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How to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Guest post by Rachel Kranjc (roommate, friend, and fellow soon-to-be-RD) 

All foods can fit into a healthy diet plan. However, many people have difficulty practicing moderation when it comes to sweets. Although they are tasty, many sweet treats such as cakes cookies, and chocolate contain large amounts of added sugar and contribute excess calories without providing any nutritional benefits. These desserts can be like Kryptonite for many people trying to follow a healthy diet.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars. If you are eating 2000 calories per day, this means that your goal is to eat less than 200 calories (50 grams) of added sugar (1). The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends going even lower. They suggest no more than no more than 100 calories per day coming, or 24 grams for most women and 150 calories per day, or 36 grams for men (2).

Does this mean that we have to cut out all of the sweet foods that we crave? No. A diet that allows small amounts of foods you enjoy — even high-sugar, high-calorie foods — will be easier to maintain since you aren’t eliminating that food completely from your life.  Believe it or not, it is also possible to find healthier treats to satisfy your craving for sweets.

Here are a few tips and tricks to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard:

  • Don’t deprive yourself – restricting yourself too much may lead to overindulgences later.
  • Do have sweets in moderation. You can still have dessert, just enjoy it in smaller portions. Try to eat slowly and mindfully to fully enjoy sweet foods.
  • Don’t keep desserts in the house. If you have a hard time resisting those cookies in the cabinet or the tub of ice cream in the freezer, don’t keep them around. Instead make yourself walk or bike to a bakery or ice cream store to get your sweet fix.
  • Do know what works best for you. For example, if you are someone who wants a little something sweet every day, make your treats healthier. If you are someone who wants to have the real deal and is not willing to make substitutions, enjoy your decadent dessert less often and in smaller amounts.
  • Do choose fruit more often. Fruit contains natural sugars and fiber, which helps you feel full and satisfied. It is also full of key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Do try some sweet-tasting vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, and carrots. Their natural sweetness comes out when you roast them. They are also full of fiber and other nutrients. Top with cinnamon or a small amount of honey or maple syrup to bring out even more sweetness.
  • Do pair sweet things like chocolate with nutrient dense things like fruit, nuts, and yogurt. Make the sweet element a supporting actor rather than the star of the show.
  • Do swap sugary, high calorie drinks for lighter versions.

Ideas for healthier sweet treats include:

  • fruit in many forms (smoothies, fruit salad, frozen fruit, chocolate-covered fruit)
  • low-fat/low-sugar pudding cup
  • small granola bar (Kashi, Special K, FiberOne, KIND)
  • 1 oz. cocoa roasted almonds
  • 1 oz. homemade trail mix
  • low-fat/light yogurt
  • graham crackers
  • small square of dark chocolate
  • light ice cream or frozen yogurt bars

The Challenge: Choose one strategy to use this week to satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging yourself:

  • Choose fruit in place of other sweets
  • Eat a smaller amount of your usual sweet treat, and eat slowly and mindfully
  • Try healthier substitutions like one of the recipes from below

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

Ingredients:

1 large chopped frozen bananas

1 tablespoons of peanut butter

1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Directions:

  • Chop and freeze the banana.
  • Once frozen, place the chopped banana into a food processor or strong blender and blend until smooth. You may want to add a little bit of water or milk to help the bananas blend faster.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder and continue to mix.
  • Serve and eat immediately.

 

Nutrition Information per Serving (Serving Size: 1 recipe)
Calories: 218, Total Fat: 9 grams, Saturated Fat: 2 grams, Sodium: 58 milligrams, Carbohydrates: 34 grams, Fiber: 5 grams, Sugar: 18 grams, Added Sugar: 1 grams, Protein: 5 grams

Recipe from Listotic Listed & Loved (http://www.listotic.com/ridiculously-healthy-three-ingredient-treats/5/ )

Healthy Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

Pinch of baking soda

Pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a microwave safe mug or bowl
  • Microwave for 1 to 1 minute and 15 seconds
  • Allow to cool for one minute before eating

Nutrition Information per Serving (Serving Size: 1 recipe)
Calories: 103, Total Fat: 1 grams, Saturated Fat: 0 grams, Sodium: 4 milligrams, Carbohydrates: 25 grams, Fiber: 3 grams, Sugar: 15 grams, Added Sugar: 12 grams, Protein: 2 grams

Recipe from Brooklyn Farm Girl (http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/2013/08/23/100-calorie-single-serving-brownie/)

Lightened Up Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

3 medium baking apples, cored, sliced thin

1 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Topping:

1 cup quick oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons heart-healthy margarine

Directions:

  • Mix first four ingredients together and place in a 9-inch (square or round) baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the apples.
  • Bake at 325°F about 30 minutes or until apples are soft and topping is golden brown

Nutrition Information per Serving (Serving Size: 1/9th recipe)
Calories: 102, Total Fat: 3 grams, Saturated Fat: 1 grams, Sodium: 24 milligrams, Carbohydrates: 19 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Added Sugar: 5 grams, Protein: 2 grams

Recipe from Spark Recipes (https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=11935#_a5y_p=2909055)

REFERENCES

  1. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Executive Summary. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/
  2. Added Sugars. The American Heart Association web site. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WO0xJ4jys2w. Updated February 1, 2017.

 

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