Here Are Some Healthy Sweet Snacks For Weight Loss
If a craving for something sweet typically means devouring a candy bar, sleeve-full of cookies, or a tubful of ice cream, “healthy sweet snacks” might sound like an oxymoron. The good news: You can indulge in the sweeter things in life without totally abandoning your healthy-ish lifestyle.
Rather than reaching for highly-processed, sugar-loaded foods every time you crave something sweet, update your snacks arsenal. “A sweet, healthy snack is one with ingredients we can recognize from nature,” says Kristin Koskinen, R.D.N. That means fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, dark chocolate, smoothies, and treats made with whole foods like nuts, seeds, dates, and coconut, she says.
Make this tweak, and you’re not only cutting down on the not-so-healthy stuff (additives, preservatives, and added sugars), but you’re also nourishing your body with vitamins and minerals, filling fiber and protein, and healthy fats, which will help quell hunger pangs until your next meal.
How to choose a healthy sweet snack
Check-in with yourself
Are you actually hungry or just in the mood to visit the office vending machine? “Make your snacks purposeful and don’t graze, as that might turn your healthy snack into a meal,” says Sarah Pflugradt, R.D., author of You Get One Body.
Schedule in sweet snacks
Ideally, snacks bridge the gap between meals, keeping your blood sugar in check and your energy and mood up all day long. If you know there’s going to be over four hours between meals (for most of us, that’s the lunch-to-dinner stretch), plan for a snack to avoid getting hangry or overeating in the evening, suggests Liz Wyosnick, a Seattle-based R.D., and owner of the private practice Equilibriyum.
Remember your macros
“A healthy snack is basically like a miniature meal,” says Beth Auguste, a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian and women’s fitness specialist. That means for every 100 calories, there should be about 3 grams of fat, 8 to 10 grams of protein, and 8 to 10 grams of carbohydrates. Make sure to include some fiber, too (3 to 10 grams) to help slow your digestion and the release of sugar into your bloodstream. With this combination, you’ll have a steady supply of energy as opposed to the sugar spike and crash that comes with sweet snacks.
Consider your calorie count
Depending on your lifestyle and size, a reasonable calorie range for snacks is around 200 to 300 calories. A simple rule of thumb: 100 calories will sustain you for about 1 hour, says Wyosnick.
Tame your sweet tooth
Sugar can be addictive as more sweet-tasting foods might fuel cravings for more, per a recent review in Frontiers and Psychology. In light of this, try to balance your intake of sweet treats with some savory snacks, too, suggests Wyosnick.
Dark chocolate and almonds
If you’re craving chocolate, there’s no need to avoid the candy aisle. Just opt for a bar that’s at least 70 percent dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidant phytonutrients called flavonoids that may help improve your heart health and support weight loss, per a recent article in the Journal of Nutritional Science.
Greek yogurt parfait
For a quick and nutritious treat, you can enjoy just about anywhere, reach for a Mason jar and layer in your favorite granola, Greek yogurt with a swirl of honey, and chunks of kiwi suggest Koskinen.
Fun fact: A single kiwi fruit provides over 100% of your daily value of vitamin C, which helps support a strong immune system.
Peanut butter chocolate chip energy bites
Next time you’re craving chocolate chip cookie dough, reach for the perfect 190-calorie bite of carbs, protein, and healthy fats, suggests Danielle Allen, a Massachusetts-based registered dietitian.
To make a batch of 12 energy bites, mix together ⅔ cup of peanut butter (or your nut butter of choice), ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of old-fashioned oats, ½ cup of ground flax seeds, and 2 tablespoons of honey. Refrigerate them for about 15 to 30 minutes, roll them up, and they’re good for up to a week in the fridge.
Sliced apple with cheese
Sometimes, simple is best. Slice an apple and serve it with your favorite cheese for a satisfyingly sweet and savory bite, which suggests Koskinen. Don’t bother peeling the apple, either—much of its filling fiber is found in the peel.
Figs with goat cheese
Another classic but slightly more luxurious combo: figs with goat cheese. Wash and slice fresh figs, cut them in half, smear them with goat cheese, and drizzle with honey.
Tiny little powerhouses, chia seeds are packed with fiber and provide some protein as well. A favorite for meal preppers, chia pudding makes for a delicious sweet snack.
To make it, whisk together 1 cup of milk (any type!) and a swirl of honey, then mix in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. Let it chill for about 20 minutes or soak overnight, then enjoy. Mix it up with different fruit and nut toppings, like mixed berries and walnuts or apricots and almonds.
Avocado chocolate mousse
Made with heavy cream, whipped cream, and a load of added sugar, traditional chocolate mousse is sure to weigh you down and spike your blood sugar, says Wyosnick.
Your fix: Make avocado chocolate mousse with 1 avocado (which is high in fiber and heart-healthy fats), ¼ cup of honey, ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Top it off with fresh berries and a sprinkle of nuts.