Sunday, May 26

Dessert or Snack? When and What to Indulge in Your Sweet Tooth

You know the feeling. You’re out at a restaurant, perusing the menu and trying to decide between a savoury entree or a sweet dessert. But then you see it: the perfect compromise. A dish that’s small enough to be considered a snack, but sweet enough to serve as a dessert. 

So, what is it? The answer may surprise you.

Which is it then?

When we’re trying to decide whether something is a snack or a dessert, there are really only two factors to consider: size and sweetness. Let’s start with size. A good rule of thumb is that if something can be eaten in one or two bites, it’s probably a snack. On the other hand, if it’s something that requires a fork and knife (or spoon), it’s more likely to be classified as a dessert. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule like fondant figures, cake pops, and mini pies. But in general, it holds true.

Next, let’s talk about sweetness. This is where things get tricky because there are no hard-and-fast rules. In general, however, we tend to think of snacks as being less sweet than desserts. That’s not to say that snacks can’t be sweet (think: candy bars, chocolate-covered pretzels, etc.), but they usually don’t have quite as much sugar as desserts do. And while some desserts (like fruit salad) are relatively light on sugar, others (like cake and cookies) are downright loaded with it. 

Now, asking somebody whether they would prefer a snack or a dessert can feel like a loaded question. Do they want something savoury or something sweet? Something light or something indulgent? Something to tide them over until their next meal or something to enjoy after their meal is already done? The answer, of course, is that it depends. 

Here are some foods that are typically eaten as snacks and some that are typically eaten as desserts.


Nuts are a type of fruit that grows on trees and bushes. They are often eaten as a snack, but they can also be used in desserts. 

Nuts are often seen as a snack food, rather than a dessert. This is because they are high in fat and protein, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied. However, nuts also contain a variety of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also a good source of fibre, which can help to promote a healthy digestive system. However, nuts can also be high in calories, so they should be eaten in moderation. Nuts can be a healthy and delicious addition to your diet so be sure to choose a variety that is low in sugar and salt, and avoid coated or flavoured varieties.

However, nuts can also be used in sweet dishes, such as pies and cookies. In these cases, the nuts are often roasted or coated in sugar, which helps to bring out their natural sweetness. As a result, when nuts are used in desserts, they can provide a delicious and decadent flavour that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. 

High Tea

High tea is often seen as a dessert, but it is a meal that consists of savoury dishes followed by scones and cake. The word “tea” in this context refers to the fact that the meal is served with tea, not that it is sweet. 

High tea originated in England, where it was originally eaten by the upper classes as a late-afternoon meal. These days, high tea is enjoyed by people of all social classes and is often served in hotels and restaurants as well as homes. While the menu can vary, typical dishes might include sandwiches, quiche, sausage rolls, and chicken pie. Scones are usually served with clotted cream and jam, while cake or pudding rounds out the meal. 


Fruits are often seen as a snack food rather than a dessert. This is because fruits are usually healthy and contain fewer calories than other sweet snacks. 

Fruits are also a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. However, some people believe that fruits should be eaten as part of a dessert because they are sweet and contain natural sugars. For these people, eating fruit as a snack can lead to weight gain. Eating fruit as part of a balanced diet is important for good health. 

Including fruit in your diet can help you reach your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. It can also help you regulate your blood sugar levels and prevent constipation. When choosing fruit as a snack, it is important to choose fresh or frozen fruit over dried fruit or fruit juices. Dried fruit often contains added sugars and preservatives, while fresh and frozen fruit contains all of the natural nutrients from the fruit.

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips are often seen as savoury snacks instead of sweet desserts. The dish typically consists of fried fish, potatoes, and vinegar. 

While the fried fish is usually the star of the show, the chips (or french fries) can be just as delicious. They are often cooked in the same oil as the fish, absorbing all of the flavors. The vinegar also adds a tartness that helps to cut through the richness of the dish. While fish and chips are often served as a main course, they can also be a great way to finish off a meal. The combination of salty, sweet, and sour elements makes for a very satisfying dessert. 

There’s no contest here. Fish and chips make a great savoury meal but they would be a rather funny choice for dessert. First, fried fish is not typically considered to be a sweet food. Moreover, the greasy nature of fried food would likely leave diners feeling rather strange if they ate it for dessert. Finally, most fish and chips are served with malt vinegar, which is another ingredient that is more commonly associated with savoury dishes than sweets. 


So the next time you’re at a restaurant (or in your kitchen), trying to decide whether something is a snack or dessert, ask yourself two questions: 1) Is it small enough to eat in one or two bites? And 2) Is it relatively sweet? If you answer “yes” to both of those questions, chances are good that you’re looking at a dessert masquerading as a snack—or vice versa.

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