Your Guide to Healthy Snacks for Sweet Tooth Cravings
Category: Healthy Living
Posted on May 30, 2021
Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.
Do you have a sweet tooth?
We all love a great sugary snack every now and again, but if you eat sweets in excess, you might end up with some poor health consequences (such as weight gain and cavities). Everything is good in moderation, but don't overdo it.
But what if you can't resist the call of sugar? Are there really healthy snacks for sweet tooth cravings that hit the spot?
While nothing will ever replace a chocolate bar or a piece of sugary cake, there are a few alternatives that you can use to fill the sugary void. Solve some of your sweet tooth problems and satisfy your sweet tooth by trying some of these healthier alternatives today.
Why Avoid Sugary Snacks?
As we mentioned, there's nothing wrong with sugar in moderation. Sugar in excess is bad for your overall health. Too much sugar can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease.
Sugar can cause excess weight gain, especially for people who don't get the recommended amount of exercise. It can cause tooth decay and gum disease and it's addictive.
Exchanging some of your favorite sugary treats for alternatives, even if they also have a small amount of sugar, is better for your overall health. Most sugary snacks don't have much (if any) nutritional value. Swapping them for healthy sweet substitutes will add nutrition to your diet while still satisfying your sweet tooth.
Sugar Substitutes: Good or Bad?
So what about sugar substitutes? Artificial sweeteners are available in most grocery stores baking aisles. Many people are using them for their coffee, some of their baking, and more.
But are these substitutes good for you?
Stevia is a plant-based substitute. It's artificial in that it's not "real" sugar, but it's not made of artificial ingredients. It's not as sweet as some other sugar substitutes, but it's the best overall choice for lower-calorie sweets.
Chemical sweeteners aren't bad per se, but they may cause your body to hold onto fat and they might cause you to crave real sugar.
Alternatives to refined sugar also include things like honey, maple syrup, and agave. These alternatives often have some nutritional value, but they're still loaded with sugar and calories, so use them in moderation.
Healthy Snacks That Hit the Spot
Now that the basics are out of the way, let's talk about a few specific foods that can give you your sugar fix without overdoing it. Remember, even with healthier alternatives, you should be careful that you eat in moderation. These are great alternatives, but too much of a good thing is bad for you.
When in doubt, fresh fruit is a great choice for a midday snack that won't wreck your diet.
There are plenty of health benefits to eating fruits. Fresh fruit contains fiber, vitamins, and a small amount of protein. Fruit is usually rich in vitamin C which is crucial for your immunity.
You have endless fruits to choose from, so try to find seasonal fruits. When you buy a fruit that's in season, it's going to be bigger, juicier, and sweeter than other fruits.
Sliced apples are perfect for a sweet snack, as are a handful of blueberries or some strawberries dusted with (a small amount of) sugar. You can slice some watermelon for a super sweet summer treat or get pineapple chunks to add to your salads.
Fruit still has sugar, so don't eat too much of it. It's still a much better alternative!
Speaking of fruit, do you love smoothies?
Many people think that smoothies are just healthy and bland foods, but that isn't true. While they are healthy, they can also be delicious if you make them right.
Smoothies can include fruits and vegetables of all kinds. They're great for hiding leafy greens if you know that you (or a child in your household) don't eat enough of them.
For a successful smoothie, we have some tips.
First, freeze most (if not all) of your fruit. This makes your smoothie cold and thick without having to add ice cubes (which can be hard to blend in standard blenders. They also water your drink down!).
Next, choose your base carefully. We love using frozen bananas as a creamy smoothie base (more on that later), but you can also use yogurt. Greek yogurt is best due to its high protein content.
Next, you need liquid. For more tropical smoothies, orange juice makes a great addition. You can use apple juice for a sweet kick, or a milk of your choice (vanilla almond milk is perfect) to make it more of a milkshake.
Try different fruit and liquid combinations and consider adding in extra healthy boosts like greens powders, protein, and soaked oats. Our favorite? Strawberry-banana smoothies with almond milk and vanilla protein powder.
Eating ice cream every day isn't sustainable for the average person. If you don't maintain an otherwise pristine diet and/or work out every day, it will start to catch up with you.
But what are ice cream lovers supposed to do?
It's not a perfect solution, but try out a "nice" cream for a cold treat that won't have all of the fat and calories of the original.
Nice cream is easy to make and even easier to modify. It's almost like a smoothie but with a more dessert-oriented style.
You're going to need several frozen bananas. The exact number depends on how much nice cream you want to make and how thick you want it to be.
For super thick nice cream, put your frozen bananas in a blender and blend until smooth. If you want a thinner dessert, add in splashes of your chosen milk until you get the right texture.
You can add fruit to your nice cream as if it were a smoothie, or even other things like vanilla, cocoa powder, or peanut butter.
Use all of your favorite ice cream toppings (in moderation) to make a healthier version of an ice cream sundae.
Do you miss warm sweets? Banana pancakes might be the answer.
These pancakes couldn't be easier. All you need are bananas, eggs, oats, vanilla, and any add-ins. This recipe uses cinnamon, but you could also add cocoa powder or nutmeg.
Do you love chocolate chip pancakes? What about funfetti pancakes with sprinkles?
While these things aren't healthy per se, adding them to your healthier pancakes is far better than adding them to your normal pancakes. Top your pancakes with peanut butter or homemade fruit syrup.
Bonus treat: fruit syrup is easy as pie. In a small saucepan, put frozen fruit, a splash of water, and a sprinkle of sweetener. You could use real sugar here, but honey, agave, and sugar substitutes all work well.
Cook it down until your fruit resembles pie filling and add more water if it begins to dry out. You should have a sweet fruit syrup that's perfect for pancakes.
Do you have chocolate cravings? We've been there. Instead of reaching for the milk chocolate bars in the grocery store check-out lanes, grab dark chocolate instead.
Is dark chocolate good for you? Well, kind of. It's rich in antioxidants and research suggests that it may help prevent heart disease and improve brain function.
With that in mind, it's not healthy per se. It's still calorie-dense and it contains fat and sugar (even though there's less of it).
Dark chocolate is still better for you than standard milk chocolate, so when you're craving cocoa, grab a square of dark chocolate instead.
Do you miss apple pie? What about a warm winter snack?
Baked apples are the perfect substitute for apple pie. You get all of the sweetness of apples without sugary syrups or buttery pie crusts.
There are several ways to make baked apples.
You can leave them whole after removing the core. Stuff the apples with nuts or a bit of peanut butter and coat them with cinnamon and a pinch of sweetener. Place them in a baking dish with a small amount of water in the bottom and put them in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes.
You can also bake sliced apples.
Mix together sliced or chopped apples with cinnamon and a pinch of sugar. Put this mixture into small ramekins and place them in that same 375-degree oven. Check them in a half-hour.
You want the apples to be soft enough to eat with a fork, like pie filling. Depending on the size of your ramekin you may need to leave it for longer. Check every five minutes after that first half-hour.
Bonus: Baked apples make a perfect addition to nice cream.
Need a quick pick-me-up? A spoonful of peanut butter is often enough to give you a sweet treat in just a few moments.
Peanut butter isn't healthy per se. Most store-bought peanut butter is full of added sweeteners and peanut butter, by default, is loaded with fat.
With that in mind, the fat in peanut butter is a healthy fat. Peanut butter also has a ton of protein that helps boost its nutritional value.
It's best to buy unsweetened peanut butter when you can. Pair that peanut butter with your pancakes, smoothies, or fresh fruit to give yourself a sweet and nutritious snack.
Yogurt is a great alternative to sweet puddings. Frozen yogurt is another awesome replacement for ice cream.
You can load yogurt up with fruits and granola to make it into a parfait. If you use greek yogurt, you get all of the probiotic benefits that can help you maintain good gut health.
You can even turn yogurt into a sweet treat that tastes (almost) like frosting. Mix your plain or vanilla Greek yogurt with a spoon of protein powder and one to two spoons of peanut butter powder. Add sweetener if necessary.
If it's too thick, add a bit of milk until it's the perfect texture for you. Mixing with a fork will help you incorporate all of the ingredients.
Mix in a swirl of creamy peanut butter and you'll have a peanut butter frosting alternative without all of the sugar and calories. It's so healthy that you can eat it with a spoon.
Replacing crunchy sweet treats isn't easy. Cookies are a thing of the past when you're trying to cut down on unhealthy foods, but what can you do instead?
Granola is a great alternative. Depending on the ingredients in your specific granola, it can contain protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber. It's a great addition to yogurt parfaits, nice cream bowls, and oatmeal.
It's the perfect crunchy snack, even when you're on the go.
Craving something sweet and chewy?
Dried fruits aren't as healthy as fresh fruit. They often have more sugar and because they're not as filling, each serving will have more calories.
That said, they're far better than other chewy snacks. Throw a handful of dried fruit pieces into your granola and bring a tasty snack with you to work or school.
We Love These Healthy Snacks for Sweet Tooth Cravings
Anyone with a sweet tooth knows that you can't ignore those late-night sugar cravings forever. Eventually, they turn into a full-on binge session.
Instead of depriving yourself, try these healthy snacks for sweet tooth cravings. You can't fool yourself into thinking that frozen bananas are ice cream sundaes or milkshakes, but you can train your body to enjoy treats that aren't quite as sweet as their sugar-loaded counterparts.
Give your body the nutrition that it needs while also fulfilling your cravings.
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