5 Healthy Alternatives For When You’re Craving Something Sweet

Kate McCarthy
Kate McCarthy is a Boston-based freelance writer. Her current goals are to travel the world and live a life that Oprah would approve of. She is one of few twenty somethings that don't have a bunch of social media pages, so here is her LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kateqmccarthy/


Summer is approaching and for most of us that means one thing — eat as much ice cream as possible. While the hot days of July and August are a perfect time to #treatyoself to soft serve cones, there are plenty of other ways to get a sweet treat that is both satisfying and healthy. The next time you’re at the grocery store, ease up on the frozen indulgences and pack your cart with ingredients to make these five alternatives instead.


Chunky Monkey Oats

Start your day off with a kick by making these simple Chunky Monkey morning oats. The brains behind this delicious dish is Rebecca Dickinson, founder of the health blog She Well. Of all her recipes, she says that this is by far the most popular, having been pinned on Pinterest over forty thousand times. “I wish people knew how good healthy food can taste,” said Dickinson. “People throw vegetables in a bowl and then complain about it tasting bad. It’s all about learning how to prepare the foods to fit your taste.”

Servings: 1


3/4 cup water
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey or other sweetener
2 teaspoons chocolate chips


Place the water, oats, banana, chia seeds and peanut butter in a small pot and bring to a boil. Once the mixture begins to boil, bring to low heat and stir. Add in the teaspoon of sweetener and continue to stir, until the oatmeal has a creamy consistency. Remove the oatmeal from the heat and transfer into a small bowl. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.


Frozen Banana Pops

These frozen banana pops are perfect for any time of day, whether you need a mid-day pick me up or you don’t want to splurge on a post dinner dessert. The best part? If you are in desperate need of sweets and your bananas are already frozen, you can make these in a pinch, taking about 20 minutes for prep and re-freeze time.

(In My Bowl)

Servings: 6


6 straws, cut to desired length
3 ripe bananas, halved crosswise
¼ cup raw cacao powder
¼ cup coconut oil, liquid
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoons almond butter
Suggested toppings: coconut flakes, goji berries, chopped walnuts, sliced almonds


Gently insert straws into bottoms of bananas, being sure press as far in as possible without puncturing the bananas flesh. Lay bananas down on parchment lined plate, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for a minimum of 4 hours-overnight, or until very solid.

In a tall glass whisk together cacao powder, coconut oil, maple syrup, and almond butter. Holding frozen banana by the straw, dunk into cacao mixture until halfway submerged. Quickly sprinkle with desired toppings (chocolate will harden quickly once it touches the frozen banana, so decorate fast!), and then return banana to parchment paper lined plate. Repeat with remaining bananas.

Return plate to freezer and freeze for 15 minutes.


Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

If you’re looking to get that restaurant dessert taste without all those extra restaurant calories, look no further. This chocolate chip cookie skillet satisfies all dessert aficionados but be prepared to devote some time to its creation. Like with most good things in life, preparing this cookie takes time and patience, but be prepared to be wowed upon dining. It’s an added bonus that this is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free, so no matter who shows up to your dinner table, everyone should be able to enjoy this delicacy.

Servings: 2-4


1 egg
3 tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup creamy cashew butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 cup almond flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ chocolate bar 72% cacao or above (or substitute chocolate for berries)
¼ tsp sea salt
8 inch cast iron skillet, baking dish, cake tin or loaf tin


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Whisk egg in large bowl then pour in maple syrup, melted coconut oil, cashew butter, vanilla and almond milk. Whisk again.Stir in almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon and some of the sea salt. Fold in chocolate chunks, leaving several chocolate chunks aside.

Very lightly spray an 8-inch cast iron skillet with coconut oil then pour batter into the base and spread out evenly using a silicone spatula. Place the last several pieces of chocolate over the top, sprinkle sea salt, then place in the oven for 19 minutes on the center rack. Turn the oven on broil and cook 1- 1½ additional minutes **keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly!



Berry Nachos

One of the best parts about summer is markets brimming with fresh fruit. This unique twist on a bar food classic will be sure to impress and satisfy every guest at your next barbecue. Bonus points that this takes maximum ten minutes and will probably be your most liked photo on Instagram all summer.

ok ok i see you berry fruity "nachos"🍉🙌🏻🍓😎i sliced my 10lb watermelon (that i carried a mile home😭) just so i can make this yogurt + berry snack i have been craving🙊almond milk yogurt with @driscollsberry blueberries, blackberries + raspberries👌🏻and right now the driscolls team is hosting a #BerryTogether sweepstakes where you can win a trip to monterey, california AND visit where driscoll's delicious berries are grown AKA basically eat all the berries you wish👏🏻👏🏻all you have to do is post a photo on insta or twitter sharing how you #BerryTogether and #sweepstakes (don't forget the hashtags) for a chance to win (full details here: https://www.driscolls.com/berrytogether/rules) — happy monday friends☺️✌🏻💛💃🏻#partner

A post shared by rachel (@rachlmansfield) on

Servings: depends on size of watermelon


1 large watermelon
1 carton of blueberries
1 carton of strawberries
1 carton of raspberries
1 carton of blackberries
1 tub of yogurt of choice


Take your watermelon and cut it into handheld slices, nacho chip style. Lay slices out on tray, face up. Take your yogurt and put a dollop on each slice. Now, take your berries and sprinkle on top of yogurt. Boom, healthy nachos that your guests won’t be able to get enough of.


7 Layer Bars

These bars are perfect for those who can’t decide if they want something salty or sweet. (Spoiler alert: always choose both) With this decadent combo, they are sure to be gobbled up at all your summer parties or just devoured by your roommates when you leave them on the counter to cool. The best part about this recipe, if you purchase gluten free graham crackers and pretzels, all your non-gluten friends can join in the fun and grab a bar too.

Servings: 12-24


1 package animal crackers (can be regular or gluten free)
1 package pretzels (can be regular or gluten free)
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil. In a food processor, pulse the animal crackers until they are fine crumbs like sand. Add the butter and pulse briefly to combine. Place the pretzels in a bag. Using a rolling pin or heavy spoon crush the pretzels into small chunks. Press the graham cracker mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Layer the other ingredients in this order – pretzels, chocolate chips, and coconut. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top then sprinkle with the pecans. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!



Up to trying one of these recipes? Instagram your healthy treat and tag @hey20something to be reposted!

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