in the fridge up to two weeks, sometimes longer.

Perfect for topping ice cream, cake, adding to shakes and DIY almond milk.

Kim Doerksen is a New Balance athlete based in Vancouver. Read her food and nutrition blog for more recipes runningmagazine.ca/blogs/feed-the-run.