Trying to lose weight while dealing with a sweet tooth can make things incredibly challenging. If you feel like your cravings for sugary confections are infringing on your progress, you’re not alone. We spoke with Laura Burak MS, RD, founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of “Slim Down with Smoothies,” who shares with us some healthy dessert swaps for weight loss when you’re craving a treat but don’t want to get off track.
According to Burak, “This craving for a daily sugar fix is the most reported struggle among my clients. But you can (and should) include dessert as part of a healthy weight loss journey if you want to create a sustainable way of life. However, swapping in more nutritious, naturally lower-calorie options can still satisfy that dessert craving while also moving you in the right direction.”
Indulging in something sweet every day isn’t something you should deprive yourself of, so long as you opt for something that works well with your healthy eating plan. “Instead of thinking of these options as a dessert or treat, any of them can simply be a snack that satisfies your sweet tooth and provides nutrition and satisfaction between meals. Most of these options contain protein so they can be considered just another healthy snack choice,” Burak explains.
Keep reading to learn all about Burak’s top-recommended healthy dessert swaps for weight loss. And next up, don’t miss 12 Foods Everyone Over 50 Should Eat for Serious Weight Loss.
Swap out ice cream for coconut yogurt with fruits and nuts.
When the ice cream craving hits, we have a healthy alternative that’s still tasty and gets the job done. Burak recommends ditching your go-to tub of ice cream for coconut or plain yogurt topped off with nuts and fruit. This sweet, filling treat is surprisingly nutritious! Or, grab a Greek yogurt dessert bar, “because they’re portion controlled and do the trick.”
If you’re into fruity ice creams and sherberts, another option is preparing a healthy homemade “Dole Whip.” Simply blend up some frozen bananas with your go-to milk for a treat that has zero added sugar.
Swap out traditional cake or cupcakes for an almond flour mug cake.
Fancy cakes and cupcakes are always fun to prepare and even more fun to eat. But when making smarter choices to support your weight loss efforts, it’s time to ditch the red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for a dessert that’s much healthier. Burak recommends putting together a mug cake with almond flour and additional more nutritious ingredients. This way, you can still have your cake and eat it, too, in a single-serve cup!
Swap out gummy candies and taffy for dates with crunchy peanut butter.
If you’re all about enjoying gummy candies and salt water taffy, Burak has a delicious alternative you’ll likely be obsessed with. Grab some dates, and smear or stuff them with crunchy peanut butter. “The chewy and crunchy sweet combo is so filling and yummy,” she says.
According to Medical News Today, Medjool dates are chock-full of antioxidants and fiber, making them a very healthy choice to enjoy for dessert or snack. Fiber promotes satiety, which in turn can help with your weight loss efforts.
Swap out classic waffles with syrup for whole-grain waffles with peanut butter and jelly.
Instead of ordering or making classic waffles and slathering them in butter and maple syrup, consider toasting a frozen whole-grain waffle and spreading jelly and peanut butter on the top. Add some berries of your choice to complete this tasty treat. Who said you can’t enjoy a little breakfast action for dessert?
Swap out milk chocolate for dark chocolate.
When you need just a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth, head for a dark chocolate bar! “This is so cliché coming from a dietitian, but we really do love dark chocolate as a healthy treat, so if you tend to reach for milk chocolate, try choosing a brand with at least 70% cocoa for less added sugar and a hit of antioxidants. Have a little piece after your meal or pair it with nuts for a snack,” Burak says.
Swap out a milkshake for a smoothie.
Last but not least, ditch the milkshake and blend up a yummy smoothie instead! Add some fruits, greens, and a vanilla or chocolate protein powder, blend, and enjoy! “[Preparing a smoothie is] a healthier option that makes you feel energized instead of sleepy after you drink it,” Burak says.