People often ask me if I have a sweet tooth or not, and I wish I had an answer. The fact is, I love it all: sweet, salty, sour, creamy, you name it. This has proven to be quite inconvenient for me in the past when it comes to health and wellness… I mean, throw me in a Bulk Barn and I can easily spend $50.
While I’ve found a number of healthier alternatives to salty snacks (more on that in another post!), finding satisfyingly sweet alternatives was a bit more challenging. After all, many store-bought candies are loaded with chemicals with flavours that simply can’t be matched by natural foods.
Nonetheless, the following items are sure to help you with that sweet tooth, without compromising your health!
I both bless and curse the day that I was introduced to Medjool dates; I love these things a little too much. In case you’ve never heard of them, Medjool dates are mainly grown in Morocco and some parts of the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Don’t let their unappetizing appearance fool you; they’re known for their delicious sweetness and caramel-like taste.
The fact that there are no added sugars in Medjool dates make them a much healthier alternative to packaged sweets. That being said, don't go eating 20 at a time; just one of these bad boys packs about 70 calories! (Eat three and that’s 210 calories!!) What’s more is that about 98% of its content comes from carbohydrates, specifically sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. One date contains almost 16g of sugar!
Despite their high carbohydrate content, dates have added health benefits over packaged sweets; one date has nearly 2g of fibre and is a great source of potassium and copper. They also contain zero fat.
A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that despite the high sugar content of Medjool dates, they have great antioxidant properties and do not contribute to increasing one’s body mass index, glucose patterns, or cholesterol levels.
NOTE: If willpower isn’t enough to stop you from mowing down Medjool dates by the box, the price tag might be; one box of Medjool dates is about $10 - $15!
Fruit is said to be nature’s candy, and I couldn’t agree more! Since most fruits are considered “simple carbs” due to their glucose and fructose content, I don’t usually encourage people to eat more than three servings a day if they’re trying to lose weight. But fruit contains fibre, water, and phytonutrients that are all great for your health, making them a WAY better alternative to packaged goods. I particularly like green grapes when I’m craving something sweet, and I’ve heard that some people love to put them in the freezer first for a refreshing yet deliciously sweet snack!
3. Dark chocolate
I’m a sucker for milk chocolate, but the texture and taste of dark chocolate makes me feel satisfied while providing some added health benefits. In addition to its antioxidant properties, dark chocolate helps your gastrointestinal tract by feeding the good bacteria in your gut. As such, your body uses it as a source of energy “to produce anti-inflammatory molecules that are good for cardiovascular health,” according to the academic journal Gastrointestinal Nursing. Just make sure you’re eating dark chocolate that is at least 72% dark chocolate.
4. Ice cream, the healthy way!
It’s super easy to make your own sorbet or ice cream at home. Simply blend up a frozen banana with some almond, soy, or cashew milk a bit of vanilla and voila, you’re done! Plus, you can easily experiment with other flavours; throw in some coco powder, coconut flakes, or peanut butter for some other flavour varieties!
5. Combine #2 & #3
Why not try dipping fruit slices in dark chocolate? Chocolate-covered strawberries or bananas are absolutely scrumptious, and they’ll help you get a dose of sweetness sans all the chemicals and other garbage.
6. Herbal tea and honey
There are a bunch of amazing fruity herbal teas out there that have amazing antioxidant properties. Stir in a bit of all-natural, non-pasteurized honey and you have yourself a sweet little drink that not only provides health benefits but satisfies that sweet tooth of yours!
The Bottom Line
Everything on this list has added health benefits that packaged sweets simply do not. That certainly doesn’t mean I want you to go gorging on a box of Medjool dates (which I’ve OBVIOUSLY never done………) but having something from this list when your sweet tooth is begging for attention won’t kill you! Don’t forget to eat mindfully whenever you’re indulging; the more you focus on those delicious flavours, the less likely you are to overeat!
You Tell Me!
What healthy snack satisfies your sweet tooth? Let me know in the comments below!