My biggest hurdle in eating healthy comes in the form of dessert. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and honestly have no interest in giving sugar up all together. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures plus I enjoy baking on occasion. Instead, I try to limit myself to one dessert item a week. This makes me really think about what I would like and be more selective when I do indulge. I also try to keep sweets out of the house. I can usually resist buying it at the store much easier than I can when it’s staring at me from the freezer or pantry.
When the cravings do come on, I have a few go-to snacks that usually satisfy them without doing too much damage. Here are my favorites:
- Natural Peanut Butter with Banana or Apple. Peanut butter is a staple in our house. I put it in oatmeal, smoothies, and love it as a snack with fruit. The sweet and salty combo can truly feel decadent without the guilt. I buy Kroger’s natural version that only contains peanuts and salt. Watch out for the added sugar in a lot of your mainstream brands.
- Trail Mix. Not all trail mixes are created equal. While the chocolate filled ones are extremely yummy, this would be categorized on the splurge side. I prefer to make my own with a combo of unsalted mixed nuts and dried fruit. Dried fruit does contain a lot of sugar, so you still want to watch your serving size here. The mix of textures and the healthy fats make this a satisfying and filling option.
- Green Tea. Tea may not be your first thought when a sweet attack hits. Honestly, I have to force this one sometimes. The slight bitterness of the tea somehow alleviates the want for sweet though. Try it, you may be surprised.
- Grapes and Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I remember my dad telling me as a kid that fruit was sweet and I always thought it was a clever ploy to get me to switch out my Nutty Buddy for something healthy. As an adult, I’ve realized that most fruit is quite sweet and there are many choices that will get me through a craving. Red grapes are one of my favorite. I’ll pair them with some cheese for an afternoon or evening snack. Baby loves this combo too!
- LaraBar. Larabars have been a go-to snack or breakfast option for me for years. They contain just a handful of ingredients (all of which I can pronounce) and are perfect to have in my purse to keep hanger at bay. Their chocolate and peanut butter flavor is a wonderful candy bar/brownie substitute. This may be a slight cheat because it does contain chocolate, but much less damaging than the alternative.
- Fage Greek Yogurt. Fage makes my favorite Greek yogurt. There’s something about the texture that separates it from the other brands that I’ve tried. Their split cups offer half creamy yogurt and half sweet fruit. Yes, there’s more sugar than what would be ideal, but the protein in the yogurt makes this a sensible option.
- Smoothies. Smoothies are a regular breakfast and post-workout meal for me. They also work great for that afternoon sweet attack. My go-to recipe is a mix of spinach, frozen fruit, a banana, Greek yogurt, ice, water, and peanut butter. Feeling the need for some caffeine to get you through the last few working hours? Add some coffee and remove the frozen fruit.
- Homemade Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins. I have a serious love for breakfast pastries and I’ve unfortunately never met one that I didn’t like. There’s something so cozy about having a yummy carb-heavy treat with my morning coffee. Homemade ones leave me feeling much more in control as I know how much damage I’m doing and it’s usually much less than store-bought varieties. I shared my favorite recipe for whole wheat muffins in this Friday Favorites post.
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