Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetes dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) renowned for combining her knowledge of diabetes and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles!

15 quick healthy snacks to satisfy a sweet tooth

popcorn pecans chocolate chips trail mix in white bowl bedtime snacks for diabetes

Fight off your sugar cravings with these healthy snacks for a sweet tooth and learn why cravings are happening!

There’s a happy medium between eating a sweet treat that actually sounds good, tastes good, AND won’t leaving you feeling sluggish and blah afterwards.  Keep reading to find out exactly why you crave sugar and some healthy snacks for a sweet tooth made in under 10 minutes!

Healthy snacks for a sweet tooth

  1. Chocolate covered strawberries
  2. Trail mix
  3. Handful of blueberries
  4. Homemade chocolate bark
  5. Popcorn with drizzled peanut butter and cocoa powder
  6. Dark chocolate squares
  7. Chocolate covered frozen banana
  8. Smoothie
  9. Grilled PB & J
  10. Cereal and milk
  11. Chocolate milk
  12. Yogurt and granola 
  13. Hot chocolate
  14. Cinnamon toast
  15. Apple nachos

Why do I crave sugar?

There are numerous reasons why we crave sugar. Consuming sugar over time turns into a learned behavior. When you eat sugar, dopamine, the hormone associated with your brain’s reward system is released. More dopamine is released every time you eat sugar and sweets, hence, the more you crave and need it! 

Why do I crave sweets?

Sleep deprivation and stress are major reasons why individuals crave sweets. Your body goes into survival mode. Unconsciously, your brain craves a sweet treat to try and fight off stress and lack of sleep with a quick burst of energy and happiness. 

Lack of sleep and cravings

There is a direct relationship between quality of sleep, duration, and diet. Sleep deprivation causes hunger hormones (called ghrelin and leptin) to become out of balance, leading to an increased desire for foods high in fat and sugar. 

 It is scientifically proven when someone is sleep deprived, they’re likely to crave quick sources of energy such as sweet, salty, and starchy foods because your body is subconsciously trying to make up for a lack of energy. A high sugar intake is related to a lighter and less rejuvenating sleep. 

Stress and cravings

Stress influences the food choices and eating behaviors. Cortisol is a stress hormone. It is released during times of stress, and is associated with hunger, cravings, and overeating. 

The appetite stimulating hormone called ghrelin is released during stressful situations as your body is attempting to relieve stress by eating. Leptin, the hormone responsible for satiety (that feeling of fullness), decreases during times of stress. Both appetite hormones are responsible for strong cravings that make you feel out of control around food. 

Stress can also have an impact on blood sugar levels. 

Sweet addiction

Sugar is considered to have a high addictive potential. There are certain addictive agents in foods that produce similar effects to the brain compared to substance abuse. 

As previously mentioned, stress and lack of sleep both have a strong effect on the brain. They can cause people to over- consume sugar, leading to more sugar cravings, and ultimately releasing less dopamine over time. This can lead to overeating sweets because your brain and body are chasing the initial dopamine high.

How to stop sugar cravings

But, craving sugar is normal. It is perfectly okay to enjoy sweets occasionally. As previously mentioned, sleep deprivation and stress can lead to sugar cravings. 

Besides eating one of my healthy snacks for a sweet tooth, try taking a short walk or a power nap next time a sugar craving hits. 

What should you eat when you crave sugar?

When you have a sweet tooth, eat something sweet. BUT, it doesn’t have to be a big piece of cake, a cookie as big as your face, a double ice cream sundae, etc.

As someone with diabetes, I feel the impact of this more than the average person, but you get the idea.

So, anyways, I’m thinking of a real life “I want to eat something sweet” type of scenario. You just want something quick and easy that will bring a smile to your face. There’s many ways to do this that taste amazing, AND don’t involve diet products or convincing yourself that ignoring it will make it go away… o, and that you can have ready in under 10 minutes… because while a fresh baked cookie sounds nice, sometimes this mama just isn’t up for that 🙂 

What is a sweet but healthy snack?

A sweet but healthy snack should satisfy your sweet tooth without an energy crash! My healthy snacks for a sweet tooth are delicious and simple.

What low calorie snacks satisfy a sweet tooth?

  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Trail mix
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Homemade chocolate bark
  • Popcorn with drizzled peanut butter and cocoa powder
  • Dark chocolate squares
  • Chocolate covered frozen banana
  • Smoothie
  • Grilled PB & J
  • Cereal and milk
  • Chocolate milk
  • Yogurt and granola 
  • Hot chocolate
  • Cinnamon toast
  • Apple nachos

Baked goods stashed in your freezer Make a quick batch of chocolate covered strawberries

All you need is a few beautiful berries, or any other fruit you may like, and some chocolate chips. Melt the chocolate chips in your microwave and dip away!

Grab whatever nuts or dried fruit you have in the pantry and make a quick trail mix

 My favorite combination Is walnuts, pistachios, raisins, and chocolate chips! You can even make some extra to have on hand for snacks the rest of the week. 

 A handful of blueberries

Blueberries are hands down my favorite fresh fruit to eat. They’re super convenient and taste amazing 

 19 quick and easy ways to satisfy a sweet tooth

 Pop some popcorn and drizzle some peanut butter and cocoa powder on top

Trust me, you’ll thank me on this one. You can make it from scratch on the stove or just use your favorite microwave popcorn. The peanut butter and chocolate drizzle will surely satisfy your sweet tooth! 

Dark chocolate squares

Enough said :-). But keep in mind if you’re wanting the “healthy” dark chocolate (the kind that’s been studied in research articles and proven to have health benefits) you’ll want to pick one with 70% cocoa or higher.

 19 quick and easy ways to satisfy a sweet tooth

Chocolate covered frozen banana

If you are like me, you have a random assortment of frozen banana pieces your kids didn’t finish in your freezer. Take one out and dip it in chocolate or smother it with nut butter.

 Make a smoothie

Pick a fruit and a liquid and blend, and you’re done. Options are endless here! Use what is already in your fridge! 

 19 quick and easy ways to satisfy a sweet tooth

A classic grilled PB&J

Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve grilled your PB&J. Make a PB & J, place on a skillet over medium heat, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side!

A small bowl of breakfast cereal with milk

Isn’t breakfast cereal at night one of the most comforting foods ever? Here is how I pick breakfast cereal for my house. I typically look for breakfast cereals that have more than 5 g of protein and fiber and less than 10 g of sugar. 

Drink some chocolate milk

My children would have no problem with this one 🙂 I look for options with a low amount of added sugar to prevent blood sugar spikes and energy crashes!

Yogurt and granola

If you like a good texture variety in your evening snacks (or whenever), yogurt and granola is a great way to get your taste buds singing. Top with some fruit if you’re feeling extra!

Hot chocolate

Especially if it’s cold outside, you really can’t beat a warm mug of hot chocolate. 

Quick and easy cinnamon toast

This used to be one of my favorite late-night snacks to make when I was up nursing both of my girls. Grab 2 slices of whole grain bread, avocado oil spray, ½ tsp of cinnamon and coconut sugar. Toast your bread and spray with avocado oil. Next, sprinkle cinnamon and coconut sugar over both pieces of toast. Voila! 

Apple nachos

This one is especially fun to do with the kids. Let them drizzle and drop their toppings and enjoy a fun sweet snack. 

Slice apples horizontally to produce “chips” for your nachos. Top with a drizzle of your favorite nut butter, cacao nibs, or even your favorite granola!

 19 quick and easy ways to satisfy a sweet tooth

Baked goods you’ve stashed in your freezer

Obviously, this one takes some planning ahead, but next time you’re baking anything, store a few extras in the freezer once they’re done or just make a double batch to have on hand for later.

More healthy sweet snacks

Low Sugar Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Protein Balls 

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Fruit Dip 

Festive Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips 

Blueberry Superfood Smoothie 

More healthy snacks for a sweet tooth

Want more ideas for a healthy snack for a sweet tooth? Make sure to check out my diabetes cookbook: The Easy Diabetes Cookbook!

how to order the easy diabetes cookbook

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