If you’re a sucker for sweets, you may wonder if you’ll still be able to enjoy sweet snacks on a weight-loss plan.
As a fitness and weight loss expert, I say go for it.
Sweets can be part of a healthy diet and weight loss plan if they’re incorporated strategically – meaning, if they’re made with the right ingredients and enjoyed in the right portions. And really, keeping some beloved sweets in the line-up just makes good sense. Since losing weight and keeping it off is a life-long journey, sticking to the same old boring foods (and depriving yourself of foods you enjoy) can be one of the biggest saboteurs to your plan.
I’m a fan of sweet treats myself, so I have a few personal favorites to share. And, my advice – make your own to ensure they’re powered to help you lose weight and not adulterated with fructose or high fructose corn syrup.
- Dark chocolate popcorn. For the chocoholics out there, you’ll love this sweet and salty treat. This is a great way to munch on volume without adding excess amount of calories. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, which have the potential to help decrease body fat. Make your own by drizzling (not coating) melted dark chocolate over air-popped (or stove-popped) popcorn and sprinkling with a dash of sea salt. Moderation is key here – don’t go crazy with the chocolate, and limit your portion to just a cup.
- Protein donut holes. These won’t disappoint you, and they’re a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. These are lower in calories than traditional carb-filled donuts, and because they are high in protein, they’ll help set your body up to burn more calories. Make your own, and be creative. Use almond butter or coconut oil, chocolate chip or oatmeal. These good fats can help keep you full and reduce the tendency to eat mindlessly. My go-to recipe is here.
- An apple a day? Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying – or better yet, add a little honey. Honey acts as an appetite suppressant. Fruits that have a low glycemic index help weight loss by reducing the need for insulin, the hormone that blocks fat burning; AND fruits and veggies are high in fiber, which can keep you full.
- Lemon popsicles Use honey as a sweetener and lemon juice. The acidity helps digestion and lower the glycemic index of other foods you eat, helping you lose weight. There’s an easy recipe here.
- Banana chocolate oatmeal “cookies.” This healthy, whole grain sweet treat targets weight loss with its ingredients, and they’re easy to make. Using cinnamon as a sweetener will boost your weight loss efforts and target belly fat in particular. You can find lots of recipes online, like this one.
- High-protein, low-calorie, low-carb Greek yogurt. Yogurt is a great snack for weight loss because it’s high in protein. It also reduces inflammation in the gut and keeps gut bacteria balanced – key steps for losing weight and keeping it off. Beware not to dress this healthy snack with too many sweets though. I recommend adding some banana or a few dried cranberries or sweetness. They contain iodine, which helps keeps your thyroid healthy. A healthy thyroid is one of the most important gatekeepers to losing weight and keeping it off.
Remember – when it comes to weight loss, the key to lasting success is adopting an eating plan you can stick with. If you love sweets, these easy snacks might provide just the satisfaction you need to help you stay on track.