The following post was written by our Chief Dietitian, Samantha Mark, R.D., C.D.N.!
We all have sweet cravings. Well, don’t deprive yourself!
Surprised? Actually, depriving your cravings could cause you to overeat something that just isn’t as satisfying as that, say, ice cream you’ve been thinking about since lunch. Or you could just end up in a terrible mood. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.
Instead, indulge responsibly. Choose the right foods and monitor your portions, are your craving will have a sweet ending.
So what are the best choices?
It all depends on your craving.
If you’re pining for a carb-based snack, be smart! Complex carbohydrates break down slower and can leave you feeling full for longer. Whole wheat and whole grain bread products will always make a good choice. Popcorn is another whole grain product and it’s now sold in convenient, individually sized bags (the kettle corn flavor is a perfect mixture of sweet and salty). If you find yourself in a rush, this snack can be a quick, satisfying grab.
Another tasty ally? Fruit. It contains natural sugars that may satisfy your sweet tooth–though portion control is still important. Fresh or frozen are both great choices; but avoid purchasing fruit in syrup. Another plus: fruit contains multiple vitamins and minerals for an “affordable” amount of calories. And the fiber in fruit can help you reach your fiber intake goal for the day. Aim for two cups of fruit each day.
Need a new idea? A favorite trick of mine is to melt dark chocolate (just one square) and drizzle it over fresh fruit. Greek yogurt (low fat or fat free) is another sweet choice; it packs a lot of protein so it can also help you feel full.
Fat free chocolate milk (eight ounces) is another quick, delicious snack (and it contains vitamin D and calcium, so you can’t go wrong!). Have a glass after a workout to help replete your body. Fat free chocolate pudding or fat free (or low fat) frozen yogurt are two more yummy options to help you hit that spot.
Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to avoid sweets all together. By observing portion control and selecting lighter choices in between, you can still eat the foods you enjoy without sacrificing your healthy meal plan.