If—like me—your sweet-tooth is stronger than your will-power; and giving sugary-sweet snacks up "cold-turkey" is not an option, then you need some sweet alternatives.

I believe that leading a healthy lifestyle should not feel like a chore. Depriving myself completely of the foods that I love will only make me crave them that much more--which will inevitably lead to binges.

How To Avoid The Binge And Satisfy Your Craving

Buying pre-made desserts labeled low-sugar or non-fat is one option. They may hit the spot and take away the craving, but be sure to read the nutrition label to ensure the snack fits in properly with your diet/lifestyle plan.

Often when companies lower the fat in a product, both the sugar and the sodium can rise dramatically. On occasion, it can actually be better to eat a smaller portion of the "normal" food than it is to eat a larger portion of the "diet" version.

Speaking of "diet" desserts and snacks; just because they seem to be lower in fat or claim to be more healthy, doesn't necessarily mean they are free of calories! You must be mindful of portion sizes even if you select these products.

The same goes for fruits. Unfortunately, fruit is often mistaken as a "free food." Although there are many benefits of increasing your intake of fruit (namely: vitamins and fiber), there can be quite a lot of sugar, as well.

Eating too much fruit—just like eating too much of anything—can result in the consumption of excess calories...which leads to either a stall on the scale or an increase on the waist-line.

Instead of snacking on fruit juice, canned fruit or dried fruit, choose either fresh or frozen when possible. Aside from providing you with extra fiber, this will greatly reduce your chances of taking on extra calories from syrups or other flavorings.

You could also choose to make sweet snacks and desserts at home. Although not always possible, this is-- by far--the better option. Because you are preparing the food yourself, you can control what goes into it.

Whichever sweet snack you decide to enjoy, it must taste good to you. If it isn't able to satisfy your craving, you may be tempted to indulge in something else...which results in excess unwanted calories (it really is a vicious circle!!!).

Sweet Alternatives

Below you will find a few recipes and suggestions for some simple sweet snacks.

Strawberries With Citrus "Dip"

(makes 4 servings)

1 (8 oz) container non-fat greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

2 tsp. finely shredded citrus peel (orange, lemon, lime)

citrus juice, to taste (orange, lemon, lime)

2 cups small strawberries

Combine greek yogurt, powdered sugar, citrus peel, and citruis juice in a small bowl. Serve as dipping sauce for strawberries.

Pears With Honey

1 medium pear

1 tbsp. Honey

cinnamon, to taste (optional)

Slice pear. Arrange slices on a plate and drizzle with honey and a pinch of cinnamon (if using). This is delicious at room temperature, but is better (in my opinion) after 30 seconds in the microwave.

Chocolate Cup-cakes

Sometimes nothing else will do... (makes 12 servings)

1 chocolate cake mix (sugar-free—if you prefer)

1 can diet coke (or other carbonated diet beverage)

¾ c. fat free cool whip

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and diet beverage. Stir until everything is mixed well. Pour mixture into 12 (lined) muffin tins.

Bake about 20 minutes-- or until the cake is cooked though. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Frost the cup-cakes with 1 tbsp. fat-free cool whip.

You could add ¼ c. mini chocolate chips to the batter before baking. This will make each cup-cake a little higher in calories...but should really help curb that chocolate craving!

Biscotti (Pre-Packaged)

There are many types of biscotti cookies on the market, and they come in a range of flavors. In my experiences, they are a wonderful snack when I'm craving something sweet. A lot of times they're even dipped in a small amount of chocolate! Each biscotti can range anywhere from 100 calories to 200—so read the label.

Chocolate-Chip "Cookie" Balls

These are a great substitution for chocolate chip cookies!

(1 ball---1/8th recipe---equals approximately 100 calories)

2/3 c. pitted dates

3 tbsp. mini chocolate chips (use sugar-free---or omit, if desired)

¼ c. raw cashew nuts

½ tsp. vanilla extract

salt, to taste

Blend all the ingredients—except for chocolate in a food processor. Continue blending until everything begins to come together and form a "dough" ball.

Add in the chocolate chips and pulse 3 or 4 times---to make sure they get all mixed together. Remove "dough" from food processor and form into 8 balls. Refrigerate...and enjoy!

What Are Your Favorite Go-To Snacks When The Sugar Craving Hits?

About the author: Shari enjoys learning about food, making food, and eating food. She especially has an affinity for unique ingredients and Indian recipes. You can read her blog over at MyFancyPantry.com


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