Sweets are one of the most habit-forming foods, and with good reason; they taste great! The problem with indulging in sweets on a regular basis is that it causes your body to store insulin and go into a “fat storage mode”, where you’ll quickly pack on excess body fat. So, it’s not really an issue of calories, but rather an issue of how much sugar you’re consuming.
But, we all still like sweets, and sugar in reasonable and moderate amounts isn’t a bad thing, so the question is: how can we calm our sweet tooth while avoiding overdoing it in the candy aisle at the grocery store?
While part of the challenge is portion control, the second (and probably tougher part) is figuring out where to get our sugar from and in what form. Keep in mind that fruit and berries have natural sugar, which is a far better option for you than the processed variety.
So, how can we get our sugar and maintain a healthy eating pattern? Here are a few options.
1. Vanilla Greek Yogurt — Greek yogurt is packed with protein, and is one of the healthier foods you can eat. Try and couple it with some fruit or granola, especially in the morning for breakfast.
Regular yogurt is a good option as well, but Greek yogurt has more protein and is going to be a healthier option if you don’t mind the different taste that it has when compared to regular yogurt.
2. Frozen Grapes and Almonds — Frozen grapes are a great treat and they’ll get you those good natural sugars that were mentioned earlier. Coupling them with almonds gives you some protein, and makes a nice snack compliment for between meals or at night.
3. Fruit Smoothies — If you have a good blender, combining a variety of fruit and berries with ice, juice or even yogurt can make an incredibly tasty and satisfying sweet treat. The combinations are virtually endless, so just take a few of your favorites along with a good organic juice and mix it up!
Try and go with organic yogurt and juices, and avoid the juice drinks that contain a high amount of sugar, which will defeat the purpose of the smoothie entirely. Orange juice is usually a pretty safe bet.
4. Dark Chocolate — Chocolate is something that a lot of people will find themselves craving, particularly the milk chocolate variety. Unfortunately, milk chocolate doesn’t offer as many antioxidants that dark chocolate contains, and the milk and extra sugar can cause your insulin levels to spike.
Dark chocolate will still satisfy your chocolate cravings, but will do so without the added sugars and with the extra antioxidants. It’s just a healthier choice overall.
5. Juice Popsicle — Make this one fun. Buy your own Popsicle trays and use some organic juice to make your own popsicles, instead of buying those sugar-packed frozen treats from the market. Not only are you saving money, but if you get to choose the juice that goes into making your popsicles, you and your kids are getting a much healthier and cheaper alternative.
Again, go with organic juices that don’t have added sugar. Pay attention to the sugar content in any juice you are considering— even in the organic juice, there’s enough sugar already. Try blueberry, blackberry and mango juices for your popsicles.
It Can Be Done
This goes to show that you can have sweets in your life without spiking your insulin levels and consuming a ridiculous amount of carbohydrates. So, the next time you’re walking down the candy display in the store looking to satisfy that sweet tooth, stick to these less sugary options.
Work some of these healthier options into your sweet cravings and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your body begins to want these instead of the other stuff. Once you get into the habit of eating fruit-based sweets, instead of bread- and sugar-based, your body will react positively, and will begin to crave the right things; just the same way it craved the wrong things before.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California who specializes in health, marketing and tech. When looking to satisfy her sweet tooth, she opts for these healthier choices. Find more tips like these by following her on Twitter and Facebook.