If you’re anything like me, by 7 o’clock on a Friday night, you’re searching the pantry for something sweet. Getting ready to watch your favorite show or a movie makes that craving pop-up that only ice cream, chocolate, or a delicious pastry can conquer. But you’re trying to better yourself and make healthy choices. Unfortunately, none of those are on the healthy snack list. Now you have that crucial decision: do you forfeit your healthy goals for the night in acceptance of a delicious treat? What if I told you that there are amazing healthy snacks that can get the job done?
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Cravings for a sweet snack can be curbed without derailing your commitment to healthy eating. I had a hard time believing it myself when I first started trying to eat healthier. Sugar has quite the hold on me; I absolutely love it. The sweeter, the better, is how I viewed my snacks.
Over time, I’ve been able to pull back on the amount of sugar in my treats and now I can curb the cravings with a lot less. But in the beginning, it was really difficult. I would agree with the experts that say sugar is an addiction. I was definitely addicted. And I can get sucked right back into that addiction if I stray into the sweet goodness of pastries too often. Luckily, I’ve found some great sweet treats that have no, or very little, added sugar. These sweets have been my savior on a path to healthier living.
Sweets don’t have to be unhealthy!
I think that there must be something in our brains that tells us if it’s healthy, it can’t possibly be that good. I mean, how often do you hear comments like “Healthy…probably has no flavor” or “There’s no sugar in that? How can you eat that?” I hear things like that all the time. What’s worst, is that I hear them from family and friends. The very people that are supposed to be our support system when we’re trying to better ourselves!
But they’re just like us. They assume if it’s classified as “healthy,” then it must be boring, taste like cardboard, and have a terrible texture. And it can’t POSSIBLY be called a dessert. That’s just…it’s just not possible. This thinking is so wrong! In fact, once you cut out the unhealthy, processed, high sugar sweets for a while, you won’t like them as much when you go back to them. Dairy Queen ice cream cakes were the cake of choice for everyone in my family for years. After Andy and I ate healthier for several months, we had a piece of one for his dad’s birthday. When we left, the first thing we both thought to say is that the cake wasn’t as good as we remembered.
In fact, once you cut out the unhealthy, processed, high sugar sweets for a while, you won’t like them as much when you go back to them. Dairy Queen ice cream cakes were the birthday cake of choice for everyone in my family for years. After Andy and I ate healthier for several months, cutting out all added sugar, we had a piece of one for his dad’s birthday. When we left their house, the first thing we both thought to say is that the cake wasn’t as good as we remembered.
It’s a matter of retraining your brain to recognize real sweet food, not fake sweet food. Once you make that transition, you’ll realize that there are tons of healthy snack options that are very sweet! Lots of them can even be used as a dessert, or turned into something desserty with a little effort!
Healthy sweet snacks can be just as satisfying as unhealthy snacks.
Not only can healthy snacks be sweet, but they can be so satisfying! The trick is that you need to find the right kind of sweet that you’re craving. Not all sweets are the same.
Ever notice that sometimes you crave chocolate, but other sweets don’t sound good? And then other times, ice cream sounds amazing, but a chocolate bar just wouldn’t be the same? It’s because they have different qualities. I’m not a food expert, so I’m not going to pretend to know what those differences are. (I have read that it’s certain vitamins or nutrients we’re actually craving that makes us crave a particular kind of sweet treat but I’ll let you do that research if you’re interested.)
Obviously, if your cravings aren’t equal for all junk food, then you won’t be able to substitute with just any healthy sweet. Some days fruit might do the trick. Other times, you might need something that feels a little more like a dessert. Don’t give up hope if you try to substitute bad sweets with good sweets and miss the mark. It doesn’t mean healthy sweets aren’t as satisfying. You just haven’t found the right healthy equivalent for your specific craving.
The options aren’t as sparse as you think!
The hardest part about adopting new, healthy habits is the retraining of our brains. It can be so difficult to change our way of thinking. When all you think of is junk food when you’re looking for a sweet snack, it’s really easy to think that there aren’t better options. But there are!
There are lots of sweet, healthy snacks if you get creative and really look for them. Just like any new endeavor, it requires us to learn, explore, and think outside the box. Fortunately, there are blogs, books, and magazine articles whose sole purpose is to expand our minds and open us up to unfamiliar foods. Take some time to explore and try new things. You never know what you might find. Here are a few ideas to start with!
Here are a few ideas to start with! In addition to being healthy snacks, most of these are great for people with allergies, food sensitivities, or special diets ( such as vegetarian or vegan).
14 Simple, Sweet & Healthy Snacks
- Homemade dried fruit
- All-natural animal crackers
- Graham crackers with all-natural peanut butter
- Frozen yogurt drops
- Homemade fruit leather
- Chia seed pudding with coconut milk
- Homemade dark chocolate drizzled strawberries
- Homemade frozen yogurt
- Frozen dark chocolate banana bites
- Sweeter fruits, like berries
- A few pieces of 70% or higher Cacao dark chocolate
- Homemade all fruit popsicles
- Banana “ice cream”
- Minimally processed snack bars like That’s It or Larabars
I get it. It can be so difficult to stick to healthy habits when cravings are strong. This is especially true if we’re still in the process of trying to break our unhealthy habits. I’ve been there, I know how tough it can be. Some of the snacks on this list got me through really strong cravings for ice cream, and I felt so good about the choice to have something healthy instead.
Healthy habits are so important to implement and stick to. Having a good plan for when those cravings hit is critical to the success in forming those habits. This list of healthy snacks is one amazing weapon in your arsenal to kick those bad habits once and for all.
What are your go-to healthy snacks when the cravings for sweets hit? Let me know in the comments below!
-To your Better Life-