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Sweet cravings can make following a healthy diet seem overwhelming and difficult. The strong cravings can cloud your judgment and lead to making poor decisions that only affect your health. Sugars not found naturally in fruit and vegetables increase your risk of developing type two diabetes, obesity, depression, and possibly dementia later in life.
The increased inflammation caused by sugar can affect your blood flow that prevents your organs and systems from getting proper oxygen and nutrients—ultimately shorting your life expectancy and enjoyment in life. However, these sweet cravings don’t need to destroy your confidence or success. Many alternatives make it easy to cope with as you don’t need to avoid the cravings altogether. You just need to find and make the right swaps to your favorite sweets.
The following are four heart-healthy swaps for common sweet cravings:
Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen bananas, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, infused fruit water are all great choices to cure a sweet tooth. However, you may not realize how sweet that tomato is until you try it as a snack instead of something processed and store-bought.
If you crave ice cream and other creamy fares, enjoying Greek yogurt is a great way to stop the sweet craving. Most store-bought yogurt is very high in sugar. You’re better off using it as a topping. Start with ½ cup cut-up fruit, a handful of nuts, and top with 1/4 cup Greek yogurt. You can even freeze the concoction to make it even more ice cream-like.
Raw Nuts and Seeds
Instead of chips and dip, consider snacking on raw nuts and seeds. The trick with eating these snacks is to make them part of another snack, so you don’t overeat. For example, make a “banana split” by using ½ a banana, 1 TBS crushed nuts, a couple of tablespoons of vanilla yogurt, and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate for a healthy and scrumptious snack.
As with most things, everything is good in moderation, including dark chocolate. So when you have a chocolate craving, reach for the darkest chocolate you can tolerate and just use about an inch square or a few chips in each serving. A little goes a long way. Use it as a topping for fruit, and it’ll go a long further.
Overall, sweet cravings no longer need to be ignored with these healthy swaps. Fruits and vegetables, packed full of sugars and other nutrients, will curb your cravings and make you feel energized over time. Other treats, such as dark chocolate, walnuts, cashews, and frozen Greek yogurt, make the perfect swaps for moments of weakness and when you need options beyond fruit. So curb your sweet cravings by adding these heart-healthy swaps to your diet today.
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