Picture of 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!


19 Quick & Healthy Sweet Snacks for a Sweet Tooth

Article Overview

healthy sweet snacks chocolate chip protein cookies

Keep reading for some great ideas to atisfy your sweet tooth with these healthy sweet snacks.

There’s a happy medium between eating a sweet treat that actually sounds good, tastes good, AND won’t leaving you feeling sluggish afterwards.  Keep reading for some easy healthy sweet snacks!

Healthy snacks for a sweet tooth

Many people think that it’s somehow wrong to gave a sweet tooth or that it should be ignored. But, that’s actually not the case. As we’ll discuss below, it’s pretty normal to have a desire for something sweet.

And, there’s lots of delicious ways to truly satisfy a sweet tooth with some quick sweet snacks.

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. 

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. And, a high sugar intake can be related to a lighter and less rejuvenating sleep. 

Stress and cravings

Stress influences our food choices and eating behaviors. Cortisol (a hormone) gets released during times of stress, and is associated with hunger, cravings, and overeating. 

The appetite stimulating hormone called ghrelin also gets 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 may make you feel out of control around food. 

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. 

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

Sweet snacks that are good for you

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

As a dietitian living with diabetes myself, I feel the impact of this more than the average person, but you get the idea.

In a real life “I want to eat something sweet” type of scenario, you likely 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.

What are healthy sweet snacks?

Healthy sweet snacks should satisfy your sweet tooth without an energy crash.

Ideally we want our snacks to provide a decent amount of protein, fiber, or both. My recommendation is that a snack provide one or more of the following:

  • 5g or more fiber
  • 5g or more protein
  • <10g added sugar

The snacks below are delicious and simple.

Healthy sweet treat ideas

Below are some healthy sweet tooth craving options. Remember to think outside the box some. There’s so many different ways to truly satisfy a sweet tooth and nourish your body at the same time.

  1. Chocolate covered strawberries
  2. Trail mix
  3. Handful of blueberries
  4. Grapes with dark chocolate
  5. Popcorn with flavorings
  6. Dark chocolate squares
  7. Chocolate covered frozen banana
  8. Smoothie
  9. Homemade PB&J Uncrustable
  10. PB&J Power Bites
  11. Cereal and milk
  12. Yogurt and granola 
  13. Hot chocolate
  14. Cinnamon toast
  15. Apple nachos
  16. Low sugar nutrition bar
  17. Fresh fruit with dip
  18. High protein cookies
  19. No-bake treats

1. 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!

2. Trail mix

Grab whatever nuts or dried fruit you have in the pantry and make a quick trail mix. You can even make some extra to have on hand for snacks the rest of the week. 

homemade trail mix blueberries walnuts popcorn pumpkin seeds

Homemade Popcorn Trail Mix with Blueberries, Walnuts, Seeds & Chocolate

Homemade trail mix is such a quick and easy snack option and this combination of blueberries, walnuts, and popcorn is so tasty!
View Recipe

 3. A handful of blueberries

Blueberries are one of my favorite fresh fruits to eat. They’re super convenient and taste amazing.

 19 quick and easy ways to satisfy a sweet tooth

4. Grapes with dark chocolate

Grapes are a delciiously sweet fruit option and paired with dark chocolate (like the recipe) below provide a snack with no added sugar and some fiber.

dark chocolate covered grapes with nuts on skewers

Dark Chocolate covered Grapes with Nuts

This may be one of the simplest nutritious recipes I’ve ever done. With only 3 ingredients and no cooking required, chocolate covered grapes will be your new go-to favorite!
View Recipe

5. Popcorn with flavorings

You can make it from scratch on the stove or just use your favorite microwave popcorn. Adding some additional protein and fiber sources to your popcorn will satisfy your sweet tooth! 

Nutty Cherry and Bacon Popcorn

Nutty Cherry and Bacon Popcorn

View Recipe

6. Dark chocolate squares

If you’re looking to reap the benefits of consuming dark chocolate. that we often hear about, make sure to pick one with 70% cocoa or higher.

chocolate for diabetes square graphic

7. Chocolate covered frozen banana

If you’re 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 add some nut butter.

8. Smoothie

Smoothies are a great healthy sweet snack, and your options are endless! Use what is already in your fridge and get creative.

13 smoothies for diabetes

9. Homemade PB&J Uncrustable

There’s something so nostalgic and satisfying about a classic PB&J sandwich. Have a little fun and try making your own no sugar added uncrustable at home!

california grapes and peanut butter with homemade uncrustables

Homemade PB&J Uncrustables with 1-Ingredient Grape Jam

If you’re looking for a more nutrient-dense homemade uncrustables option, you have to try this recipe!
View Recipe

10. PB&J power bites

If you don’t feel like making a sandwich, try these no added sugar energy bites. They’re simple to make and will keep in your refrigerator (in q sealed container) for a couple weeks.

PB&J bites with no added sugar

PB&J Power Bites (No Added Sugar)

I’ve got you covered with the perfect back to school snack with these no added sugar PB&J Bites.
View Recipe

11. Small bowl of breakfast cereal with milk

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

best cereal for diabetes options

12. 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. Look for yogurts with higher amounts of protein and lower amounts of added sugar.

best yogurt for diabetes

13. Hot chocolate

Especially if it’s cold outside, you really can’t beat a warm mug of hot chocolate. Add some pumpkin in for added fiber too!

hot chocolate with chipped cream and cinnamon sticks

Low Sugar Crock-Pot Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

This recipe for pumpkin spice hot chocolate is the perfect warm fall to winter beverage without a ton of sugar!
View Recipe

14. Quick and easy cinnamon toast

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!  So good!

15. Apple nachos

This one is especially fun to do with the kids. Let them drizzle and drop their apple nacho 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

16. Low sugar nutrition bar

Nutrition bars, energy bars, and protein bars can all be an easy on-the-go sweet treat! Look for bars that have at least 5g fiber or 5g protein or both.

best protein bars for diabetes

17. Fresh fruit with dip

Grab some of your favorite fresh fruits, like blueberries and grapes that we discussed above, and pair them with a protein-rich fruit dip!

fruit tray with fruit dip

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

This low sugar peanut butter fruit dip is perfect for after school snacks, and a great way to get more fruit into snack time!
View Recipe

18. High protein cookies

Whether you’re making them at home or buying them at the store, choose cookies that have some extra protein and less added sugar. They’ll still be deliciously sweet, but also more satisfying.

cookies for diabetes diabetic cookies healthy sweet snacks

19. No-bake healthy sweet snacks

No-bake healthy sweet snacks are easy to whip up and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for extended periods of time for easy desserts and snacks.

healthy no bake desserts with lemon cheesecake bites healthy sweet snacks

More healthy sweet snacks

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

the easy diabetes dessert cookbook vertical image healthy sweet snacks

This post has been updated since it’s original publication date in February 2019.

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