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Smart Substitutions: Sweet Cravings

Jan 15, 2013

Eating healthy does not mean that you must eliminate all sweets from your diet. You just have to be smart about how you satisfy your sweet tooth. It's normal to gravitate towards sweetness; the problem is that most of the options sold in stores are highly processed and made with granulated sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. We were never meant to consume such intensely sweet products. If you are used to eating these, your taste buds may be out of sync with the subtle sweetness from more natural sources. Give yourself a little time to adjust and you'll find you don't need all that sugar after all.

Eat This

Not That

Dark Chocolate

Milk Chocolate Bar


Look for 70% or higher cocoa content in dark chocolate. More cocoa means less sugar. The cocoa found in chocolate bars is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids (good stuff!). It's the addition of too much sugar and dairy that give chocolate bars a bad reputation.

The typical milk chocolate bar is loaded with sugar and milk fat. Look at the ingredient list and you'll often see sugar listed first. A good chocolate bar should have chocolate as the main ingredient.

Medjool Date

Caramel


Chewy, gooey, and super-sweet, dates are nature's candy. They taste especially caramel-like out of the freezer. Be sure to remove the pit in the middle.

medjool_dates.jpg

Chewy and full of sugar, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors, caramels are simply junk food. No fiber or minerals to be found in these little wrapped squares.

Banana Ice Cream

Ice Cream


Freeze very ripe bananas, and then blend them in a food processor with a splash of non-dairy milk. Maybe toss in some peanut butter or cocoa powder for an all-natural, healthy bowl of soft serve.

High in sugar and calories while low in nutrients, standard ice cream will not satisfy your hunger for very long. Even the frozen yogurts and "light" versions contain sugar as a main ingredient.

Stevia (in coffee)

Sugar

If you like your coffee or tea sweet but want to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, try stevia. Derived from a plant, it provides a sweet taste with no calories.

Regular sugar provides nothing but empty calories - and they can add up quickly. Try gradually reducing the amount you add until you acclimate to a less sweet drink. Or better yet: try the stevia.

Fresh Fruit

Sugary Candy


Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, kiwi, oranges, apples, etc... There are no bad fruits out there. Don't worry about the natural sugar found in fruit; it's what we were meant to eat. Fruits are naturally sweet, and they provide fiber along with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to keep you full and help protect you from disease. Make it a point to buy and eat fruit daily.

fresh_fruit.jpg

Jelly beans, gummy bears, Skittles, Hot Tamales, Swedish Fish... Whatever poison you choose, they are all nothing but sugar and artificial ingredients. They may taste good, but ask yourself if you really want to be putting that into your body. Your body deserves to be treated better than that. Break the sugar candy habit by incorporating fresh fruits into your diet.


Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. If you would be interested in working with Corinne one-on-one, sign-up for FitDay Dietitian.

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