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Sugar Swap: 7 Healthy Alternatives to Childhood Treats

May 6, 2019

Whether you’re a parent or just a nostalgic treat-seeker, the candies and desserts from your childhood days are probably not the most nutritious indulgence. They can be filled with cane sugar, corn syrup, and dozens of artificial flavors and preservatives—but luckily, you can make some of those most-requested sweets right in your kitchen! From Girl Scout cookies to caramel apples, the best swaps for conventional childhood treats are below.

Girl Scout Cookies 3 Ways


Girl Scout cookies are synonymous with childhood—you knew a Girl Scout, were a Girl Scout, or have bought cookies from a Girl Scout at least once before. But making them yourself means you can control the ingredients and—let’s be honest—the serving size.

Keto Thin Mint Cookies

Using almond flour, Switch sugar replacement, and Lily’s Baking Chips, Dark Chocolate, these cookies are the perfect balance of mint and chocolate. You’ll feel good serving these to your family or eating the entire batch at once. (We don’t judge.)

Paleo Samoa Cookies

You’ve never met a cookie with so many dimensions—until now. There’s the cookie, the caramel filling, and the coating, and each layer is free of refined sugar and made with the purest ingredients. You’ll love the combo of subtle crunch and ooey-gooey topping.

Vegan Do-Si-Dos

Time for a vegan upgrade! These Do-Si-Dos use almond butter and almond milk to create the same consistency as their processed counterparts. The recipe also incorporates maple syrup as a low-glycemic sweetener.

Cherry Vanilla Pops


Craving a little extra protein? These popsicles can make that happen! By using Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein, these make for the perfect afternoon or after-school snack. With raw honey as the sweetener, you’ll also get small doses of key nutrients, such as Vitamin B6 and niacin.

Dairy-Free Caramel Apples Recipe


Presenting fruit as a dessert is a smart tactic for kids and adults alike—that’s why caramel apples can be such a hit. But traditional caramel apples involve cream, cane sugar, and processed toppings, which many of us want to avoid. Enter: this recipe! It uses coconut milk caramels and coconut milk to make a silky smooth and naturally sweet caramel sauce. We recommend topping your homemade caramel apple with coconut chips, goji berries, or any other superfood that soothes your sweet tooth.

Prefer your sweet treats in liquid form? We got you!

Superfood Hot Chocolate

Your local supermarket stocks plenty of tasty (and incredibly sweet) hot chocolate mixes. But making a version at home means you can add superfoods and spices to take the nutritional value and flavor profile up a notch. This recipe uses cacao powder to give it a rich chocolate taste, coconut oil to make it creamy, and cinnamon to warm it up. Use your favorite non-dairy milk, like almond or coconut milk, to make it that much healthier.

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Lily Comba

Lily Comba has never met a baked good she didn't like. When she's not baking, you'll find her writing, taking a Pilates class, or collaborating with the editorial and social team as a Senior Content Writer at Thrive Market.

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