There are times when a sweet craving sneaks up on you out of nowhere. We’ve all been there! You try to distract yourself, maybe get a glass of water, read a book, but in the back of your mind that little sweet tooth is nagging. After all, the sweet taste is nourishing for us. As babies, milk is our primary nourishment and therefore sweetness can be associated with comfort and care. On an evolutionary level, a taste of something sweet typically means a quick source of energy, a little boost, so we adapted to love it!
Sometimes denying our sweet cravings can make matters worse because when we do finally allow ourselves a treat, we are so happy to have that rare dessert that we get a little too indulgent… “Seconds, anyone?!” So, here are some ideas for sweet snacks that won’t break your calorie budget (and we’re not talking about a quarter of a donut or a scoop of ice cream, because let’s be real, that’s just way too much of a tease!).
Fresh fruit is kind of a no-brainer here. Fresh fruit is the origin of sweetness, packed with natural sugars and phytonutrients. 1 cup of blueberries keeps you at 100 calories and so does 1 ½ cups of grapes or raspberries, one apple or one pear.
Dried fruits are nature’s candy. When fruit is dried, all of the sweetness concentrates and it’s gloriously sweet! Some super sweet, ultra satisfying, low calorie options are dried dates, apricots and mangos. Although dried fruits are more calorie-dense, five pieces of one of these dried fruits should do the trick and leave you just below the 100 calorie mark. We especially can’t get enough of those dates!
If you get bored with fresh fruit or dried fruit, have no fear. Fruit comes in many forms! A couple other options are fruit leathers and fruit popsicles. If you go for brands without added sugars, you’ll be closer to 20-50 calories per serving!
Have a little extra time on your hands and ready to take fruit to the next level? Try this: first, freeze a ripe banana all day or overnight. Then, pop it in your food processor or blender and blend it until smooth. That banana magically transforms into an ultra creamy frozen dessert (very closely resembling soft serve ice cream!). You can even add in a spoonful of cocoa powder if you want chocolate banana ice cream. Although the addition of cocoa powder will put you a little over 100 calories, it will be worth it, trust us!
Speaking of the marriage between chocolate and fruit, there’s always the classic dessert of strawberries and melted chocolate. Melt ½ oz or 1 tbsp of chocolate, wash and prepare five strawberries, then give them a little dip and let cool! Boom, you’ve got yourself a 100 calorie dessert.
We can’t ever talk enough about chocolate! If you are looking for a chocolate treat that is quick and easy, one cup of hot chocolate made with water will put you at 100 calories and so will a small handful of chocolate chips (the darker, the better, in our opinion).
While these sweets are great go-to snacks that can help you satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthier option, an important question to consider when these cravings come up is whether or not there is a deeper need behind your search for something sweet. Don’t forget to offer yourself sweetness by taking a long bath, sitting with a hot cup of herbal tea, journaling, reading a good novel, petting your animals, engaging in your favorite hobby, or practicing meditation or yoga. Some comforting self-care can be just as sweet and satisfying!
Author: Devon Smolca, MS