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healthy sweet snacks for weight loss

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Do you crave sweet foods regularly but are trying to lose weight? Not to worry, I will share some healthy sweet snacks for weight loss that are dietitian-approved and bursting with sweetness.

Eating healthy does not mean giving up desserts. In fact, as a sustainable weight loss dietitian, I advise against this all-or-nothing approach as it’s not realistic long-term.

There are a ton of healthy sweet snacks for weight loss to satisfy your craving without pulling you out of a calorie deficit or leaving you feeling bloated and blah. So, if you’re someone with a sweet tooth looking for healthier options, you’re in the right place.

From homemade easy sweet snacks when you’re in the mood for baking to convenient packed items, we’ve got you covered. This article will share 10 dietitian-approved sweet snack ideas, the science behind sweet cravings, and what to look for in a healthy sweet treat.

Understanding Sweet Cravings

Craving sweets is a natural human desire, deeply rooted in our evolution, and eating them releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine.

Sugar is our main source of fuel

Sugar is our brain and body’s primary energy source, and we’re programmed to seek it out for immediate fuel. This evolutionary desire ensured our survival in the caveman era, as we naturally steered towards higher calorie, higher sugary foods that filled our bellies when food was scarce.

The problem is that centuries later, food scarcity is not a problem everywhere. While it is still a real problem in many geographic locations, many of us have an overabundance of food. This especially true when it comes to food loaded with added sugar, giving us unlimited access to it.

Sugar increases dopamine levels

Eating sweets also triggers dopamine release and a subsequent dopamine high. These are the happy endorphins that are quickly triggered after eating sweets, which can have addictive potential and lead us to keep coming back for more.

So now, this longstanding natural desire has led to a continued, more intense desire that we can fulfill whenever we want. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t take control back over it.

There is good news – we can retrain our taste buds

Like our taste buds and bodies adapted to wanting and craving sugar, they can re-adjust to crave it less. In fact, according to research, our taste buds generate new taste receptors every ten days, which prompts the notion they can adapt to less sugar.

This means it’s possible to find healthier sweet treats that still satisfy your craving but are not quite as sweet. I’ve seen this firsthand in my practice with clients.

In doing this, you are not restricting yourself but are training your taste buds to crave more natural, less processed sources of sweetness. These natural sources are also much less addicting like their processed counterparts are.

Here are 11 ideas to get you started.

11 Healthy Sweet Snacks for Weight Loss

There are so many so-called healthy sweet snacks for weight loss out there, but many are not as healthy as they seem. So, I pulled a few of the top picks I recommend to clients and sourced my dietitian colleagues for their favorite go-tos.

1. Apple peanut butter bagels

These healthy sweet snacks are all the rage on social media for adults and kids alike and are a lower-calorie spin on a donut or bagel craving. Simply chop up apples into circles so they look like thin mini bagels. Spread your favorite nut butter such as almond, peanut, or sunflower, sprinkle a few peanuts or chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey or melted dark chocolate for an easy sweet treat!

2. Siggis Lower Sugar Yogurt

Yogurt is another satisfying and balanced sweet snack idea. Several of my RD friends, including myself, agree this is one of our top choices when craving something sweet, especially at night. This is because it is rich in calcium which is linked to better sleep

But choosing a yogurt low in added sugar is important to reap the benefits.

“One of my favorite sweet packaged snacks is Siggis Lower Sugar Yogurt, which is only 100 calories, 2 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein per serving. Siggis is a great option for those seeking something more filling and satiating alongside the sweet craving. It also contains live active cultures beneficial in gut health,” says Patricia Kolesa MS, RDN of thedietitiandish.com.

This yogurt contains 75% less sugar than Siggis original yogurt, but doesn’t skimp on flavor. I especially love freezing yogurt for a few hours; it’ll taste even creamier like frozen yogurt. But if you don’t get around to this it’s totally okay –  Siggis has a really creamy texture on its own.

Enjoy on its own or with a small handful of berries or chia seeds for some added texture.

3. Cottage Cheese Bark

Cottage cheese is another food claiming a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. It is packed with filling protein and is a versatile additive to everything from smoothies and sauces to healthy desserts.

“Cottage cheese bark is a healthy snack that tastes like dessert! Because it is high in protein and healthy fat it will keep you full AND satisfy your sweet craving!,” says Erica Baty MS RDN of It’s a Flavorful Life. 

Its creamy texture, combined with the natural sweetness of bananas, honey, peanut butter, and chocolate (literally all my favorites) makes it an irresistible healthy sweet snack recipe packed with protein and healthy fats. 

4. Blue Diamond Chocolate Dusted Almonds

These are one of my favorite ​​low carb sweet snacks to keep on hand to satisfy a craving. Lightly dusted with decadent dark chocolate, this snack is perfect to pre-portion at your work desk or when you’re on the go in case a craving hits.

A one-ounce serving contains 160 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 3 grams of filling fiber to keep blood sugar levels steady and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time. What I love about these the most is they’re not super sweet, which can help your taste buds adjust to a lower level of sweetness.

I promise this is possible with practice. Many of my clients with extreme sweet tooths have done this by reducing the sweet intensity of their snacks!

5. Bark Thins Dark Snacking Chocolate

If you are a dark chocolate fanatic, you have to try these bark thins. 

“I’m a fan of Bark Thins Dark Chocolate Clusters Snacking Chocolate. One serving has 150 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 12% DV for iron, 4 grams of saturated fat, and zero sodium. They’re also super tasty!,” says Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, L, Owner of Sound Bites Nutrition

Lisa also adds an important tip: “I recommend sticking with the serving size, as even though it’s nutritious, the calories can still add up fast.”

6. Mini Cheesecake Cups

If you’re in the baking mood, this healthy treat is delicious and only contains 4 ingredients as the base.

“These mini cheesecake cups make for a healthy snack or dessert option with 15 grams of protein and 88 calories in one serving (so you could even eat 2 servings). They’re very customizable with optional toppings like graham cracker crumbs, whipped cream, or chopped nuts, says Alex Evink, MS, RD of Moderately Messy RD

It’s a decadent, protein-packed treat!

7. Dole Dark Chocolate-Covered Banana Slices

If you love bananas and chocolate together, you’ll love these frozen chocolate-covered banana slices. They come in individual packs for added convenience. 

“They are 100 calories per serving and contain 3 grams of fiber. They are a go-to when craving a sweet frozen treat!,” says Amy Beney, MS, RD, CDCES of mynutritioninsights.com. They also only contain 4 grams of added sugar.

These are one of my personal fav’s, especially in the summer. I like to keep them very cold in a cooler and bring them to the beach for a refreshing sweet snack.

8. Chia pudding

Mix 1/4 cup of chia seeds with 1 cup of your preferred milk (I personally like unsweetened vanilla almond milk) and a splash of vanilla extract in a bowl, stirring well. 

Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to thicken into a pudding consistency, then serve with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey for added sweetness.

This sweet treat is boosting with fiber, healthy fat, and protein to fill your belly.

9. Baked Pancake Donut Recipe

If you want something a bit more decadent, these baked pancake donuts are a healthier twist on a traditional donut but are packed with flavor.

“These baked pancake donuts are a fun yet healthy treat (with 5 grams of protein). They can also be easily customized with additional toppings and flavors,” says Elysia Cartlidge, RD, Founder of healthykidsrecipes.com.

They’re also naturally sweetened and made with whole wheat flour for added fiber and nutrition, helping to add to your diet, not take away from it.

10. Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars

If you crave a frozen treat, these Yasso Frozen Yogurt bars are a much healthier alternative that tastes like the real thing.

One bar contains only 100 calories and 5 grams of protein, with no artificial sweeteners. I personally love the pistachio brittle flavor (which is actually only 80 calories) but there are over 10 to choose from, including fudge brownie, cookie dough, and strawberry shortcake.

My clients rave about these bars, and many stash them in their freezer to prepare them when a craving hits. While you’ll still want to stick with just one, they are individually packaged and I promise one will do the trick.

11. Frozen grapes

Frozen grapes are one of my personal favorites when I don’t get enough fruit that day and want a sweet treat. Grapes are a refreshing, naturally sweet treat that can satisfy sugar cravings without the added calories of processed snacks. 

One half-cup of grapes only contains 52 calories and is rich in health-promoting nutrients. These include antioxidants and resveratrol, a beneficial plant compound that can support healthy blood pressure.

Simply wash and freeze a batch of grapes overnight, and enjoy them as a frosty, healthy snack at any time!

What to look for in a healthy sweet treat

When scouring the grocery aisles for a healthy packaged sweet treat, here are a few qualities to look for whenever possible:

  • Less than 200 calories per serving
  • Less than 7 grams of added sugar
  • At least 3 grams of fiber
  • At least 5 grams of protein

Following these guidelines whenever possible will ensure you find a sweet treat that will support you staying in a calorie deficit and contains a balanced nutritional profile to add to your diet, not take away from it. These same qualities apply if you are choosing a homemade sweet treat as well.

Final tips for enjoying sweet treats without guilt

There are plenty of healthy sweet snacks for weight loss to choose from, as you embark on a weight loss journey. In fact, I highly encourage you to seek this enjoyment. My biggest takeaway would be to start with these healthier alternatives and employ these additional strategies:

  • Pre-portion your treats, even with healthier options
  • Pick what you really want sometimes (like real ice cream), then pair it with a healthier option, like a sweet fruit
  • Keep healthier options front and center so the healthy option is the easy option

Doing this will ensure you stay satisfied on a weight loss plan and remain in a calorie deficit at the same time. One of the biggest reasons why many people regain weight back is because their plan was too restrictive and did not allow any room for enjoyment or flexibility. This doesn’t have to happen to you; it’s all about understanding how to build that healthy balance!

Always remember that you can have these treats any time, not only when you’re being “good” or after working out. Changing your mindset around food in this way will work wonders in lessening the intensity of your cravings.

Contact me if you need more support on creating a balanced eating plan and lifestyle to support your health and wellness goals.

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