May 21, 2014

Satisfy Sweet Tooth Cravings with Healthier Options

Many people crave sweet sugary treats and those are not only bad for your health but also bad for the waistline.  I am an advocate of just about everything, in moderation, but when trying to lose weight or to become more healthy it is a great idea to ditch the sugar.

Why is sugar 'bad'?

The body must metabolize it into glucose and when sugar is consumed the body spikes the insulin hormone which makes it more difficult for the liver to process it.  Spikes lead to crashes, which you have probably heard of.  Which, by the way, cause the cravings for more sugary stuff.  We all know that excessive sugar can lead to Type II Diabetes but did you know that it can also affect the liver?  We need the liver to filter out all the toxins we come in contact with all day long so I vote for keeping the liver healthy.

Sugar naturally occurs in many things that are good for you such as fruit.  The difference between fruit and other sugary treats like doughnuts, cookies, candy, soda, etc. is the way the body metabolizes this.  Fruit has fiber which slows down the absorption of sugar, greatly reducing the spike in insulin.  Reducing or eliminating the spikes will help the body crave this crap less and less.  And, of course, the health benefit is what I am going for.  So how do you satisfy a sweet tooth until the body regulates itself and stops craving sugary treats?

1.  Substitute pretzels, candy, soda, etc. with fruit such as oranges, pineapple, apples, pears, bananas, mangoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes etc.  If you are a person who is trying to lose weight you should consider lower calories options and only consume the higher calorie options in moderation.  I created a list of a few snack options in another blog that you can read here and it gives details on high and low calories fruit choices.  I recommend checking it out so that you can get an idea of what a 'high calorie' fruit choice may be.  Sometimes fruit in place of a cookie or ice cream does not sound satisfying does it?

2.  Turn fruit into a masterpiece by slicing a peach, strawberries or apples and bake it with some honey drizzled on top.  It is delicious and as satisfying as apple or peach pie!  The best thing about this is that honey is a natural sweetener which is a better option than sucrose or fructose.  Please keep in mind, there is still sugar in it so you don't want to go hog wild with it!  Additionally, there's no crust!

3.  Body building friends: substitute the honey on the apples and peaches using cinnamon and Truvia or even coconut sugar.  Truvia is a combo of Stevia, which is naturally derived from a plant called the Stevia leaf, and a little bit of processing.  It has 0 calories but is slightly processed.  I will say it tastes great and I used to use it all the time.  Coconut sugar supplies the lowest glycemic levels as the spike in insulin is by far the lowest when compared to all other sugars and it has trace amounts of nutrients.  Remember, it is still sugar so use it sparingly.

4. I like low fat plain Greek Yogurt with honey.  I like to add Chia seeds with a few cranberries or pomegranate.  You could also add fresh fruit to this, in place of the cranberries/pomegranate - again, using the honey sparingly.  I will admit that Greek Yogurt  has a tart taste that can be overwhelming if you are not used to it and if this is the case I will share what I did until I got used to it.  I sprinkled some Truvia with a light amount of honey.  This way I was not adding all the calories from the honey, yet I was still getting the benefit of something sweet and flavorful.

5.  Along the lines of Greek Yogurt is also the fruit Greek yogurt.  This is definitely going to be higher in calories and sugar but since it comes in a single serving there is no option to over consume (unless you eat more than one container).  If consumed occasionally, it is a much healthier option than ice cream.  Close to the same number of calories but the ingredients will be slightly better.

6. There is an awesome trend of frozen yogurt with fruit.  Be wise with this as frozen yogurt also contains as many calories and sugar as ice cream but better ingredients.  A better substitute would be to make your own.  Look at this fantastic recipe where all  you do is put fruit on a skewer, roll in yogurt and freeze!  Thanks Martha :)

7 & 8. Applesauce with cinnamon is one of my favs and it is important to look for ones with no sugar added.  Don't worry, you can add your own cinnamon and Truvia.  My personal preference is the organic kind just because I have a hang up with eating organic apples.  It has been a long time but I used to get pumpkin in a can then add Truvia and cinnamon or pumpkin spice to it.  Let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours then enjoy.  Pumpkin has 40 calories per serving!  That's nuthin'!

9.  Chia seeds added to unsweetened Almond Milk then placed in the fridge overnight will soak up all the milk and turn into a pudding consistency.  Add fruit and a sprinkle of coconut sugar or Truvia to make a sweet treat that also adds benefits of fiber and fruit.

10.  Frozen bananas rolled in yogurt and some dark chocolate chips or nuts or other delicious items.  For example (recipe here ---->)I got some chocolate covered pecans and walnuts, smashed them up and rolled it.

11.  One last, no fret idea.  Kettle cooked popcorn.  Only 140 calories for 2 cups of popcorn with some pure cane sugar and some sea salt. Non-GMO corn and no other crap.  Love it!

Ditching the sugar all together may not be an easy task but learning to combat the cravings in a smarter way than giving in to them will be much more desirable to your health and waistline.

What is your favorite sweet satisfaction?

PS, I have to say how much I love the hump day blog hop and its creator, Liz at Fitness Blondie.  If you would like to join the link up and meet new peeps, here you go.

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  1. I've been craving sugar a lot recently. I go through stages where all I want is sugary snacks. I think I give in more often than I should. I'll definitely be taking this post into consideration when making substitutions though, thanks.

    1. You know how our taste buds change as we get older? When I was younger I never used to crave sweets. Now? All the time!

  2. Sweets and Breads are my downfall.. Seriously.. They are.
    Ice cream has been the worst.

    I know that I can make ice cream substitute with bananas.. and that's amazing.. but, I can't deny how much a love the creamy milky frozen sugary stuff.

    Sighs.. I'm getting there.

    Loved this post. Found you from the Blog Hop.
    Come check me out...

    I hope to be inspired by more of your posts!

    1. Yes, I love ice-cream substitutes!! There is another recipe that you can use coconut milk with fruit and freeze it on a stick. It has a creamy consistency and lower cal.

      I buy bread at Sprouts & they are popping up across the U.S but are primarily in the southwest. They have breads that are 45-65 calories per slice and are de-lish!!