Growing up I always had a fondness for sweet treats. My Mom would often tease me that I was born with a sweet tooth. But today, as more research is available on sugar, the candy bar or cookie that I’ve added as a regular part of my diet is having a direct effect on my overall health. Studies have shown that sugar is highly addictive and can have negative results not only in gaining weight but also increased mood swings. Additionally, it may cause skin to age more rapidly and can cause stress or damage to various organs including the heart. For more information on sugar’s effects please see Web MD’s article “How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?”
Even though it’s common knowledge that we should reduce or even avoid sugar, I find it hard to stop cold turkey when it comes to sweet snacks or desserts. So here are a few healthy food options that I often eat to help me fight an oncoming sugar craving. Just be sure to follow the rule “everything in moderation” when choosing one of these options.
Dark Chocolate – A bar that is at least 70% cacao is a healthy option that is full of antioxidants. Just limit yourself to a few squares.
Coconut Oil – This healthy fat can add flavor to your foods. Try it in your morning coffee in place of sugar. It acts as a sweetener and provides you with an energy boost.
Fruit – Whole and dried fruits are a great way to eat something sweet while still consuming healthy fibers and nutrients.
Liquorice Tea – It tastes like the candy but will also balance your blood sugar and cortisol levels which should prevent a craving.
Carrot Sticks – An excellent snack that also serves as a source of beta-carotene and is known to lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health. You can also dip them in hummus to make them taste even better.
Sweet Potatoes – This starchy but sweet vegetable will help satisfy your hunger and hinder the need for additional snacking.
Beets – This sweet vegetable tastes great and also fights off inflammation which is the cause of conditions such as migraines, arthritis, and heart disease.
Chia Seeds – A great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as other nutrients this water-absorbing fiber will feed your hunger. Chia Seed Pudding is a great dessert choice.
Cinnamon – This spice is known to regulate blood sugar levels which will reduce your cravings. Try adding cinnamon to sugar-free applesauce or on half a banana with crushed nuts.
Nut Butter – Almond or cashew butter gives you that sweet taste. You’ll also be selecting a healthy fat and protein option.
I do occasionally still reach for a cookie or other sweet treat, but the options above have helped me to make healthier choices and curb my sugar cravings.
Is there a healthy snack you opt for when you have a sugar craving coming on? Do you like a healthy recipe that is low in sugar or sugar-free? Share your tips and comments with us below.