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Ways to keep your sweet treats healthy

Hot Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Pieces

A little bit of sugar in your diet is fine. But it’s hard to feel and look your best if your diet contains a lot of processed sweets. That’s because candy and sugary baked goods pack plenty of calories, but not much in the way of good nutrition. What’s more, these foods digest quickly – causing a spike and drop in blood sugar that can leave you feeling tried, cranky, and craving another sugar fix.  

Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives that can satisfy your desire for something sweet without heaping on calories or setting you up for your next sugar fix.

Grab some fruit

Fresh fruit is a great snack choice because it’s sweet and full of belly-filling fiber.  Dried fruit can be a nutritious and satisfying alternative to candy – just stick to a sensible portion (a single serving is about one handful).

Tanya’s tip: Dried fruit can have four times the sugar and calories per ounce as whole fruit, so if you like dried fruits go with varieties that are 100 percent natural with no added sugar.  For example, dried apples, figs, raisins, apricots, and prunes often contain no added sugar, whereas dried cranberries, dried pineapple, and banana chips are often processed with sugar or fruit juice. Check the label and ingredient list and you’ll know for sure what you are getting.  

All-fruit jam

High fiber, whole-grain crackers with low fat cream cheese and a tablespoon of all-fruit jam

Seasoned popcorn  

Single serving microwaveable popcorn with a sprinkle of Kernel Seasonings in a sweet flavor like kettle corn or milk chocolate caramel

Frozen grapes

Linger over these icy sweets … you get 17 grapes in a serving!

Fro-yogurt with crunch

½ cup nonfat frozen yogurt topped with your favorite whole grain cereal

Sweet on a stick

Sweet, creamy and cool all at once:  sugar-free Tofutti bar or Fudgsicle

Sweet and steamy

Sugar-free hot cocoa or nonfat cappuccino sweetened with a non-nutritive sweetener

For more tips, delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes, and proven ways to lose weight and look great, check out my latest book The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in private practice in New York City and the author of two bestselling books:  The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber (Hyperion), and The F-Factor Diet (Putnam). Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.