Monday, November 7, 2016

Healthy Hacks to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Good morning, how was your weekend? If you're like many people, the weekend is when you fall of the wagon with your healthy habits. You may not get to the gym, you go out and have a few (or too many) drinks, and you indulge in rich, sugary treats. If this is the case, you may start every Monday with feelings of regret.

Well fear not! I've got you covered, at least in terms of indulging your sweet tooth while staying on track with a healthy eating plan!

Here are a bunch of ideas for you.

For those of you who cannot give up the real thing, find a way to incorporate it into your diet regularly. Most people try to eliminate their weakness altogether, which leads to feelings of deprivation, and usually bingeing. Instead, give yourself permission to have a small amount of said item as often as is necessary to make you feel satisfied (i.e. a small square of the best dark chocolate every day after lunch). Just be aware that not everyone is good at doing this, and are vulnerable to eating excessive amounts or consuming said food due to hunger, boredom, or emotional numbing. If you are one of these people, it may actually be beneficial for you to keep your trigger foods out of your environment and look for healthier options.

Don't fret my friends, there are lots of ways to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to sweet treats.

When you really want to feel like you are indulging your sweet cravings, one strategy is to healthify your favorite goodies. Believe me, you can find a recipe to create a healthy version of just about any treat whether its a brownie, cookie, pie, ice cream or even candy. Moreover, most of them are online and available for free!

Just check out the recipes on this blog! Or, check out my other site . Believe me, I eliminated sugar from my diet years ago and I never feel deprived!

Like how about some dark chocolate espresso cake???

The caveat is you have to make your own food, but everyone should be cooking and baking at home most of the time anyways. Its never too late to learn!

Just keep in mind that nutritious, and even sugar-free, doesn't necessarily mean low-calorie! Some healthier alternatives can be calorie bombs because they are full of coconut, avocado, and/or nuts.  For low cal options, I really recommend you check out my site .

Making sweet meals is another strategy that can help you satisfy that sweet tooth in a healthier way. Instead of eating a cold salad and chicken breast and then gorging on cookies a few hours later, make a meal (any time of day) of whole grain pancakes, French toast, or waffles with fresh fruit. Or a smoothie, or nice cream (frozen pureed bananas - with other frozen fruit, if desired), Greek yogurt bowl or oatmeal. If you need the additional decadence, throw in a few chocolate chips to any one of these things (preferably stevia sweetened or at least dark chocolate).

Another strategy is to simply capitalize on the natural sweetness in foods like fruits and veggies.

Some fruits are naturally super sweet, like mangos, pineapples, melons and grapes. Some people find these high sugar fruits fuel sugar cravings if eaten alone, in which case just pare them with some protein like Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts, or add them to salads, stir fries, curries, salsas, etc. If you make meals that have a sweet note to them, you may not crave something sweet afterwards.

Other less sweet fruits get much sweeter when cooked, like plums. Many other fruits are also delicious sauteed, roasted or stewed, such as apples, pears, peaches, etc.

Orange veggies are also fantastic substitutes for sugary treats. My favorites are kabocha squash, delicata squash, and sweet potatoes.

Of course, there is also pumpkin and many other squash varieties out there that are also sweet and delicious! Enhance their sweetness with sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and you get something very dessert like. I kid you not, sometimes I actually will eat them as dessert!!

Dried fruits are very sweet too, but higher in calories, so watch your portion size, and be sure to avoid the ones with added sugar (usually berries, pineapple, mango, etc.).

Remember if you are adding sweetener to your recipes, to avoid sugar and all its fancy named friends. You can get a whole variety of alternative sweeteners now, online, at health food stores, and even in many grocery stores. For my suggested choices, see my previous post. You can even healthify many of your favorite recipes, simply by replacing the sugar with an appropriate alternative.

Have a sweet Monday my friends.

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