We’ve all been there: You had an early morning (or a late night), and you’ve eaten a healthy breakfast, but the 10:00 am slump starts to settle in. You find yourself wanting something with a sugar kick to it, and you begin to prowl the office, or the house looking for a snack that will hit the spot.
I must admit to, on occasion, having been so desperate for that sugar fix that I’ve turned out handbags, backpacks, every cubby hole in the truck and ended up eating a nasty old cheap chocolate Santa or a boiled sweet or dubious provenance.
Of course, that, in turn, can lead to a day of bad eating choices. Sugary or caffeine snacks, or some with a double punch of both. They don’t add anything to your body nutritionally, but at least keep you moving, so you keep at them.
However, you can flip the script on that search for mid-morning sugar and make it something that both sustains you and gives your body what it needs, not what it craves.
You can add protein, for example, with the choice of a nut butter for a treat that’s sweet enough without causing a blood sugar spike. What else do those sweet but not necessarily “less healthy” for you snacks look like? This graphic gives you some ideas.
Many of the sweet items below can be whipped up at home. But if baking isn’t your thing, it’s easy to order online or find a version of these snacks at your favorite local shop or bakery or from your office snack supplier.
Healthy Sweet Snacks
Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn’t have to consist of just refined sugars. Healthy sweet snacks can balance honey, maple syrup, or other natural sweeteners with salty or savory flavors. You can also find more nutrient-dense options, with vitamins, minerals, and other essentials from fruit, fiber, or whole grains, proving that sweet and healthy can indeed co-exist.
Nut butters and something crunchy
Nut butter such as peanut, almond, or hazelnut packs a rich, satisfying texture, along with nutty, salty, and slightly bitter flavors. They also supply your body with protein and monounsaturated fat, which help stabilize your blood sugar—always good for stopping a mid-morning slump in its tracks.
Justin’s snack packs are an easy and portable way to enjoy nut butters. They offer flavored versions with maple syrup, chocolate, or honey. Add some crunch with pretzels or banana chips.
Snack bars, balls, and cookies
Sweet but healthy goodness can come in any shape. Snack bars, balls, and cookies can be high-protein, low-carb, gluten-free, and packed with just about any combination of ingredients you want, from nuts and dried fruit to chocolate chips and flax seeds.
Snack bars such as Quest protein bars and Wella bars come in several flavors including lemon cream pie, rocky road, cranberry crunch, and almond sour cherry. While it’s important to check any bar’s label for its mix of ingredients and nutrition depending on your diet, some good rules of thumb are to look for fruit, nuts, and no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
Ants on a log, adult-style
Ants, ladybugs, gnats—whatever you want to call the bug, you can put it on any kind of log. The kids’ classic includes raisins and peanut butter spread on celery, but the basic formula is simple and versatile. Spread your choice of a log with a sweet or savory spread, and top with dried fruit and something sweet.
Sometimes nutrition is top of mind, even when you’re craving something sweet. In these cases, the sweetness is a nice accent, but not necessarily the main focus of the snack.
Breads, pastries, and other baked goods
Few wholesome treats satisfy like something sweet and fresh from the bakery. When baked with fruit pieces, whole grains, and seeds, baked goods such as breads and pastries won’t just satisfy your hunger, they can add healthy complex carbs and other nutrients to your diet too.
Baked goods can be made with health in mind. And it’s easier than you think to bump up your healthy baking at home. Often healthy baking is just a matter of swapping out or adding in a few simple ingredients. Prefer not to bake? Look for similar treats at neighborhood bakeries in your area.
Yogurt and fruit
Keeping it healthy can also mean keeping it simple. With calcium, protein, minerals, and probiotics, dairy or soy yogurt can make for a nutritious, healthy base. (Not a yogurt fan? Cottage cheese makes a great substitute.) Then add:
- Your choice of fresh or dried fruit: berries, apples, bananas, nuts, and jam
- Optional cereal or granola (Purely Elizabeth granola is a widely available, healthy favorite)
- A little something sweet, such as chocolate chips, chocolate-covered nuts, or Nourish snack bites.
Many brands of yogurt also come in ready-to-eat single-serve portions, or you can make your own yogurt bowl combo with larger yogurt containers such as Chobani Greek yogurt or So Delicious dairy free yogurt.
You can mix and match whatever you want. Finish it off with a sweet note from yogurt-covered raisins, chocolate-covered coffee beans, butterscotch chips, or whatever tickles your sweet tooth. If you don’t want to mix your own, it’s easy to snag pre-packaged mixes online or build and order your own custom mix.
Of course, tons of sugar isn’t the best way to start off every morning. But we’re adults. We work hard. It’s okay to indulge once in a while. And if you’re going to indulge, here’s the way to do it right.
Essentially a cross between a cookie and a cracker, the wafer appeals as a sweet indulgence while keeping portion size in check with its bite-size form. Some wafers come in healthier configurations, such as Fusion Gourmet’s Dolcetto wafer bites, available in packages with as little as 100 calories—and no trans fats or artificial flavors or colors.
If there’s a prize for indulgent wafers, it goes to Daelmans chocolate caramel stroopwafels. Stroopwafels are a sweet sandwich, made of two thin wafer layers with a filling in between. The Daelmans combine crunchy chocolate wafers with a caramel and vanilla syrup.
The cupcake will forever reign as royalty in the sweets department. From childhood parties to adult treats, the cupcake can take on just about any flavor, filling, or topping you can imagine. Feel like sharing? It’s easy to whip up some cupcakes that can impress the calories out of your colleagues. Or bring your new favorite cupcakes one at a time, just for yourself. And yes, you can pack them for commuting-safe transit using cupcake totes for a batch, individual boxes, or even this simple-as-can-be DIY cupcake jar.
Brownies mix and bake quickly, so you can make enough for a work week (and you can even share with your colleagues and family if you’re feeling especially giving). Brownies can be made vegan or gluten-free, with or without nuts or dried fruit, and with your choice of flavors, from chocolate to coffee or caramel.
This no-bake healthy version works in dates and hazelnuts—in fact, all you need is dates, hazelnuts, cacao powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, almond milk, and salt. Keep it classy with Katharine Hepburn’s brownies recipe, or rely on this versatile recipe that’s a perfect combo of fudgy and cakey.
Brownies are also easy to find pretty much anywhere, from your supermarket bakery to the artisan bakers pushing the bounds of brownies. You can also order some online.
Your day can always leave a sweet taste in your mouth
What’s great about these sweet snacks is how easy it is to get what you need—or crave—on any given workday. You can still maintain healthy habits or lose weight (if that’s your goal) by including the occasional sweet snack. Want to be healthy on Monday but indulge on Friday? Need an indulgence on hump day to get you through the rest of the week? You can do that too.
Graphic provided by https://zerocater.com