Everywhere you turn these days, whether it be a magazine article, a podcast, a blog or a tv show, sugar is the enemy. Specifically refined sugar that is added to sodas, candy, and most other desserts is usually the culprit. With that being said, I am well aware of the negative effects of sugar on our bodies. Sugar is linked to increasing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. If you are one of the few, lucky people that do not crave sugar or sweets, than you can stop reading right here. However, if you do from time to time have a sweet tooth, these tips can help satisfy your craving without breaking the calorie bank and putting your health at risk.
Timing is Key
- The time of day is important in determining what type of “sweet snack” you should choose. If you are craving something sweet midmorning or between lunch and dinner; you should choose something that contains protein and/or fiber. These are times of the day when we typically experience true “physiological hunger”, therefore, it is important your sweet treat can sustain you until your next meal. Some of my favorites are:
- *apple sprinkled w/cinnamon and 1 Tbsp. of your favorite nut butter
- *non-fat plain or vanilla Greek yogurt topped w/fresh berries
- *chocolate milk or light hot chocolate made w/ Fairlife skim milk (Fairlife contains less sugar, more protein and has a creamier texture than regular skim milk. Favorite light hot chocolate: Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets Light, Nestle Fat Free Rich Milk Chocolate. Hershey’s Syrup Lite can be used for chocolate milk or hot chocolate.)
- *fat-free pudding cup topped with a sprinkle of almonds or pecans
- *frozen banana slices or grapes and 2% cheese sticks
- *non-fate plain or vanilla Greek yogurt mixed with PB2 peanut butter powder and 1 tsp Hershey’s Syrup Lite or shaved dark chocolate
- *a healthy smoothie (see recipe)
- *1 slices of whole wheat toast w/1-2 tsp nut butter and ½ banana, sliced
2. If you are looking for something sweet after dinner, it more about portion control instead of sustainability. The more rich the flavor, the less you will need to be satisfied. Dark chocolate satisfies a craving with less quantity because of its bold flavor. Choose a dark chocolate that contains 72-86% cacao (Ghirardelli 72% Twilight Delight, Ghirardelli 86% Midnight Reverie, Lindt 85% Extra Dark). Individual pre-portioned frozen treats are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth sabotaging your calories for the day. Some of my favorites are: Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom Caramel and Vanilla Swirls ice cream on a stick, Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom Fudge Lites, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt Dark Fudge Swirl cups and Weight Watchers Mini Pot Swirls ice cream cups. Some yummy treats that are not frozen are Fiber One 90 Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Fiber One 90 Chocolate Caramel & Pretzel bars and Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters Dark Chocolate.
3. Make recipe modifications that will not compromise flavor. There are many ways that you can decrease the sugar, fat and overall calories in a homemade dessert without sacrificing the quality. Truvia Baking Blend Natural Sweetener combines Truvia natural sweetener with sugar and contains 75% fewer calories than sugar. It is also available in a brown sugar blend. Cinnamon and vanilla extract are great ways to increase sweetness without added calories. Dessert trifles made with whipped topping, angel food cake and fresh fruit tend to be a little lower in overall calories and sugar than regular desserts. To decrease fat content in recipes applesauce and/or mashed avocado make great substitutions. My favorite sources for dessert recipes are Holly Clegg cookbooks (any of them) and www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com.
Next time your sweet tooth sneaks up on you, be prepared to indulge it wisely without overdoing it. Portion control is key. Choose the right snacks that are big on flavor, sustainability and satisfaction. You’ve got this!
MUSCLE PUNCH SMOOTHIE: (288 cal, 25 g pro)
Ingredients: (1 serving)
1/2 medium or 1 extra-small banana (60 cal, 0 g pro)
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries (20 cal, 0 g pro)
½ 5.3oz container non-fat Greek plain yogurt (1/2 container) (50, 4 g pro)
2 Tbsp. orange juice (15 cal, 0 g pro)
1 tsp. honey (21 cal, 0 g pro)
¼ cup skim milk (22 cal, 2 g pro)
1 scoop protein powder (100 cal, 19 g pro) *I like Sunwarrior or Vega
Ice cubes optional
Place all ingredients in blender.
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
¼ cup orange juice
1 5.3 oz container non-fat Greek plain yogurt
squirt of honey
splash of skim milk
2 scoops protein powder
This smoothie tastes like the Muscle Punch smoothie at Smoothie King. Easy and delicious! Kids and Adults love it!
HEART HEALTHIER CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES*
yield: 13 COOKIES
- ½ cup mashed avocado (from about 1 medium avocado)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt, optional
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup flour
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with silpat baking mats or parchment paper. (These cookies stick, even to the silicone, so if you are not using silicone, be sure to grease your pans.)
- Note on mashing avocado: Place your avocado in a small bowl and mash with a potato masher, then measure out ½ cup. Alternately, if you’re worried about avocado lumps, you can puree the avocado in a food processor, then measure out ½ cup. One medium avocado is about ½ cup mashed.
- Stir avocado and oil in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir in both sugars. Add vanilla, egg, and cocoa and mix until smooth (there may be some lumps from the avocado). Stir in baking soda, salt, oats, and cinnamon. Carefully stir in flour. Dough will be wet.
- At this point you can mix in the chocolate chips and/or walnuts if you’re using them. I pressed chocolate chips on the top of each cookie instead of mixing them in. Either way will work!
- Drop dough by 2 tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minute (mine took 9). Cool before eating.
- You need to use a spatula to remove them from the cookie sheet, they will stick. Best within 2 days.
*recipe from www.crazyforcrust.com
Lori is a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science degree in Nutrition. She specializes in weight loss/management and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She offers a meal plan program that is flexible and can be adapted to fit any lifestyle. This program has all of the tools you need to be successful and delivered right to your door. She is the author of the book, “My Little Black Book for a Healthy Non-Diet Lifestyle”. To purchase a copy of her book visit her website at www.Lori-Gardiner.com. For more information regarding the meal plan program email her at Lorig15@gmail.com. For weekly nutritional updates, “like” her Facebook page at Lori Gardiner or follow her on twitter at LoriGGardiner.
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