Dr. Piazza’s 5 Healthy Snacks to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Halloween can be a fun time for costumes and make-up, but most Halloween events also involve sugar-laden treats that are bad for your health.

While occasional sugar splurges are not a problem, when sugary treats are part of your daily diet, they can lead to a host of health problems. Scientific research shows that sugary foods can displace more nutrient-dense foods in your diet while adding empty calories to your daily intake.

What’s more is that foods with added sugars — not the sugar that occurs naturally in foods – can put you at risk for heart disease, elevated “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure, tooth decay and a higher risk for obesity.

The good news is that you can satisfy your favorite trick-or-treater’s sweet tooth with some tasty alternatives. This Halloween is the perfect time to try out a few of my healthy snacks that are sure to satisfy a craving for something sweet. An added bonus is that these nutritional treats are easy to make.

brown rice krispiesimage source: Cannella Vita

Crispy Brown Rice Treats

Here’s  a healthier alternative to the popular Rice Krispies recipe.

Ingredients:

5-6 cups Barbara’s organic brown rice crisp cereal

3 TB organic butter

4 cups non-GMO marshmallows

Directions:

Melt butter in a large pot with marshmallows. Remove from heat. Then add cereal into mixture and stir together well until evenly coated.  Press the mixture evenly into a baking sheet and wait until it cools before serving.

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Protein-Smoothieimage source: Organic Authority

Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. With the consistency of something decadent and calorie-laden, these treats are easy to make.

Here are two of my favorite recipes for the season:

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • 2 dates
  • 2 tablespoons raw organic almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon golden flaxseeds
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • Sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings and/or unsweetened coconut as garnish (if desired)

Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in blender or food processor until smooth. Serve in tall glass. Sprinkle garnishes on top and enjoy.

Easy-Pumpkin-Pie-Smoothie-Recipe-1-e1443705909886 image source: Dishing Delish

Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve in a tall glass and enjoy.

dark chocolateimage source: Health Maven

Dark Chocolate

Did you know you can satisfy your chocolate cravings and feel good about it too? You can if you consume dark chocolate that has a 60 percent cacao content.

Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants that can help regulate levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. Dark chocolate’s flavonoids also can help regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

Keep in mind that dark chocolate is high in calories, so a square or two is all you should consume. Also, here is another tip. Skip the glass of milk as you enjoy your chocolate. Research has shown that milk can prevent the nutrients of the chocolate from being absorbed.

fruit popsimage source: Lovely Pantry

Homemade Fruit Pops

Even though the weather is cooler, we still can get the craving for ice cream. Satisfy your craving with a healthy, delicious frozen treat instead. Homemade fruit popsicles are easy to make and offer nutritional benefits. You can use any fruit you like, but keep in mind that dark fruits like blueberries or cherries contain higher amounts of antioxidants and vitamins.

Here’s one recipe to consider:

  • 2 cups fresh fruit of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender or processor and blend until smooth. Pour into molds and freeze for three or more hours. When ready to eat, run molds under warm water for 30 seconds to loosen the popsicles. Makes 6 treats.

bananaimage source: Kidoing

Banana Boats

Nutrient dense, low in calories and portable. You can’t get much better than banana for a healthy sweet treat, Unless, of course you add some other tasty goodies for fun. Make some of these banana boats for the kids (of all ages) in your household.

Peel the banana and slice it into thirds. Then cut each section in half. Spread a layer of almond or cashew butter on top of each piece. Sprinkle with seeds and enjoy. Add a sprinkling of coconut or a few dark chocolate shavings if desired.

I hope you enjoy these easy and healthy alternatives for sugar-laden candy this Halloween. In addition, since they are guilt-free, you can enjoy them any time of the year.

Also, keep in mind that if store-bought Halloween treats are a rare splurge for your family, you do not need to worry about the ill effects. I do recommend that you look for treats that are GMO free and organic if possible.