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"Healthy" Alternatives to Donuts

Posted on 11/5/2018

Healthy Donut Alternatives Blog Post

It’s National Donut Day!

It’s true that donuts are synonymous with unhealthy, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on celebrating completely. Donuts are one of the only foods that still contain trans-fat, after it has been pushed out of the market for several years now. Most deep-fried foods are still cooked in a trans-fat oil, which means that they play a role in inflammation and increases cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

So, we put together a list of “smart” alternatives to those sugary, carb-loaded treats to try instead in celebration of National Donut Day!

Homemade Muffins 

There are so many ways to make healthy muffins and they can be just as satisfying as a fat laden donut. Whole wheat flour, fresh or frozen fruit, nuts and seeds, yogurt or applesauce and even carrots and zucchini are few healthy ingredients you can add to make muffins both healthy, delicious and satisfying.

Donut Holes 

If you find that your donut cravings are just too much to bear, then go ahead and indulge. Sometimes not allowing yourself unhealthy treats once in awhile can cause a cycle of deprivation and bingeing, which is never good. To make your indulgence a bit less harmful, try a couple of donut holes instead of a whole donut. Usually it only takes a few bites of a treat to fulfill a craving! 

Baked Donuts 

The top reason donuts are unhealthy is because of the trans-fat oil they are fried in. While baked doughnuts still aren’t something you should eat every day, they’re far healthier. Choose a recipe that uses whole-grain flour and minimal amounts of butter, oil or fat to keep it healthy. If you need to add sweetness, use a light coating of sugar or drizzle of honey. 


Believe it or not, fruit is a great way to fulfill a sweet craving. You may not believe it when you are craving candy, cookies or aforementioned donut, but eating a piece of fruit can really fulfill sweet cravings! Try some fruit and wait a little bit, you will likely notice that the craving has subsided. As a bonus, your blood sugar will not be crashing about 20 minutes later as it would with a real donut or sugary treat.

Looking for more healthy alternatives to your favorite cravings? Be sure to check out the Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating blog and our 6 Healthy & Easy Holiday Treat Swaps blog for the upcoming holiday season!

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Rene Ficek, RDN, CDE

Grew up in the food industry and took that love of healthy eating to earn her degree in nutrition. She has worked as a registered dietitian for 6 years and has been with SSHE since 2013, providing nutrition analysis and meal planning. Her special interests in weight management and diabetes, helps patients manage their weight and health conditions. She enjoys an active lifestyle, as well as time in the kitchen. Rene’s favorite SSHE meal is the Thai Noodle Salad.

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