Do you have a sweet tooth? We sure do! There’s just something about a delectable, decadent, sweet treat that makes us feel good inside. In fact, certain desserts and sweet snacks have actually been shown to elevate mood! Unfortunately, nothing is 100% good. Sugary foods are often made with less-than-wholesome ingredients that are either artificial or way too potent in excess.
Man-made sweeteners like aspartame and high fructose corn syrup offer little in the way of nutritional value. For that matter, even all-natural cane sugar can be detrimental if it isn’t consumed in moderation. Don’t panic just yet… it’s perfectly okay to indulge every once in a while, but it’s also important to consider what exactly you’re putting into your body, and how much. There are so many processed cakes and cookies and candy bars in the grocery aisles these days, and they tend to be loaded with all sorts of unpronounceable ingredients. Why not try some healthier alternatives to tide you over?
Cacao beans – We’ve written about cacao before. It’s a yummy treat that’s sweet AND healthy. Learn more about all its benefits here.
Fruit – Whenever you’re craving something sweet, go for natural goodness first. Fruit is packed full of sweet flavor due to its naturally-occurring sugars. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of varieties to choose from, and they can be eaten as-is, mixed into salads, cooked and spread on toast, dried for an on-the-go snack, blended into smoothies, and so much more. You should be getting several servings a day anyway, so dig in!
Almond milk – Almonds are packed with vitamins and protein, as well as being slightly naturally sweet in addition to their nutty flavor. When they’re used to make almond milk, you get a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk that offers a little sweetness. You can buy it plain, but it also comes flavored with vanilla or other sweeteners. Check the label to see exactly what’s in your almond milk.
Honey – Instead of loading your tea with a ton of sugar, try some honey instead. You’ll get that same sweet taste with added layers of flavor like wildflower or orange blossom, plus some pretty cool health benefits! Local honey has been shown to help lessen the effects of allergies. It’s also probiotic and anti-fungal, and it’s a well-known remedy for sore throats and coughing. High fructose corn syrup can’t do all that!
Homemade “ice cream” – There are lots of ways to create icy sweet treats during the hot summer months without resorting to downing an entire pint of ice cream. Use blended fruit to create popsicles and ice bars! You can also create a healthy treat by blending bananas and nut butter – and nothing else. The sugars from the banana make it plenty sweet while giving it that creamy texture you love! You can add a little bit of milk if it needs to be creamier.
Next time you get a craving for something sweet, don’t reach for that bag of cookies… try one of these treats instead! It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth AND keep you feeling great.