10 Healthy Alternatives to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Friends with popsicles

You know you want to take care of your teeth but you just can't help it — you have a sweet tooth! So you're asking, "What should I eat when I crave sweets?" Luckily, there are lots of easy options to choose from. Here are ten healthy (and tasty!) alternatives to sweets:

1) Fruit

Fruit is nature's candy, after all! It's true that fruit has sugar, but it's not the same as the processed, refined sugar you get in most desserts. However, the best choice for your teeth is fruit that's low in acidity: think bananas, strawberries, melons or peaches.

2) Greek Yogurt

Start with plain yogurt (no added flavors or sugars) and then build up from there. You can add fruit, nuts, granola, a little honey, and you've practically made a healthy ice cream sundae.

TIP: Yogurt and other dairy products are great healthy snack options because they often contain little sugar and they have calcium!

3) Peanut Butter and Banana Ice Cream

Speaking of ice cream, you can easily make your own healthy flavor with zero added sugar. Just pop 2 frozen bananas (peeled and halved) and 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (without all the added sugar) into a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. Enjoy!

4) Chia Pudding

Chia pudding is incredibly easy to make and you can customize it in countless ways. First, combine your chia seeds and preferred milk together and let the pudding set for at least a couple hours in the fridge. From there, you can add berries, granola, a touch of honey or maple syrup, coconut, nut butter — whatever sounds good!

FACT: Chia seeds are MEGA beneficial — full of Omega 3's, that is. They're also full of fiber and antioxidants and may help regulate blood sugar, according to Healthline.

5) Low-sugar Popsicles

You can either browse your local story for healthy popsicle options or make your own! When making at home, remember to opt for lower-acidity fruits — watermelon, strawberry and mango are great options — and add yogurt for a creamier texture.

6) Nut Butter

These days, there's no shortage of gourmet nut butters to be found — from honey cinnamon peanut butter to vanilla maple almond butter — that you can eat straight off the spoon or use as a dip for apple slices. A little goes a long way with this protein-packed snack.

7) Baked Pears or Apples

If you have 30 minutes, you can throw together this easy baked dish with just a a couple apples or pears, a little brown sugar or maple syrup and some cinnamon (top with granola and cream for extra oomph!).

8) Chocolate Dipped Banana Bites

It doesn't get easier than this. Dip slices of banana in melted dark chocolate (dark choc. has less sugar), place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and pop the trays in the freezer for at least two hours.

9) DIY Chocolate Truffles

Create decadent truffles using ingredients like dark cocoa, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and even avocado! Get creative — and don't be afraid to get a little messy — and enjoy your very own delectable treats, without all the sugar.

10) Baked Sweet Potatoes

Okay, it's not a dessert or a "treat" but it is a tasty alternative to grabbing a donut! Rich in natural sugars, sweet potatoes are also full of fiber so they help satiate your craving way better than empty, refined sugars. And seriously, add some butter (and salt or cinnamon, whichever way you swing) and you can't go wrong.

No matter which treat you choose to indulge in, it's important to protect your teeth in the best way possible for that specific food. Every time you find yourself craving something sugary, remember how easy it is to satisfy your sweet tooth while still caring for your smile!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tips for a Healthy Diet

  • Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a staple will help protect your teeth.

  • To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.

  • When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit.