It’s no surprise that refined sugar is bad for you — we all know it’s a common culprit behind weight gain and has been linked to a variety of more serious diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. But, let’s be serious… it also tastes really good!

Pair that with the fact that sweets are just about everywhere, and it’s no surprise that sugar is a hard habit to break. But it’s not impossible.

By swapping in healthier, unrefined sweets for your more traditional cookies, cakes, and candy bars, you can wean yourself off of refined sugar while still satisfying your sweet tooth.

Here are some of my top picks for healthier sweets and treats:

Dark Chocolate

Replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate. Look for bars that contain at least 70% cocoa — the higher the percentage, the less sugar there is (I’m personally a fan of 85%). Choose brands that use stevia or a less refined sugar like date sugar or maple syrup.

Banana Ice Cream

Once you make this recipe, you’ll want to ditch store-bought ice cream for good. When you freeze peeled bananas and throw them in a blender, they become a creamy, decadent, perfectly sweet soft-serve ice cream base…no need for added sweeteners! With a few simple add ins, you can dress up your banana ice cream in any flavor you want — chocolate, almond butter, strawberry. The options are endless. Get the recipe here.

Date Rolls

Like bananas, dates are a great natural sweetener because they provide additional benefits beyond just sweetness, including fiber and nutrients. To make date rolls, simply use a high-speed blender or food processor to create a date paste, then roll them up in shredded coconut, nuts, or any other healthy toppings you’d like! They’re so sweet, you’ll almost forget they’re made of fruit.

Coconut Chips

Munching on a few pieces of dried coconut can be more than enough to satisfy your sugar cravings. Coconut also contains healthy fats that support your metabolism and overall health.

Fresh Fruit

While this may not be as exciting as dessert, eating fresh and organic fruits may be the best alternative to sugar. You can never go wrong with apples, pears, or melons. Try getting at least 2 servings of fresh fruit each day.

Sweet Potato Fries

When you want something sweet, skip dessert, and try this homemade baked sweet potato fries recipe, instead. Sprinkle them with cinnamon, which helps balance blood sugar.

If you’re addicted to sugar, and want to break the habit for good, try this free 3-day Sayonara Sugar Detox Meal Plan — you’ll learn exactly what to eat to nourish your body, reduce your sweet cravings, and jump-start weight loss.

Maria Marlowe is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who has helped hundreds of people improve their health through improving their eating habits. She specializes in weight loss and clearing up acne through a real, whole food diet.

Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, and more. Her first book, The Real Food Grocery Guide, will be published May 2017. Visit for her meal plans and recipes, or keep in touch with her on Facebook and Instagram (@maria_marlowe).

Originally published at on October 28, 2016.


  • Maria Marlowe, CHC

    Healthy by Marlowe

    Maria Marlowe helps busy people upgrade their health by upgrading their eating habits. She is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Author, and Recipe Developer who has been featured in Vogue, InStyle, and Dr. Oz. She is the Host of the 5-star rated Happier & Healthier Podcast on iTunes. Her science-backed, doctor-approved digital nutrition and cooking courses and meal plans can be found on