Nutrition Articles

Smarter Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Simple Tips for Mastering Your Sugar Cravings

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Make sensible sweet swaps. Many people tend to crave sweets in the afternoon, after dinner and before bed. If your sweet tooth regularly strikes mid-day or late at night, then choose healthy snacks (around 150 calories) that not only satisfy your craving but also have nutritional value. And if you simply must have something sweet after dinner, then choose a dessert that’s naturally low in calories—and preferably homemade. Here are 10 smart options:
  1. If you’re craving a rich chocolate dessert, satisfy the craving with this chocolate mousse, made with Greek yogurt, at 150 calories (vs. 380 for regular mousse).
     
  2. Instead of a large slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (which packs 350 calories), go for a piece of light and flavorful chocolate cherry angel food cake at just 105 calories per serving.
     
  3. If you’re dying for a brownie, try this homemade brownie recipe packed with black beans (you’ll never know they’re there), whole grains and dried fruit, with just 146 calories, 6 g fiber, just 3 g of fat per serving.
     
  4. If you HAVE to have a piece of cheesecake, make it a piece of homemade light classic cheesecake, made with low-fat cottage cheese and fat-free yogurt. You’ll spend 263 calories (vs. about 400 for standard cheesecake).
     
  5. If you need to nibble, take caution: nibbly sweets like M&Ms can be dangerously easy to eat mindlessly. Instead, make a healthy-sweet cereal trail mix. Combine 1 cup of bite-sized whole grain cereal (frosted wheat squares or oatmeal squares), 1/4 cup of dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips; one 1/2-cup serving has 130 calories.
     
  6. If you love yogurt, watch out for the super sweetened or ''lite'' products, which can pack a lot of calories or artificial ingredients. Instead, make your own fruited yogurt. Try 1/2 cup of nonfat Greek-style yogurt with 1 teaspoon of honey or real fruit preserves, for about 100 calories.
     
  7. If you’re craving something sweet and frosty, skip the high-calorie frozen coffee drinks (a Starbucks Grande Iced White Chocolate Mocha has 450 calories) and whip up a quick smoothie, instead: Blend 5 frozen strawberries, 4 ounces of nonfat plain yogurt, 1/3 cup skim milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar, and you have a nutritious snack that packs 150 calories and 10g of protein.
     
  8. If you love fruity candy, try homemade fruit leather instead of fruit-flavored hard candy.
     
  9. If you’re craving a candy bar, indulge your craving by eating a sensible portion of chocolate instead of gobbling a bar loaded with nuts and caramel. Choose antioxidant-rich dark chocolate; two squares of Ghirardelli dark chocolate have just 115 calories.
     
  10. If you have a taste for salty-sweet peanut butter, recognize that your body probably could use a bit of protein, so forget the peanut butter crackers or peanut candy. Instead, spread 1 Tablespoon of natural nut butter on half of a sliced apple. You’ll get protein and fiber in addition to about 150 calories.
 

Sources
 
Cleveland Clinic. ''Heart-Health Benefits of Chocolate Unveiled,'' accessed May 2012. http://my.clevelandclinic.org.
 
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. ''Gain weight by ''going diet?'' Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings,'' accessed May 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
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About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

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