It's packed with vitamins and minerals that help your body function. Look for whatever's in season, be it pears, watermelon, or cherries. The fruit will taste better and have more nutrients because it hasn't been processed or preserved. If you can't get fresh fruit, frozen is OK, too.
A half-ounce square of 86% dark chocolate contains only two grams of sugar. But don't worry — the taste is rich and intense enough to satisfy your craving. Dark chocolate is also loaded with plant chemicals called flavanols that may help protect your heart. Not a fan? Try letting a piece melt slowly in your mouth instead of chewing it. You may find you like the taste better.
Natural compounds in apples can help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. For something different, make your own crispy apple chips. Core and thinly slice an apple. Spread on a lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkle with apple pie spice, and bake for 1 hour at 225 degrees. Flip and bake one hour more or until the apples feel dry. Put them on a cooling rack right away.
Craving more than just an apple? Slice one in half, spread a tablespoon of nut butter on top, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Not only is cinnamon packed with antioxidants, but it can add extra sweetness to food without added sugar.
It makes a great snack anytime of day. Eat it with low-fat dairy milk or unsweetened plant-based milk. Just make sure to choose one that's 100% whole grain with no more than 6 grams of sugar per serving. You'll still get plenty of sweetness, along with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Some flavored yogurts contain more added sugar than the amount you should eat in one day. A better option: Stir cinnamon into ¾ cup of plain low-fat Greek yogurt. You'll get calcium for bone health and protein to help you feel fuller longer. And you'll get probiotics -- that's bacteria that's good for your gut health.
Most fruit smoothies are loaded with sugar and sodium. Blend your own at home instead and make fruit the focus. Mix a ½ cup of skim milk or unsweetened plant-based milk, 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit, and 6 ounces of non-fat plain Greek yogurt in a blender for at least 30 seconds.
They've got plenty of natural sugar. That's why they're often used as a sweetener in recipes. But these sticky, and chewy caramel-like dried fruits are also packed with fiber, vitamin B6, and minerals like potassium and manganese. If you have diabetes, be careful of how many you eat. 1 date = 1 carb choice.
For an ice cream sundae-like snack, peel and slice a banana lengthwise. Top with a scoop of your favorite low-fat frozen yogurt and unsalted nuts. You'll satisfy your sweet tooth while getting protein, probiotics, and calcium. You'll also get potassium and unsaturated fatty acids that are good for your heart.
Need a sweet snack to tide you over between meals? Try oatmeal. Pre-flavored packets can be high in sugar, so it's best to make your own. Prepare 1 serving of quick-cooking oats using skim or plant-based milk. Then add 1 tablespoon maple syrup, a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and ¼ cup of dried fruit.
On hot days when a popsicle would hit the spot, try snacking on frozen seedless grapes instead. Spending time in your freezer will make them even sweeter. Simply wash and dry a few bunches, then put onto a rimmed baking sheet. Put in your freezer for 1-2 hours, or until they have an icy crunch.
Next time you crave a salty-sweet combo, mix a few dark chocolate chips into a spoonful of nut butter. Drop the mixture onto a piece of wax paper or foil, cover, and place in the freezer. After a few hours, you'll have a low-sugar, high-protein treat that ticks all the boxes of a peanut butter cup.
This naturally sweet veggie is packed with vitamins A, B6, and C, along with plant chemicals that help protect your health. Bake or microwave a sweet potato and top with fat-free vanilla yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup. Or make sweet potato chips: Thinly slice a potato and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until crisp, then sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
It may sound weird, but frozen sweet peas could be the lightly sweet, cold, and crunchy snack you've been searching for. One half-cup serving has 4 grams of protein and is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. And because peas are high in fiber, you'll feel full after snacking on them.
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- Harvard Health Publishing: “The Sweet Danger of Sugar.”
- USDA MyPlate: “Fruits.”
- Cleveland Clinic: “4 Late-night Snacks That Are Actually Good for You,” “Kick Your Sugar Addiction with These 5 Snacks,” “Is Yogurt Good For You?”
- Eatright.org: “Vegetarian Nutrition: Beat the Heat with a Frozen Fruit Treat.”
- New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services: “How Much Sugar Do You Eat? You May Be Surprised.”
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: “Healthy School Snacks.”
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Dark Chocolate,” “Oats,” “Apples,” “Bananas,” “Sweet Potatoes.”
- Consumer Reports: “4 Tips for Making Healthy Smoothies.”
- Eatright.org: “25 Healthy Snacks for Kids, ”Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens.”
- American Diabetes Association: “25 Simple Snack Ideas.”
- Today’s Dietitian: “Adding Spice for a Healthier Life— Evidence shows antioxidant-rich herbs and spices may cut chronic disease risk,” “Sweet potatoes: A nutritious powerhouse with a rich history.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health.”
- Chicago Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: “Frozen Yogurt Day.”
- Medical West Hospital: “Seasonal Fruits and Veggies.”
- American Cancer Society: “Snacks and Dashboard Dining.”
- Food & Nutrition: “The Health Benefits of Dates.”
- Missouri Department of Health and Human Services: “Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes.”