Snack Strategies

Sometimes you just need a treat that’s sweet. Here’s the scoop on how to indulge – wisely.

If you sometimes allow your sweet tooth to get the best of you, consider this: Our bodies are wired to reach for sweets. Newborn babies first taste natural sugar in breast milk or formula. Then, during childhood, treats are used to celebrate birthdays and reward good behavior. Here are a few other reasons why you gravitate to candy and ice cream – along with our suggestions to snacks that are so yummy, you won’t miss the extra sugar.

Beware the “Sugar High”

When you’re tired or tense, you often turn to sweets for the rush they provide. Case in point: A 2006 study from Montclair State University in New Jersey found that stressed-out men and women are five times more M&M’s than their calmer counterparts. But the answer isn’t to ignore your sweet tooth altogether. Depriving yourself will only pave the way for overeating. Instead, buy fun-size packs of candy and eat just one. Store the rest on a high shelf rather than in a bowl on your desk.

AMP Up the Protein

Are you eating enough fruit? Research suggests that the sugars in fruit may offset a desire for candy. Try pairing a fruit with some protein to help keep you satisfied longer. For instance, eat a pear with a slice of low-fat cheddar.

Spice It Up, Sweeten It Up

When you don’t fully appreciate what you’re eating, you’re more likely to be left wanting more. Adding a savory seasoning to fruit transforms your snack into a truly memorable dessert. For instance, chili powder sprinkled on mango with a squeeze of fresh lime juice brings out the natural sugars. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom also boost fruit’s flavor.

Snacks that Satisfy

Crunchy Banana Pops
Cut 1 banana in half and insert popsicle sticks into wider ends. Roll banana in ½ cup crushed honey-nut cereal.

Chocolate-cherry Cooler
Blend 1 cup almond milk, 10 frozen pitted cherries (1/2 cup), and 1 packet fat-free cocoa until smooth, 1 minute.

Raspberry-Ricotta Parfait
Top ½ cup raspberries with ¼ cup part-skim ricotta. Drizzle with 1 tsp honey.

Quick-Baked Apple
Fill a cored small apple with 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp raisins, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Microwave on High 3-4 minutes.

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