Many looking to make better lifestyle choices first aspire to “cut out” sugars and sweets from their everyday diets. Although it’s true that many Americans could benefit from cutting back on sugar, it would be difficult to omit it from the diet completely. Plus, doing so doesn’t sound like much fun at all, does it? Decreasing sugar intake in a more realistic and less restrictive way serves as a better recipe for long-term success.
Instead of strictly eliminating sweets or “guilty foods,” acknowledge that occasionally enjoying treats can actually be healthy! This discussion centers around the topics of balance and mindfulness. Together, these two forces combat the restrictive or overindulgent mindset that sometimes focuses on sweets, while opening the door to enjoying all foods with healthy boundaries.
However, if the hankering for that sweet fix happens mid-day on the daily, instead of occasionally, consider satisfying that sweet tooth with whole foods that pack a burst of natural sweetness. These whole foods contribute the added benefits of fiber, protein and trace minerals, which enhance your nutrient intake and promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction. Let me introduce you to a few favorites that might just do the trick in kicking your sweet tooth to the curb without derailing your health goals.
If you haven’t tried dates before, they might surprise you. Their “stickiness” and texture is similar to raisins and prunes, however they are much larger and contain an indigestible pit on the inside. For an easy snack, slice open a few, remove the pit and insert a nut — an almond works perfectly — and they’re ready to pack or eat!
As if fruit wasn’t sweet enough, baking them enhances their sweetness factor even further. Try grilling fruit or baking them on a sheet pan with coconut oil. Stone fruits such as apples and pears are great baked with a pinch of cinnamon or drizzle of honey.
Oatmeal with Maple Syrup
Though this combo may seem like more of a health food than a sweet tooth cure, you’ll find that the warmth and sweetness of oats and syrup is an ultimate comforter. If you’re looking for a sweet, warm and nourishing meal, consider this. With instant oats, it can be made in minutes!
Black Tea with Honey
A craving for sweets might actually signify a craving for energy. For a healthy pick me up with a little sweetness added, try this combo. A cozy, comfort drink with less caffeine than coffee and the added benefit of hydration.