Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nutrition: Sweet Tooth

I have a terrible sweet tooth. I know it is my downfall. I love sweets, fruits, and most of the time I just don't feel my dinner is complete until I eat something sweet.

There are foods that are sweet and yet pack a healthy punch. I'm trying to utilize more of these and fewer less healthy ones.

It has taken time to adjust to not having chocolate at the end of the day, not even in fun size.

While unhealthy snacks are still treats on occasion, I am trying to eat them in considerable moderation. If I feel like ice cream, I get the '1/2 the fat' kind, and have one scoop with peaches to fill the rest of my bowl. I may divide cookies in half and share with others. I choose fun size candy over a full size bar. Again, this is sparingly.

Instead, I have found a few sweet, but healthy snacks.

  • Dried berries
  • Plain animal crackers
  • Fruit
  • Some granola bars, even with chocolate (I look for ones with a good amount of protein)
  • Hot cocoa
  • Fruit smoothie with low fat vanilla yogurt (I like to freeze it and eat it with a spoon, making scrapings) (what?) (Yeah, okay, it's a sensory thing.)
  • String cheese and frozen grapes
  • Yogurt and banana
  • Peanut butter and apples
  • Warm pear half and cinnamon 
Just watch your serving sizes.

This blog post from Daily Hiit on Ways to Crush Your Sweet Tooth is helpful. It highlights that many times when your body craves sugar, it is saying it needs energy or water.
Many times lack of protein in your diet can contribute to sugar cravings as the body looks for a quick energy source. Adding protein to every meal ensures that the body always has fuel to access and maintains a steady blood sugar level, preventing any spikes and crashes.

Steady blood sugar helps your moods, not just your cravings. Bonus!

Rule of thumb for snacks that keep you going and keep your metabolism up: 10g of protein and 5g of fiber.

Using MyFitnessPal is one way to keep track of your protein, calories, and sugar intake. It is not very accurate, but at least it is something to keep you thinking about what you put in your body. If you can journal, keep a dairy of your food, what time you ate it, what you crave and when, and how many calories, fat, protein, fiber, and sugars per serving. This is not something I have done. I like that MyFitnessPal will keep the data for me, even if it is not entirely accurate. Just thinking about it helps keep your diet goals in mind.

The easiest thing to do is to simply not buy the sweet snacks. If they aren't in your cupboards, you can't eat them. There will not be temptation. We give ourselves and the kids crackers, pretzels, animal crackers, fruits, string cheese, and peanut butter on whole wheat bread. I am in love with hummus and pita chips, in case I haven't mentioned that before. :) I switched to Kashi bars instead of Chewy bars. They cost more, but I am investing in my body.

I have been instilling that thought into my husband's brain.. that groceries may cost more, if they are better for us. Investing in ourselves is worth it!

33 more snack ideas (less healthy and more chocolatey than mine) Some other snacks under 50 calories if you like applesauce or jello

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