10 Guilt-Free Treats for the Holidays (Or Any Time of Year)

Article By: Maria Tucker, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES

Maria Tucker is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 20 years of experience assisting patients with diabetes, obesity, and nutrition-related conditions. Maria is also the Founder of MyBiyaya.com, a site dedicated to healthy recipes and kitchen shortcuts.

“Should you be eating that?” How many times have you heard a loved one or friend ask you that question? It seems like friends and family assume that when you’ve had bariatric surgery (or you’re trying to lose weight), you cannot indulge in sweet treats anymore. You can be judged and accused of “cheating on your diet.” That might've been true years ago when there weren't many food options... Now, sweet treats and desserts can be a healthy part of your meal pattern as long as you keep in mind when, how often, and how much to indulge.

Here are some healthy sweet treats you can find at grocery stores or online to enjoy with pleasure, not guilt.

1) Cookies and bars:

  • Lara Bar Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars – one bar has 110 calories, 6 grams total fat, 11 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar, and 3 grams protein.
  • Enjoy Life Soft-Baked Gingerbread Spice Cookies – these cookies are gluten-free and only contain 60 calories per cookie. They're low fat with 2 grams total fat, 10.5 grams carbs, 6 grams total sugar, and 0.5 grams protein.
  • ChipMonk Keto Cookie Bites – these cute cookie balls are gluten-free and naturally sweetened with allulose and monk fruit extract. Each cookie bite has 80 calories, 7 grams fat, 8 grams carbs, < 1 gram sugar, 1 gram fiber, and 3 grams protein.
  • Maxine’s Heavenly Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – each cookie has 80 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 14 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber, 5 grams sugar, and 1 gram protein.

2) Cakes:

  • ProtiDiet Chocolate Fudge Cake – this indulgent cake has 130 calories, 3 grams fat, 11 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, and 15 grams protein.
  • Smartcake – these individual serving size cakes only have 38 calories per serving are low fat with 2.5 grams per serving. Each contains 9 grams carbs, 5 grams fiber, 0 sugar, and 15 grams protein.
  • WonderSlim Protein Cake – this is a microwave cake mix that quickly turns into a luscious dessert! It contains 130 calories, 5 grams fat, 9 grams carb, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, and 12 grams protein.

3) Frozen treats:

  • Skinny Cow Skinny Mini Viva Vanilla Snackers Ice Cream Sandwich or Not Fudging Around Chocolate Fudge Mini Cone – at only 100 calories, this frozen treat is a low fat indulgent dessert. It has 1.5 grams fat, 18 grams carb, 8 grams total sugar, 6 grams added sugar, and 3 grams protein.
  • Halo Top Light Ice Cream Pops – these delicious ice cream bars contain 80-100 calories, 2-3 grams fat, and 1.5-2 grams saturated fat. Though it has 20 grams carbs, it has 5 grams fiber, <10 grams of total sugar, and 5-6 grams added sugar. It is naturally sweetened with erythritol, stevia, and sugar. It also has 5-6 grams protein per pop. They come in 6 different yummy flavors.
  • Enlightened Light Ice Cream Bars – these low fat and low sugar bars are a delight to eat! They contain 80-120 calories, 3-5 grams fat, <20 grams carbs, up to 5 grams fiber, 3-6 grams total sugar, and 1-3 grams added sugar. It has 5-8 grams protein per serving as well.

4) Before you do a dessert run at your favorite grocery store, here are some tips to keep in mind when opting to indulge in sweet treats:

1) Go for treats that have 5 grams or less of fat, 10 grams or less of total sugar, 5 grams or less of added sugar, and as a bonus, have 3-5 grams fiber and 3-5 grams protein as well.

2) Choose light ice cream bars or mini versions of the sweet treat, such as mini ice cream sandwiches or cones to cut down on calories.

3) Limit your sweet treats to one serving and EAT IT SLOWLY! Be mindful – look at the sweet treat, imagine yourself eating it, smell it, take small bites, and enjoy every single bite.

4) Create a “Treat Day” once per month, when you can indulge in a serving of your favorite sweet treat. Include your indulgent treat in your meal plan for that day. Don’t be afraid to enjoy it. It’s not the once per month small serving of your sweet treat that will push you off the healthy eating habits wagon... It’s what you do every day that will.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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