Sweet Treats Don’t Have to Be Guilty Ones
By: Tara DelloIacono Thies
Got a sweet tooth? Join the club! Our palate’s desire for sweetness is a natural craving. This is not exactly a license to load up on cookies every time your mouth starts to water, however. Too much sugar (especially highly processed kinds like high-fructose corn syrup) is linked to a number of health problems, including high cholesterol and weight gain, so it’s best not to overdo it. But there’s no need to deny your cravings either. In fact, there are plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt.
Get Your Fix with Fruit
Candy, ice cream, and baked goods aren’t your only options when you have a hankering for a treat. Fresh fruit is Mother Nature’s way of serving dessert. Fruits are more than just naturally sweet; they also provide the added healthy bonus of fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals your body needs, like vitamin C and potassium.
But sometimes when you’re craving chocolate, an apple just won’t do. Rather than passing on the fruit altogether, why not combine it with a richer indulgence? Dipping a banana in melted chocolate or mixing fruit and nuts with chocolate chips can satisfy your craving with more nutrition and less regret.
Go Ahead and Be Decadent . . . in Moderation
Let’s face it, sometimes your grandma’s double fudge brownies are too delicious to pass up. A good rule of thumb is to pick a couple of times a week to enjoy your favorite treat. By watching portion sizes and making “brownie night” a special event, you’ll be less likely to overindulge.
Other Ways to Fulfill the Craving
Did you have your treat last night but still can’t stop thinking about apple pie? Sometimes a stick of gum is all you need to distract yourself from unnecessary eating. Or maybe your apple pie fantasies are merely a sign that you’re bored. Going out for a walk or focusing on some other engaging activity can also steer your mind away from a craving that you just can’t shake.
Finally, choosing snacks that give you a sweet kick combined with ingredients that are good for you is a great way to fulfill cravings healthfully. LUNA bars, for example, come in delicious flavors like Chocolate Dipped Coconut and Peanut Honey Pretzel, but they also include the “Core 4” nutrients essential to women’s health: calcium, iron, folic acid, and vitamin D. Now, how sweet is that?
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