By: Crystal Fernandez – Staff Writer
Chocolate, and pastries, and ice cream, oh my!
Let’s face it: sweets are just too good to pass up. Sometimes you can’t help but satisfy a sweet tooth. For some, it’s an every night occurrence, but we all know that a daily sweet tooth can be dangerous for your health and figure. Sugar isn’t just empty calories. The consequence of indulging goes deeper than that. Consuming sweets spikes your insulin levels, which may cause you to store excess fat. Luckily, there is a solution that will help you get your sugar fix and fend off weight gain. Try these easy nine swaps that will satisfy your sweet tooth and allow you to enjoy guilt-free indulgence.
1.Chocolate-dipped strawberries: Whoever said chocolate should be eliminated from your diet, never had a chocolate covered strawberry. Skip the Nutella and try a dark chocolate to coat your favorite fruits. You’ll get the taste of chocolate, but it won’t be enough to make a significant impact. Most of the bulk of the dessert is a fruit. You can also dip other fruits in chocolate as well. Bananas and apples are a couple of tasty favorites. Satisfying your sweet tooth and getting your daily fruit servings in? Sounds like a sweet deal.
2.Fruit salad: Fruits are naturally sweet and make an excellent choice for those who are trying to watch their weight and satisfy their sweet tooth at the same time. A single piece might be unsatisfying. But by making a fruit salad and mixing up several different types of fruits, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of tastes and textures. If you’re cooking for yourself, cut up the fruit and keep each fruit in an individual storage container to avoid an odd combination of flavors. Fruit is delicious and juicy, but most importantly, it contains natural sugar.
3.Dark Chocolate: Unlike milk chocolate and white chocolate, dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and can help prevent tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression. Dark chocolate is still a high calorie food, so you shouldn’t eat a lot of it, but there is definitely a place for dark chocolate in a healthy diet. Have a square or two of dark chocolate each day to beat your sugar cravings. For those of you Panthers that are old enough, the greatest way to unwind at the end of the day is a glass of red wine and a square of dark chocolate. Your sweet tooth will thank you.
4.Sugar free pudding: Whether you buy the pre-made packs or make your own, pudding can be an excellent way to satisfy a chocolate craving. A cup of sugar free pudding will count towards your dairy requirement, making this a versatile dessert.
5.Yogurt parfait: Nope, I don’t mean the sugar-loaded parfaits at your nearest campus coffee shop. When you get a craving for a yummy creamy treat, personalize your parfait at home. Using plain yogurt, fruits and granola, you can make a tasty parfait. Simply layer the different items in a tall glass. Remember, though, that a single serving of granola is quite small. Double check on the box to make sure that you are not adding more than one serving or calories will quickly add up.
6.Baked apples: Ever heard of “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away?” Well, while you’re keeping the doctor away, add some fun to your daily apple. You can even sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg on them. Try coring some apples and stuffing them with additional fruits, such as raisins for an extra blast of taste
7. Frozen Popsicles: The next time you’re in the mood for a frozen treat, try a good old-fashioned popsicle. You can make your own fruit popsicle by blending your favorite fruits and then freezing them in a popsicle mold. If you don’t have a popsicle mold, fill paper cups halfway with your blended fruit mixture and then add wooden craft sticks before freezing. You can also make frozen yogurt popsicles with the remains of your healthy fruit and yogurt smoothies, or purchase all fruit popsicles from any grocery store. These treats are usually about 60 percent water depending on your customization, so enjoy
The next time you get that sugar craving, don’t stress about it. Simply put down the snickers bar and choose one of these equally delicious alternatives to replace those high calorie treats. There is no reason to make unhealthy choices when you’ve got so many options at your fingertips.