5 healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth
Whether it's a late night craving or a bit of workday stress, having a sweet tooth can be a struggle if you're trying to keep a healthy diet. While a few treats here and there won't completely derail your healthy eating efforts, they aren't something you should have every day. If your need for sweet treats seems like it's too much to overcome, consider swapping the sugar for one of these healthier alternatives.
Banana "ice cream" and frozen yogurt buttons
With a simple recipe and a delicious flavour, the texture of this treat will give you the feeling of eating a luxury ice cream. To make it, all you need to do is freeze a ripe banana (take the peel off before freezing for best results) and then blend it. You can put it in a blender or even feed it through your juicer. The result is a creamy frozen treat that is packed full of nutrients. For a bit of variety, you can add in healthy extras, like a spoonful of chocolate powder or natural peanut butter.
For another frozen treat, try making frozen yogurt buttons. Simply dollop a spoonful of low fat Greek yogurt onto a lined baking tray and pop it in the freezer. You can add a slice of fruit to each one, or enjoy them plain. They are a great, easy to grab snack for a quick treat.
While it's not going to be quite the same as demolishing a box of biscuits, one of the best ways to hit back at sweet cravings is to get active. In many cases, the sweet craving will diminish if you do something to take your mind off it. Going for a walk after a meal can be a great way to end it as an alternative to a heavy dessert, and it has been shown to help fight diabetes.
This is a dessert that your grandparents probably love, and they're right to. Core an apple and let it bake in the oven until it's soft and golden. The result is a caramelised treat that is perfect for an autumn night. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg on the apple before baking for an apple pie flavour without the calories. A baked apple is great with a dollop of Greek yogurt or with a drizzle of honey, too.
Sugar is a quick burst of energy, and your cravings for it might be down to just being hungry. If you aren't keeping a regular schedule of meals and healthy snacks, your blood sugar levels will be all over the place. When it hits a low, you'll naturally go for the quick fix. Instead, try to eat small, regular meals throughout the day. This will help combat unhealthy eating and keep your energy up. If you do find yourself with a sweet craving, try eating a piece of fruit first.
If your need for chocolate just can't be shaken, try opting for the dark stuff. Dark chocolate has been shown to be good for the heart. Your gut's bacteria will convert dark chocolate into powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that are great for heart health. Make your own special dark chocolate treats by melting a bar of dark chocolate, then pouring it out onto a sheet of greaseproof or baking paper. Sprinkle healthy additions, such as sliced almonds and dried blueberries, onto the chocolate while it's still hot. Pop it in the fridge until it's hardened and break it up into small, treat-size pieces.
It might not be possible to completely eliminate cravings for sugary foods, but you can control how you respond to them. Opting for healthy snacks, and incorporating lifestyle changes that will help minimise the cravings in the first place, are a great way to keep your diet on track in spite of your sweet tooth.