From chocolate bars to nut butter cups, these healthier treats will satisfy your cravings without derailing your goals.
As a nutritionist, the one question I’m asked often is, “Do you ever splurge?” The answer is most definitely yes! However, I’m pretty picky about my treats; I want them to be delicious and satisfying, but also made with nutrient-rich ingredients and free from artificial additives. I love to make my own desserts and goodies, but I’ve also found a handful of pretty awesome packaged options. Here are five of my favorites, all available on Amazon. Each one gives me my sweet fix, but I feel good about putting them in my body.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.
Alter Eco Deep Dark Sea Salt
I build a bit of dark chocolate into my eating routine nearly every day, and this is my go-to. While this bar is dark, I don’t find it to be bitter. And rather than being waxy, it magically melts on the tongue into rich, creamy chocolate-y goodness. Organic and fair trade, it's made with just cacao beans, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, and fleur de sel. Half the bar (or five squares) provides 230 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 19 grams of carbs (4 as fiber, 12 from sugar), 3 grams of protein, and third of your daily iron target. I enjoy just a few squares, mindfully, as part of a daily “me time” ritual.
Hail Merry Pure Vanilla Merry Bites
I pretty much love everything this brand makes, but their vanilla bites have become a staple, especially when I’m not in a chocolate mood. Soft, moist, and seriously yummy, these vegan, gluten-free macaroons are made from organic shredded coconut, organic maple syrup, almond flour, organic virgin coconut oil, organic Madagascar vanilla, sea salt. A two-bite portion (which is plenty enough to satisfy) provides 130 calories, 10 grams of fat, 9 grams of carb (2 as fiber and 7 as sugar), and a few grams of protein.
Theo Salted Almond Butter Cups
Almond butter and dark chocolate is the combo I crave most when I need a treat. This candy confection perfectly hits the spot, but without any unwanted additives. It’s also vegan, organic, soy free, and all natural. Ingredients include cocoa beans, almond butter, cane sugar, cocoa butter, powdered sugar, almond flour, Mediterranean sea salt, and ground vanilla bean. Both cups clock in at 230 calories, with 17 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs (4 as fiber and 9 as sugar), 4 grams of protein, and a bonus 15% of your daily iron recommendation. They’re so rich, though, that just one typically does the trick.
NOOSH Almond Butter Cupcake Packets
It’s probably obvious that I love almond butter, but Noosh takes it up a notch with its flavors, including birthday cake, available in perfectly portioned, single-squeeze pouches. I find it to be silkier and smoother than many other almond butters, and it manages to taste like frosting with very minimal added sugar (there's just 1 gram of sugar from cane sugar). Noosh also provides healthy fats, including DHA omega-3s. One pouch contains 90 calories, and delivers 3 grams of protein and 25% of your daily vitamin E needs.
Undercover Quinoa Dark Chocolate Sea Salt
These crunchy clusters are made simply and deliciously with dark chocolate from fair trade cacao beans, organic quinoa, and sea salt. They’re perfect for those times when I'm craving something both crunchy and sweet, and I love that they’re also vegan and soy free. Half the bag provides 120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs (2 as fiber and 6 from sugar), 3 grams of protein, and 14% of your daily iron.