Ingredient swaps can make your blueberry cheesecake healthier

Blueberry Cheesecake: Healthy Swaps

By: Caitlin Fontana

We all know and love the classic cheesecake, but sometimes this delicious dessert doesn't fit into our diets. So this season, we're making blueberry cheesecake, and we're making it healthier! It requires no baking and is bursting with blueberry flavor. So get your mixing bowls ready!

Cheesecake purists might look down on adding fruit, but the blueberries in this recipe don't just taste good…they also deliver key antioxidants to support brain functions such as memory, attention, and focus, and they support a healthy mood. They also deliver berry big heart health benefits.

So let's take a dive into this healthy blueberry cheesecake!

What is a blueberry cheesecake?

Cheesecake is a rich dessert usually made with cream and soft cheese. The New York style cheesecake is made specifically with heavy cream, cream cheese and a graham cracker crust. My healthy blueberry swirl cheesecake recipe adds fresh blueberries to that mix—both inside the cheesecake and as a delicious fruity topping.

Why is it called cheesecake?

According to legend, the cheesecake originated in Greece, as patties of cheese with flour and honey (hence the name). Such cheesecakes were fed to the athletes at the Olympic Games. The cheesecake recipe evolved with time, and by the 18th century, the cheesecake was similar to what we all love now. Europeans started removing yeast and adding beaten eggs to the recipe, making cheesecake taste more like the modern dessert. Other ingredients were added as bakers sought to customize the cheesecake, and fruit toppings such as blueberry and strawberry became common.

How does blueberry cheesecake taste?

Blueberries add a light, tart flavor that complements the heavy flavor and texture of rich, creamy cheesecake perfectly.

Is blueberry cheesecake keto?

You can definitely make a keto-friendly blueberry cheesecake. We tried to make this one very close to keto guidelines. To cut back the sugar even more, you could get rid of the graham crackers in the crust and replace the sugars with sugar-free alternatives.

How many calories are in a slice of blueberry cheesecake?

When prepared the conventional way, blueberry cheesecake has around 500 calories a slice. My recipe reduces this grand total to about 350 calories a serving. It's still not a low-calorie food…but, hey, it's cheesecake!

Is blueberry cheesecake healthy? Swaps & tips

The traditional blueberry cheesecake is a high-calorie and high-carb dessert, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make this healthier no-bake recipe and still keep the great taste.

  • Almond flour. This low-carb flour is a great way to make a healthier crust!
  • Graham crackers. We added only a small amount of graham cracker crumbs to mix with the almond flour as a way to sprinkle in that classic crust flavor. But you could eliminate graham crackers altogether.
  • Coconut sugar. This sugar is a healthier option than granulated sugar for some crust sweetness.
  • Powdered sweetener. We used a monkfruit sweetener, which is a 1:1 sugar replacement. If you only have a granulated sweetener, blend it in a food processor until it is powder. You can also use another sugar-free sweetener, such as alluluse or xylitol. You could opt for regular powdered sugar, as well.
  • Melted butter. Butter adds classic taste to the cheesecake crust. But you can swap in coconut oil for a healthier source of fat.
  • Full-fat cream cheese. You might be tempted to choose a low fat or fat-free option, but using full-fat cream cheese is important! The cheesecake won't set otherwise. Keep in mind that limiting overall saturated fat intake is an important part of a balanced diet, so although it is best to use the full-fat version in this recipe, consider using reduced fat dairy in other meals.
  • Heavy whipping cream. Some recipes swap out this ingredient with sour cream or light cream, but heavy cream helps to maintain texture and taste. Just remember to whip this up well before adding.
  • Vanilla extract and salt. These are used in small amounts and are essential for flavor.
  • Blueberries. We used frozen blueberries, but fresh blueberries should also work. If you use fresh berries, reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
  • Xanthum gum. This is important for the blueberry sauce to set! You can use guar gum instead or use twice the amount of ground chia seeds—which are high in antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids—for even more health benefits.

How to make healthy blueberry cheesecake: Step-by-step

Crust:
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup crushed graham crackers
1 tbsp coconut sugar
⅓ cup melted unsalted butter

Filling:
1 ¾ cup full-fat cream cheese (2 sticks)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup powdered low-carb sweetener (⅔ cup if you want it sweeter)

Blueberry Sauce:
3 cups frozen blueberries or fresh berries
1 tsp water
½ tsp xanthum gum
1-2 tbsp powdered low-carb sweetener to taste

Preparation

  1. Place the dry ingredients for the graham cracker crust in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. (A food processor is a great way to quickly make crumbs of your graham crackers.)
  2. Add the melted butter and mix to form a crumble. It may be easier to use your hands for this.
  3. Grease an 8-inch springform pan or non-stick loose bottom baking pan with butter.
  4. Press the mixed graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan and smooth it with the back of a spoon.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the low carb sweetener and vanilla extract at low speed. Don't over whisk; beat just enough to combine.
  6. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a spatula.
  7. In the meantime, make the easy blueberry sauce. Add the frozen berries to your saucepan with powdered sweetener and teaspoon of water. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat until the berries are just soft.
  8. Remove from the heat and drain a few tablespoons of liquid. Sprinkle the xanthum gum over it, stir well and allow it to fully cool to thicken. You can always place the sauce in the fridge to speed things up.
  9. Once the sauce is cooled, put 1 cup of the cheesecake batter in a clean bowl. Stir in about ¼ cup of the blueberry sauce and stir to combine.
  10. Add dollops of vanilla cheesecake filling to the crust in between dollops of blueberry cheesecake filling. Level this off with a spatula to form a smooth top.
  11. Top with the remaining blueberry sauce. Cover with cling wrap and place the cheesecake in the fridge for about 8 hours or refrigerate it overnight.

Nutritional Facts

Servings per cake: 12
Calories: 344
Sodium: 135 mg
Total Fat: 32 g
Potassium: 161 mg
Saturated: 16.5 g
Total Carbs: 21 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Sugars:7.5 g
Polyunsaturated: 2 g
Monounsaturated: 10 g
Trans: 0 g
Protein: 5 g
Cholesterol: 78 mg

Why is my blueberry cheesecake runny?

There are a few reasons why your blueberry cheesecake is runny or not thick enough. The issue could be that the cheesecake was not properly refrigerated before serving. The second reason may be that you used a healthy swap, such as low-fat cream cheese, that did not pan out. If you went with the no-bake cheesecake option and it is a bit runny, adding some gelatin to the cheesecake batter might help to thicken it.

How long does blueberry cheesecake last?

You can store this cheesecake in the fridge for up to three days. It is served best cold rather than room temperature, so you can pop it in the freezer for a half hour before serving it to your guests. This will make it taste its best.

No-bake cheesecakes typically have a shelf-life of 3-5 days in the fridge, while baked cheesecakes can last up to 8 days in the fridge. Note: these guidelines are for cheesecakes that have not been cut into already! If it has been cut into slices, the cheesecake will not last as long.

Do not leave your cheesecake out, even if you prefer to eat it at room temperature. Unlike some other baked goods, cheesecake will spoil quickly if you store it at room temperature, even in a well-sealed container.

Can you freeze blueberry cheesecake?

Yes, you can, but it is important to know that the type of cheese you use can affect the shelf life. If you used full-fat cream cheese, it will freeze much more easily. You can freeze either a whole cheesecake or just a slice of it.

To avoid freezer burn, do not leave the cheesecake in the freezer for more than a month. Freezing for too long can cause cheesecake to lose its moisture.

Can I use blueberry jam for cheesecake?

You can swirl some jam within the cheesecake mixture or simply spread jam on top of the finished cheesecake instead of making a blueberry sauce. Then serve and dig in! Be aware, though, that using a processed jam may add substantially to the sugar content.

Can you use a different fruit?

Yes, you can! Raspberries and blackberries are delicious alternatives to fresh or frozen blueberries and are also antioxidant powerhouses.

Can I add sour cream to the blueberry cheesecake?

Some people do prefer to make their cheesecakes with sour cream, which has a tart taste. You can use sour cream in place of the heavy whipping cream in this recipe.

What is the difference between no-bake and baked cheesecake?

No-bake cheesecakes don't use eggs or egg yolks, while baked ones do. No-bake cheesecakes also don't need a water bath.

Which state is known for cheesecakes?

The most popular state for cheesecakes is New York, which is well-known for serving cheesecake without fruit or any other topping.

Health benefits of blueberries

Blueberries are so much more than a cute little round fruit. Blueberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties. Blueberries also support already-healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels and promote brain health. This is one of the main reasons Life Extension includes it in the comprehensive brain health supplement Cognitex® Elite Pregnenolone.

Whether consumed fresh, frozen, canned, or as an extract, blueberries can also support memory and attention and promote a healthy inflammatory response.

Do you get enough blueberry benefits from a blueberry cheesecake recipe?

Considering the blueberries in this recipe are surrounded with tasty but calorie-laden ingredients, there are healthier ways to enjoy the benefits of these fruits. Fresh blueberries are great all by themselves as a healthy snack, and they can satisfy cravings so you can meet your calorie goals. But fresh blueberries can be expensive when you buy them in stores and hard to find out of season. The cost is due to high rate of spoilage and the price of shipping this fruit.

A more cost-effective and easier way to get the health benefits of blueberries is to take a blueberry extract supplement every day. Daily supplementation can encourage healthy mood and memory, support brain blood circulation, and help inhibit inflammation to promote brain health. Blueberry extract also protects cells from oxidizing free radicals and helps maintain a healthy DNA structure and support already-healthy blood-sugar levels.

Looking for more supplements to support your health and longevity? Life Extension's supplement quiz may help!

Cheesecake: Healthy Swaps For Your Favorite Desert

This video shows other tips and swaps, including a side-by-side of traditional and healthier cheesecake recipes.

About the Author: Caitlin Fontana is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY with a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Marketing. She is a content and social media expert with experience in social media, digital marketing, blogging, content managing & so much more! Her passion for nutrition, cooking, wellness and fitness is what inspired her to start her health & wellness blog, The Clean Eater. https://www.thecleaneater.com

References

Scientifically Reviewed By: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N

By: Caitlin Fontana