When it comes to eating healthfully, most people wonder where sweets fit in, especially if they are overweight or on a diet. Desserts, chips, junk food, and most sweets are usually the first to go when slashing calories.

I tend to get major cravings for sweet foods after dinner, so I usually have something sweet every night. It is always factored into my calories, and it’s usually something like a pudding cup, 100-calorie ice cream bar/cup, or one of those dessert yogurts. Everything in moderation!

Not so fast, say the experts. Whether your family prefers dessert after dinner or an afternoon treat, sweets can be part of a balanced diet as long as you pay attention to portion sizes and choose healthier treats.

Those who eat sweets early in the morning have lesser cravings and less hunger throughout the day. Experts believe this is because eating more calories in the morning provides your body with energy to last the entire day, limiting unhealthy snacking. There is nothing wrong with an occasional calorie-dense piece of cake, a cookie, or candy, but these are so easy to overeat and the small portion is not nearly as satisfying.  A few bites of chocolate each day could decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease down the line. So all you need to do is be open to sweets but keep the portions in check.