Even registered dietitians agree that life is too short to live without sweet treats. (Hey, sometimes self-care comes in a box of Girl Scout cookies.) Savoring every bite of dark chocolate, every spoonful of ice cream is pure bliss. But then an hour later, that dreaded sugar crash hits. What cruel, cruel fate. But healthy sweet snacks are easier to come by than you might think.
Satisfy your sweet tooth without getting that crash is as easy as pairing something high in sugar with healthy fats or fiber. “This slows the absorption of sugar, preventing it from spiking blood sugar as much,” says hormone health educator Candace Burch.
“You can satisfy your need for a sweet treat without having to go overboard on the sugars and sweeteners,” says The Lung Health Institute’s registered dietitian Amanda Maucere, RDN. How exactly? Here, Maucere and registered dietitian Carissa Galloway, RDN, both give three snack ideas and all do just the trick:
1. Dark chocolate and almond butter: This is a total upgrade from the peanut butter cups in the vending machine down the hall. “Use dark chocolate—85 percent cocoa or higher—as a spoon to scoop up the almond butter,” says Maucere.
2. Berries with cream: “This one is a quick and easy winner,” says Maucere. “For a real treat, use frozen berries instead and blend with cream in a blender for a quick and easy berry sorbet!”
3. Chia seed pudding: Maucere is a fan because the chia is loaded with fiber, but the pudding is sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. Combine 1 cup unsweetened almond milk with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir in 3 tablespoons of chia seeds and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours to allow the chia seeds to soak up the almond milk and make a pudding. When done, top with a 1/4 cup of blueberries.
4. Popcorn and butterscotch baking chips: Sweet and salty? Galloway has your back with this pick. “Popcorn is a whole grain, in fact one-serving of popcorn can provide 70 percent of the daily needs for whole grains,” she says. “It’s also low on the glycemic index and includes fiber both of which slow the absorption of the sugar in the sweet butterscotch chips into the blood stream. You could also do chocolate chips if that’s more your speed.”
5. Fresh raspberries and whipped cream: Similar to Maucere’s yogurt and berries pick, Galloway likes this combo for a quick snack or dessert, using 2 tablespoons of whipped cream on fresh berries. “Raspberries are a high-fiber fruit with eight grams per cup,” she says. “To boost the protein and slow the sugar rush even more add a quarter cup of plain Greek yogurt. Depending on the brand that would give you about eight grams of protein.”
6. Protein-packed smoothie: “A smoothie could also be a way to combine sweet and protein,” Galloway says. “My favorite mix is chocolate protein powder, a frozen banana, and a little almond milk.” Pretty simple, right? “Making the mix thicker and putting it in a bowl can give you the feeling of a bowl of ice cream with fewer calories, saturated fat and a boost of protein.”
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