Healthy Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
You don’t have to deny your cravings for sweets to live a healthy lifestyle. Just commit to change the way you “do” sweet.
Cravings for sweets are extremely common. In fact, up to 97% of women and 68% of men report experiencing some sort of food craving, including sugar cravings.
Those experiencing a sugar craving feel a strong urge to eat something sweet and can find it difficult to control themselves around food.
This can lead to binge eating or over-consumption of calories, leading to a habit on a regular basis.
Do You Know?
Sleep deprivation and stress are major reasons for sweet tooth.
Your body goes into survival mode during sleep. Unconsciously, your brain craves a sweet treat to beat stress and overcome lack of sleep with a quick burst of energy and happiness.
There is a direct relationship between quality of sleep, duration, and diet. Sleep deprivation causes imbalance in hunger hormones (called ghrelin and leptin) leading to an increased desire for foods high in fat and sugar.
Dehydration is also a common cause of sugar cravings. A lack of fluid can make it difficult for organs like liver to release glycogen (stored glucose) and other components of your energy stores.
This, triggers sweet cravings. Therefore, hydrate yourself regularly.
Let’s unwrap the secrets of how to break the habit and keep up with your healthy eating.
1. Grab healthy alternatives: -
Nothing swaps the sugars found in nature's candy - fresh and seasonal fruits.
It contains natural sugar with fibre, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds beneficial for health.
Grab your fruit: Mangoes, watermelons, grapes, banana, oranges, sweet lime and berries.
- Pick a fruit, make a smoothie of your choice.
- Add dates or dried figs for natural sweetness.
- Sprinkle with chia seeds or flax seeds or pumpkin seeds for an extra boost of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.
An excellent nutritious choice to combat your sweet tooth!
2. Trail mix – Smart choice: -
Trail mix is designed to be an ideal snack for any kind of food cravings.
It is light, easy to store/carry and nutritious. Provides a quick energy boost from the carbohydrates in the dried fruit or granola and sustained energy from good fats in nuts.
An exact combination of ingredients can vary, but handful of trail mix can make a great choice for sweet tooth.
- Prepare a combo of dry fruits and nuts with pistachios, almonds, raisins, dates, dried figs and so on.
- Choose your favourite from your kitchen (dried fruits & nuts) and make a quick trail mix.
A sweet, healthy snack for sweet tooth without an energy crash!
3. Energy bars and Granola: -
If you are craving for a sweet, look for energy bars made with whole grains/oats and sweetened with fresh or dried fruit, rather than table sugar.
Energy bars made with whole foods, jaggery and natural sweetener (dried fruits) are healthy options.
Granola bars are convenient and healthy snack with their flavour and versatility. It is also a good source of fibre and protein to help curb cravings between meals.
- First, stir together the wet ingredients – the cashews/almonds or peanut butter, honey/jaggery and dried fruits.
- Then fold in the dry ingredients – the oats, rice flakes, puffed rice, etc.
- Next press the bars into a parchment-lined baking pan and cool them.
Be cautious while choosing your snack bars. Check for added sugars, fat and calories!
4. Dark Chocolate: -
Dark chocolate contains more than 70% cocoa and healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols.
Swap regular chocolate with few pieces of dark chocolate, which contains less sugar and high antioxidant properties.
- Select fruits of your choice, can be whole or sliced fruits.
- Melt dark chocolates in a pan.
- Dip your choice of fruit in the melted chocolate or drizzle the chocolate on the sliced fruits.
Real sweet craving is satisfied!
5. Yogurt: -
Yogurt is a healthy snack with high protein and rich in calcium.
Studies have suggested that yogurt could be a good snack to help regulate your appetite and control your cravings.
- Yogurt with fruit dips is an excellent option.
- Flavoured yogurt without added sugars is a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Provides natural sweetness and curbs cravings!
6. Sweet Potatoes: -
Sweet potatoes are nutritious, sweet and very filling.
They contain mostly carbs but also fibre and numerous vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, C and potassium.
Sweet potato cutlets and wraps.
Baked sweet potato fries.
Rich in natural sugars and helps to satiate the cravings!
Additionally, indulge in smart ways such as home-made sweets made with jaggery (nutritious ladoos – til/sesame, mixed nuts, roasted green gram, millets).
Swap some of your sugar-filled treats with healthy alternatives and be guilt-free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Indu Vaishnavi R, Dietician