If you are anything like me and most people I know for that matter - you likely have some form of a sweet tooth. Mine usually hits right after lunchtime in the afternoon when I'm starting to lose steam for the day and will-power for that matter. This is usually the time that most of us reach for that little something sweet. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing it can lead to many of us choosing the wrong types of sweet snacks that are often filled with sugar and artificial sweeteners. Believe it or not though there are things out there that we can reach for that will satisfy your cravings and are healthy to boot.
Here are my top tips for satisfying that sweet tooth with healthy alternatives:
1. H20 - Stay hydrated! I know this isn't a sweet but staying hydrated can often help keep all cravings at bay so before grabbing for something sweet try reaching for a full glass of water first. (if you are still craving something sweet please proceed to tips 2-5 :))
2. Tea- My go to afternoon sweet treat is a cup of green tea, with a splash of unsweetened almond milk and a little bit of honey. Adding the nut milk and honey give it a certain richness that feels more fulfilling. If you don't like green tea try it with other teas such as peppermint, black teas or herbal teas. A favorite of mine as of late has been a turmeric ginger tea which has a great natural sweetness. In the summer it's great to pour some tea over ice and if you need that extra sweet boost - add a little raw honey or pure maple syrup.
3. Dark Chocolate - this is an absolute favorite of mine. I usually keep a few bars at home of 80% or higher - 85% is my sweet spot (pun intended). This way when I do get a sweet tooth this is one of the only things I have in the kitchen to reach for. It's not only tasty but it's healthy for you as well and filled with antioxidants! I recommend the higher % you can handle the better - insider tip: Trader Joe's sells a delicious 85% bar that I always keep stocked at home and it's only $2 a bar.
4. Fruit - Fruit is always a great sweet snack to turn to as long as you aren't eating too much of it a day - which can lead to too much sugar intake. Try grabbing for an apple or a handful berries to help keep sweet, sugary cravings at bay. If you prefer bananas, try limiting those to 1 a day at most because of all fruits they are highest in fructose.
5. Nut butters - Nut butters are naturally a bit sweet due to their nature (especially cashew butter). A heaping spoonful of nut butter (almond, cashew) is not only pretty filling but delicious as well! You can even slice up your apple and dip it in the nut butter for an extra tasty and satisfying afternoon snack or post dinner dessert - up your game and dip your dark chocolate squares in it!
I hope these tips have been helpful. Remember to give yourself and your body time to adjust to cutting out sweets. For example when I started to cut out refined sugars nothing tasted sweet enough to me but now that I've virtually eliminated them from of my diet - things like 85% dark chocolate taste very sweet to me now. Even my husband who always preached how nothing could beat milk chocolate has become a dark chocolate convert. Your taste buds will learn to slowly adjust so don't get frustrated and try to stick with it. Your body will thank you!