Healthy Sweet Treats – Tips and tricks
What if you could satisfy your sweet tooth while curbing cravings and suppressing your appetite? This might sound too good to be true, but believe it or not there are actually foods that do just that! By choosing your sweet treats wisely, you’ll find the balance of having a sweet treat without sabotaging your diet plan.
Flavor is your friend
Strong flavor ingredients like lemon, bitter dark chocolate and cinnamon add a depth that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Bonus, they can help curb cravings too. Dark chocolate and lemon are considered palate cleansers, meaning they help “reset” your tastebuds. This can reduce cravings for a counter flavor of whatever we just ate. For example, you might notice you crave something salty after having sweets and vice versa. Cinnamon is a natural appetite suppressant. It’s rich, and mildly spicy flavor is a great addition to fruit dishes. Pairing the appetite suppressing qualities of cinnamon with a fiber-rich food like fruit creates a sweet dish. It will keep you feeling full longer and help maintain a steady blood sugar.
Dark chocolate, lemon and cinnamon are common dessert ingredients and while they each have great qualities, be conscious of the added fat and sugar in dessert items. A good practice is to create a list of your “go-to” sweet treats. A good place to start is by brainstorming a few that include the above ingredients. For example, one or two squares of rich dark chocolate, ¼ cup of lemon sorbet or a dash of cinnamon with cottage cheese. Build upon the idea that you want to choose dessert items that are rich in flavor and contain fiber or protein.
Prepare for success
If you know that desserts and sweet treats are often your downfall and feel that it is best to avoid them altogether you might find that this practice actually leads you to overindulge once you allow yourself some wiggle room. Prepare for success by keeping your healthy “go-to” sweets on hand. You should consider the recipes and tricks below to help satisfy your cravings and stay on track.
Start with Fruit
Fruit is naturally sweet, low calorie and contains fiber as well as other important nutrients. Keep fruit on hand as a refreshing mid day snack or evening treat.
Add a warm beverage like hot tea or decaf coffee
Enjoying a warm beverage with dessert can actually help you eat slower. Try adding decaf tea or coffee with your evening dessert and take sips in between each bite. Consider these tasty combos: Lemon lift tea with 5 vanilla wafer cookies, apple cinnamon tea with yogurt or decaf chai with 2 squares of dark chocolate.
Use a smaller utensil
You can find small dessert or appetizer spoons and forks at most restaurant or kitchen stores. Consider using a smaller utensil when enjoying a rich dish like mousse or ice cream. This will help you eat slower and feel equally satisfied by half the amount that you might typically eat.
Portion control your sweet treats
Similar to other meals, portion control is a crucial part of following a healthy diet. Avoid eating sweet treats from the container and review the serving size and nutrition information before starting to indulge.