Sugar cravings are inevitable. Instead of reaching for a pint of ice cream or thick slice of chocolate cake, why not try a healthier alternative to decrease your chances for consuming too many calories and even enjoy some additional health benefits along the way. Here are five suggestions for sweet snacks you can try the next time you feel a sweet tooth coming on.
Looking for the healthiest sweet snack around? Why not just grab a piece of fruit? Fruit is not only sweet, but it contains healthier simple sugars than the refined, complex sugars you find in most processed sweet snacks. Plus, you get all the added health benefits of the fruits themselves, which can include everything from antioxidants, such as flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and other micro-nutrients. Mangos, dates, persimmons and grapes are some of the sweetest fruits in the world.
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Fruits
Chocolate isn’t all bad; it even has its own healthy properties! Did you known the purer and darker the chocolate, the better? For example, dark chocolate has been proven to cut risk for heart failure and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. It can help prevent diabetes, as flavonoids in dark chocolate increase nitrous oxide production that helps control insulin sensitivity—and these are just a few of dark chocolate’s many health benefits.
Chocolate-dipped fruits combine the sweetness of dark chocolate with the sweetness of the fruit itself—all the while offering the combined health benefits of both elements. Try strawberries, cherries and bananas, though all types of fruits can be used depending on your tastes and preferences.
What’s healthier than a smoothie? Smoothies aren’t just for breakfast and workouts—with the right types of fruit, you can sweeten them up to where they make a great dessert or sweet snack for any time of the day. Use milk and yogurt to thicken it up if that’s how you like your smoothie. Just resist the urge to add sugar, which many smoothie shops do, and make a homemade smoothie with just fruits to provide all of the sweetness.
It may not be Ben & Jerry’s, but a good sorbet can have just the same satisfaction as a cold, sweet bowl of ice cream. All of the sweetness comes from fruits and you don’t need any extra white sugar to sweeten them up. If you do want to, though, try adding some honey rather than traditional sugar.
Yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt, has a wide range of health benefits on its own, but mix in some fruit and you’ve got a potently healthy and sweet combination. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are common, but you can mix in just about any fruits you like. In addition, nuts, such as sliced almonds and granola are also great additions to mix in, as they have health benefits of their own. Plus, they add texture and a little satisfying crunch to your tasty treat.
Remember, just like any other dessert or sweet snack, it’s important to maintain a healthy portion size. Even healthy sugars should not be overdone. The next time you feel a sugar craving coming on, give one of these tantalizing treats a try and you may never turn to processed sugars again.