Join Haley at our next Illume Retreats in Summer 2024!

Healthy Sweet Tooth Snacks

Over the last 10+ years in the health industry, I’ve found sweets to be a common obstacle for many clients. The more you place a dessert restriction, it seems to be an even bigger temptation, often leading to binging or guilt. Below is a list of healthy sweet tooth snacks that might satisfy your craving while still providing nutrients and enjoyment!

Sweet nutrient dense snack ideas:

  • Protein bars or balls
  • Dark chocolate
  • Herbal Tea
  • Baked, grilled or fruit with a little whip cream, ice-cream or drizzle of honey. Frozen berries or grapes are great too!
  • Greek yogurt parfait with berries and nuts
  • Blended protein shake, smoothie or nice cream 

Healthyish Dessert Recipes:

Smoothie Bowl

  1. Blend ½ cup frozen berries + ½ banana + 1-2 handfuls of spinach + flavored protein powder (berry, chocolate, vanilla) + water or almond milk
  2. Pour into a bowl, top with a few slices of bananas, seeds, cacao nibs, and/or low-sugar granola.
  3. Enjoy it with a spoon. You’ll be quite full after this one!

Fruit and Yogurt Bowl

Quite a simple option, buy berries + high protein yogurt and leave them in the fridge at work or use as a go-to option.

Dessert Yogurt Parfait

Banana Ice Cream + Cacao Nibs

  1. Slice bananas into “coins” and place them on a tray in the freezer.
  2. Once frozen add the coins to a food processor.
  3. Blend it until the bananas take on an ice-cream like consistency.
  4. Can also add a little collagen or protein powder with milk to bump up the protein. 
  5. Take a small portion and top it with cacao nibs, save the rest in the freezer!

Protein Pancakes or Waffles:

  1. Kodiak Cakes and Flap Jacked Mighty Muffins
  2. Easy homemade protein pancake or waffle recipe:
  • 1 scoop of your favorite casein or whey protein powder
  • ½ tsp heaping of baking powder
  • 1 egg or 1 TBSP of flaxseed
  • 3 TBSP water

Directions: Mix together and pour into pan.

Pancake Toppings:

  • 1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2 packets of stevia or splenda
  • a little vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and spread over cooked pancakes

Protein Chia Pudding

  1. https://haleyhugheswellness.com/recipe/raspberry-chia-seed-pudding/

Boar’s Head Chocolate Hummus + Berries

Boar’s Head chocolate hummus is so decadent, you won’t even know it’s actually hummus! Mix in some berries for a great snack or after dinner sweet tooth treat.

Or try my homemade dessert hummus recipe!

Why the added protein in nutrient packed sweet tooth snacks?

If you’re looking to encourage muscle growth from your workouts, consider adding protein to your late-night routine. By providing the amino acids that your muscles need to repair and rebuild during sleep, you could make gains while you snooze.  

The recommended daily allowance of protein is 1 gram per kilogram of body weight. Research suggests, though, that athletes benefit from more protein to maximize muscle growth. Those who frequently and consistently lift weights or do resistance training may benefit from consuming 1.3 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. 

Protein supplies amino acids, which build our muscles. Our muscles repair themselves and grow while we sleep. Growth hormone is made by the body when we exercise and is elevated during sleep. This hormone boosts muscle growth and decreases fat.

Studies have shown that if you consume an ample amount of protein right before bed, you’ll take full advantage of this spike in growth hormone and maximize muscle gains. This happens because you’re providing the amino acids that are needed for repair and growth. 

This protein is anti-catabolic. It reduces protein breakdown within the body due to its slow digestion rate and sustained supply of amino acids to muscle cells.  

Casein Protein Desserts

Casein protein powder is a high-quality source of protein that’s also very convenient.

If you are taking it before or after a workout, then it makes sense to use a faster-digesting form like casein hydrolysate — or you could simply take whey protein.

Most people who supplement with casein are taking it before bed.

For example, you can eat 1-2 scoops (25-50 grams) of casein protein powder mixed with water. You can simply put casein and water in a shaker bottle and mix it that way, or in a blender with some ice.

You can also put it in a bowl and stir it with water until it gets a pudding-like consistency, then put it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Then it tastes a little bit like ice cream or frosting, especially with flavor like chocolate or vanilla.

That being said, you can also get plenty of casein from natural dairy products. Milk, natural yogurt and cheese are very high in this protein.

Popular ways to get plenty of dairy protein without too many calories include eating cottage cheese or a high-protein natural yogurt.



Recipes for Bedtime Protein Snacks:

Protein Hot Chocolate:

  • 1-2 scoops Casein Protein Powder (chocolate flavor)
  • 1 T peanut butter (can change amount based on needed fat intake)
  • 1 cup milk (can use water, milk substitute or 1/2 milk 1/2 water depending upon your macros)
  • 1/2 T cocoa powder

Directions: place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and place in a microwave safe mug. Microwave for 1 minute.

Mug Brownie:

Directions: spray a microwave safe mug with nonstick cooking spray, mix all ingredients in a separate bowl and add to mug, cover with plastic wrap and place in microwave for 30 seconds- 1 minute depending on the size of the mug.


Protein Pudding:

Place all ingredients into a bowl, and vigorously mix for about 30 seconds or until you reach your desired consistency

Easy Casein Protein Pudding Recipe
Protein Shake Recipes

Protein Shake Recipe:

  • ½ cup milk
  • 3/4 scoop casein protein powder 
  • 1/2 banana
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt (can be plain or flavored)
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • ⅓ cup oats (if more carb desirable) 
  • ¾ cup crushed ice

Place all ingredients in blender, mix, and enjoy


Strawberry Protein Shake:

Place all ingredients in a blender, mix, and enjoy!

Chocolate Protein Shake:

  • 1 scoop chocolate casein protein powder
  • ½ banana
  • 1 TBSP natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 6-8 oz milk or milk alternative

Place all ingredients into a blender, mix, and enjoy!

Vanilla Chai Protein Shake:

Place all ingredients in a blender, mix, and enjoy!


Written by Haley Hughes MS, RD, CDE, CF-L1 and Hannah Hockley CF-L1

Share this post


Get your FREE RDRx Nutrition Meal Prep Guide with my favorite recipes, snack ideas, grocery list and healthy meal planning tips!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Contact Us