One of the biggest struggles I hear girls talk about when moving to a healthy diet is: how do you kick those sweet tooth cravings? There is that mid afternoon crash where it feels like it’s impossible to not reach for that chocolate bar or sweet treat. I know what’s it’s like as trust me I’ve been there before. However moving onto a healthier diet doesn’t mean you need to give up all those yummy sweet foods. There are so many great alternatives you can swap to that can definitely satisfy any sweet tooth and here are some of my tips for kicking those sweet tooth cravings to the curb.
Remove sugar from your diet
One of the biggest reasons why we crave sweet things is because these days sugar is in everything. Even the foods you would least suspect have sugar in them. Most of our sweet tooth cravings are actually coming from an addiction to sugar. Studies now show sugar is just as addictive, as drugs like cocaine. So with it in all of our food it’s no surprise we feel like sweet stuff all the time. One of the best ways to get be able to get that sweet tooth under control is to kick sugar to the curb. Now if you are thinking I don’t add sugar into my food, start reading ingredients labels and you’ll soon start to see it popping in everywhere. Here are some common foods that have sugar in it that you may not be aware of:
- Pre made salad dressings
- Sauces including tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, pasta sauce and any of your pre made packet stir fry sauces
- Baked beans
- Savoury crackers
- “Healthy” muesli
- Instant flavoured oats
The list really could go on. So the first step in helping to manage your sweet tooth is to get rid of processed sugar in all of your diet. Look in your pantry now and have a look at the ingredient list of foods you eat. I think you might be in for a surprise where sugar is sneaking into your daily diet. So rather then using pre packaged foods to flavor your meals start looking at some other alternatives, like fresh herbs, tamari and spices. You can easily make your own homemade pasta sauces or baked beans from fresh or canned tomatoes. Once you start to remove these sugar-laden foods from your diet, your sugar cravings should dramatically decrease. It can be hard at first and don’t be surprised if you get some withdrawal symptoms to begin with.
Find healthy replacements
Even once you do remove the processed sugar from your diet, doesn’t mean you still won’t want some sweet treats. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a nice treat every now and again, I know I certainly do. Whilst you can still treat yourself (so long as you let it be a treat and not a daily habit) there are some amazing healthier alternatives you can have to replace those not so healthy things like desserts, baking and chocolate. Here are some of my favourite healthier alternatives:
Replace chocolate with raw cacao
You may have heard me talk about raw cacao before in my favorite super foods post but I’m going to mention it again. Raw cacao is the unprocessed and unrefined version of cacao. You can buy it in this form from any health food store or health section in your supermarket. The best thing about raw cacao is because it’s unprocessed all the good minerals from the cacao plant are still intact. It’s got a super rich flavor and when you add it into your healthy baking or healthy smoothies you will literally feel like you are having a chocolate treat. You can even make your own home made chocolate with coconut oil, raw cacao and then a healthier sweetener like stevia, dates or rice malt syrup.
Replace traditional baking with healthier recipes
I love to make up a big batch of healthy muffins where I use things like almond meal to replace processed flour, and honey or stevia to sweeten them. I’ve got a great healthy muffin recipe, which I included in my favourite healthy snacks post recently. The Internet is not short of any recipes for healthy cakes, slices or muffins so if you want to get baking there are plenty of recipes out there to try. Remember though these are still a treat, so just because they are healthier doesn’t mean you can go crazy eating them all the time.
Replace lollies with fresh or frozen fruit
If you are a lolly addict then switch this out to fruit. Tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and watermelon are so deliciously healthy and are so sweet. Best thing too they don’t leave you with a huge sugar crash after eating them. When it’s berry season, I buy up in bulk of fresh blueberries and raspberries put them in the freezer and then just eat them straight from there. Fruit does still contain natural sugars so whilst it’s a great replacement please still eat in moderation.
Replace dessert with nana ice cream or fresh fruit sorbet
I always have a big plastic container in my freezer with chopped up banana in it. If you have a good blender, then chuck in some frozen banana, either almond or coconut milk and then what ever flavouring you want for ice cream. Some of my favourite, is raspberry banana nana ice cream, or raw cacao and almond butter nana ice cream. Best thing about this, you wouldn’t even know you are eating something healthy.
Now please bear in mind that even whilst these are healthier alternatives, they are still a treat. So just because it’s labeled as healthier doesn’t mean you should be eating large quantities of them. Also don’t always believe the products at the supermarket that are labeled as healthy sweet treats. A lot of these contain artificial sweeteners and other nasty fillers and additives that aren’t at all good for you. I’m going to be sharing some awesome recipes on the blog soon, so stay tuned or sign up to my newsletter.