Healthy sweet snacks Image by: Getty Images
Next time you're craving a muffin, ice cream or chocolate, enjoy one of these healthy snacks instead.Why do sugar cravings seem so strong when we're cutting back calories? Don't deprive yourself. Answer the call with one of these delicious, nutritious options.
For creamy cravings try. . .
Ice cream is the ultimate sweet treat but comes at a steep price for dieters with up to 20 grams of fat in one 114 gram scoop. Instead try Iceland's Skyr (pronounced skeer) low-fat dairy product made with skim milk, says Amanda Li, registered dietitian with Toronto’s Wellness Simplified. "It's high in protein, like greek yogurt, very thick, but not as tart."
Homemade panna cotta
You'll get the creamy richness of ice cream or pudding but with far less fat and sugar if you prepare your own panna cotta. "It's easy to make with gelatin, low-fat milk or milk alternative and maple syrup as a sweetener," says Li. Flavourful toppings include a sprinkle of maple sugar or orange zest. Try this low fat variation: Strawberry Yogurt Panna Cotta.
For crunchy 'n sweet cravings try. . .
Toasted coconut chips
Satisfy your M&M's craving with these flakes of coconut you can eat straight out of the bag (look for Hungry Buddha Coconut Chips or Blue Monkey Coconut Chips). "What I really like is they take a while to eat because you nibble on one flake at time," says Li. "But you're still getting fibre and healthy fat, so you won't feel your sugar spike." Find out how coconut meat is also a handy diet fruit.
Sugary, roasted chickpeas
These unexpectedly delicious and healthy snacks (Maple Frosted Roasted Chickpeas by Three Farmers) have transformed the humble yet hugely nutritious pulse into a guilt-free sweet treat that contains fibre and protein. "When you’re dieting, you never want to let yourself get too hungry. Having a bag of these around is handy," says Li.
For chocolate cravings try. . .
Homemade hot chocolate
Gently warm or steam skim milk or a low-fat milk alternative—almond milk works well here—and stir in a teaspoon of cocoa powder. To sweeten the drink, add stevia or a drizzle of maple syrup. "I like to add freshly ground black pepper to my hot chocolate," says Li, who explains that heat works well with the cocoa flavour. Try this low-fat recipe for Spicy Hot Cocoa.
One of Li's favourite treats is to slice open a plump Medjool date, fill it with a dollop of hazelnut or almond butter, and sprinkle with raw cacao nibs. "Raw cacao nibs are what all chocolate is made from so they're pure and flavourful." Bonus—the date is rich in potassium and fibre. "It's nature's candy," she adds. For a cannoli-like variation, stuff the dates with low-fat ricotta and top with raw cacao nibs.