Top 10 Naturally Sweet Snacks and Desserts

There are many reasons to offer naturally sweet snacks and desserts. Including naturally sweet items in lieu of those with added sugars and artificial sweeteners are healthier for you. Listed below are the top ten naturally sweet snacks and desserts that my 4 kids love to eat.

Apple Slices and Peanut Butter:

Apple Slices and peanut butter is the first naturally sweet snack that comes to mind. This snack is easy to make. All you need is all natural peanut butter and a ripe apple. Any variety is good. We prefer Gala or Arkansas Black. You also need 3 tablespoons of natural peanut butter of your choice. For natural peanut butter we use Skippy Natural, as it does not separate. This is a great snack for kids to take to school or for any time they are looking for something sweet. It offers fiber, protein and good carbs. You cannot compare the great taste of this snack or its nutritional value to any fruit snack or prepackaged apples and peanut butter and here is why. Any prepackaged apple and peanut butter snack will have preservatives on the apples. Most of these prepackaged snacks contain peanut butter that has added sugar and trans fats (trans fatty acids, listed as any type of partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients). The protein in this snack will keep blood sugar stable and the apple slices offer good carbs while providing energy and a snack that is healthy for teeth.

Melon Kabobs:

Melon Kabobs are easy to make. This is the second on my list of top ten naturally sweet snacks and desserts. All you need for this are wooden skewers, 1 personal sized watermelon, 1 small cantaloupe, 1 small honeydew melon, and 1 small canary melon. Alternatively, you can use any melons that you like best. With a melon baller, scoop out ½ of each melon. Reserve the rest for another time. Slide the melons onto each skewer, alternating the melon colors. Place on a plate and serve cold. This naturally sweet snack offers fiber, iron, vitamin C, and Vitamin A. You also get trace nutrients. These are easy to pack for a picnic lunch or serve anytime.

Grilled Fruit Kabobs:

This is the third on my list of naturally sweet snacks and desserts. Serve this as an ending to any barbeque or cookout, and you'll get rave reviews. Grilling the fruit intensifies the sweetness. Here is what you need for grilled fruit kabobs. 1 package of wooden skewers, soak them in water while preparing the fruit. This will keep them from burning. Then you will need a few ripe plums, and 1 ripe pineapple. If you cannot get fresh pineapple, you can use all natural pineapple chunks in juice, not syrup. Cut the plums in half and remove the pits. Slice each plum half into thick slices. Peel and core the fresh pineapple and cut into chunks. Slide the fruit onto the skewers alternating plums and pineapple. Brush with a small amount of olive oil. Place on a hot grill for about 1-2 minutes on each side. The natural sugars in the fruit will cause it to burn quickly so keep an eye on them. Place on a plate and serve warm.

Ants on a Log:

This naturally sweet snack sounds horrible but it is very tasty and a favorite for kids. You need several celery hearts, a box of all natural raisins, and all natural peanut butter. Wash and remove the bottom of celery, then dry. Fill each celery stalk with peanut butter. Place raisins along the top of the peanut butter. These are the "ants" and the celery stalk is the "log". This snack is healthy, full of fiber, vitamins, and protein. The peanut butter compliments the natural sweetness of the celery and raisins. You can pack this naturally sweet snack into lunches or serve it as an afterschool snack. In a pinch it makes a great dessert to bring to a potluck dinner.

Granola Bars:

Here is a naturally sweet treat that can be a dessert or snack. These set up in the refrigerator but they can be put into lunches or used as a dessert. You will need all natural peanut butter, wax paper, and a box of all natural organic granola (flavor of your choice). Bear Naked or any other organic brand works well. Mix 1 cup of peanut butter with 1 cup of granola. It should form into workable "dough". If it is too sticky add more granola, too stiff add more peanut butter. Roll the granola mixture into a log shape on a counter. Slice into single size servings and roll up in wax paper. Place in the refrigerator to set up. Store in the refrigerator in a zippered bag or plastic container. You can take them in lunches with a cold pack or serve them as a dessert. These naturally sweet snacks and desserts are full of protein, vitamins, and fiber. As far as taste goes they beat commercial granola bars hands down. With more nutrition and better taste you cannot go wrong.

Fruit Salad:

Here is my sixth item on the top ten naturally sweet snacks and desserts. This can be adjusted to any season by using the fruits that are available. For this particular salad, there are melons, apples, and grapes. Use at least two different varieties of melon and grapes. Our favorite melons are watermelon and cantaloupes. A mix of red, purple and green seedless grapes adds lots of color and taste. Using golden delicious, red-skinned and a green-skinned apple also adds lots of color. Use a melon baller to scoop out the melon or you can slice it into chunks. Use about a pound total of grapes, half of each melon, and one of each type of apple. Core and slice the apples and then quickly drop them into water with a little bit of fresh lemon juice added. This will prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown. Cut the melons and add the washed grapes. Then add the apples. Mix well. Serve in individual bowls for dessert. This is preferable to canned or frozen fruit salad. The taste is wonderfully sweet and perfectly ripe fruit cannot be beat as a nutritious dessert or snack.

Ice Pops:

When the temperatures soar, a frozen treat is great for cooling off. Teething babies also enjoy a good ice pop. Unfortunately, most commercially available ice pops are full of sugar and artificial color, flavors and preservatives. Many of the sugar free pops contain artificial sweeteners, which can wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels and can actually interfere with any weight loss regime. You can make homemade ice pops that are naturally sweet and healthy. All you need are some paper cups, popsicle sticks (get them at a craft store), unsweetened juice (different from no sugar added or sugar free), and fruit. Here is what you do. My favorite fruit to do this with is watermelon because of its high water content; however any fruit that purees well is fine. Other good choices are ripe peaches, bananas, any melon, papaya, and mango. I find that berries in general make for gritty pops if you do not strain the puree prior to freezing. Knudson and Odwalla make unsweetened juices. There are many other brands. Make sure that there is no sugar or artificial sweeteners listed on the label. To start add fruit to a blender or food processor and puree. Use ¼ melon, or 1 whole peach, mango, or papaya. Use about 1 cup of berries if you want a berry pop. Then add ¼ cup of juice. Add water to the puree and juice mix to make a thin mixture and make at least 2 cups of liquid. Pour the mixture into paper cups. Use 8oz cups and fill halfway. Place in freezer for about half an hour or until a thin ice layer forms on the top of the liquid. Then place a popsicle stick through the ice layer and freeze for several hours. These ice pops are more economical than bargain brands and they are good for you. Preservative free, tasty, and full of vitamins, this a sweet treat you can enjoy anytime. The only sugar is in the fruit and from the naturally occurring sugars in the juice.

Berry Parfaits:

This beautiful dessert will win you rave reviews. It is easy to make and healthy too. All you need is plain low-fat yogurt, all natural organic granola, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and plastic margarita or parfait cups. For the Fourth of July, this makes a great red, white and blue dessert. There should be about ½ pound of fruit, and a small box or bag of granola. Start by washing all of the fruit and let it dry. Use about 16 oz of plain low-fat yogurt. Put the yogurt in a strainer that you line with cheesecloth. Leave it sit over a bowl, covered with a kitchen towel for about an hour. (please keep it in the refrigerator for the hour). This will thicken the yogurt. Next align your cups into an assembly line; this makes at least 4 parfaits. Pour the granola into a bowl for ease of use. Dice the strawberries. Start with a layer of diced strawberries, then add a layer of yogurt, then a thin layer of granola, then a layer of blueberries, another layer of yogurt, another thin layer of granola, and continue layering, ending with a layer of yogurt. Garnish with strawberry slices and mint leaves. This dessert looks and tastes positively decadent. The richness of the yogurt combined with the crunchiness of the granola and the sweetness of the fruit makes it taste like a very fattening treat. Using low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, and organic granola gives you a treat that offers protein, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Compare this to an ice cream or pudding parfait and the savings in calories and fat alone is tremendous. This naturally sweet dessert is low in fat and calories and it is healthy. Kids love it and you can serve it anytime knowing it is good for them.

Fruit Spread on Wassa Crackers:

Item nine on my list of top ten naturally sweet snacks and desserts is a simple sweet treat of Wassa brand crackers and your favorite no sugar added, all natural, fruit spread. I prefer to use organic fruit spreads. Jellies and Jams will have sugar added, so look for no sugar added (sugar free will have artificial sweeteners and should be avoided). Simply spread the fruit spread onto a Wassa cracker and enjoy. The crackers are high in fiber and the fruit spread has no added sugars. This is a great sweet snack and it is a lot healthier than fruit roll-ups, or other fruit snacks. The taste is great and it really satisfies a sweet craving. It's good for dieters if you just eat 1 cracker (they are large).

Trail Mix:

The final naturally sweet snack and dessert on our list is trail mix. Most commercial trail mix contains candies of some sort. This mix contains all natural ingredients and no candy. It is easy to put together and you can take it in a lunch box or out hiking. All you need is a box of all natural, organic granola, cashews, peanuts, and assorted organic, sulfur free dried fruit. Mix one cup of granola, ¼ cup of cashews, ¼ cup of peanuts, and ½ cup of dried fruit. The sweetness from the fruit mixes well with nuts and granola. This snack gives you protein, fiber and good carbs. All of these are needed for a pick me up when hiking or for an afternoon snack. You will find that this tastes better and is healthier than premixed trail mix, and you can take it with you and not have to worry about chocolate candies making a mess.

Naturally sweet snacks and desserts are easy to make and they are healthier for you than the commercial counterparts. In most cases they are less expensive. When you consider the health benefits of natural snacks without added sugars and preservatives combined with saving money these tasty snacks and desserts beat unhealthy snacks. All of these naturally sweet snacks and desserts are kid friendly. Even picky eaters will find these appealing. Why not give them a try today.

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