Are you dreading the next two months leading up to Christmas because you have a sweet tooth? The displays in shops don’t make it any easier for us nor the images online with tasty recipes of holiday dessert. But what about your body? Let me share with you some practical tips to ease sugar cravings while being true to your usual eating habits:
Quick sugar fix
is to reach out for a piece of fruit or sweet veg. The trick here is that the crunchy textures seem to help satisfy cravings; so choose carrots, beets, apples and persimmons. Fruit that is high in natural sugar also satisfies cravings more quickly—for example, grapes, mangoes and pineapples.
2) Frozen fruits as sorbets
Berries are delicious and when you freeze them, they take on the characteristics of sorbets. Try blueberries (my hubby’s favourite), raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and any combinations. They’re high in fibre and actually low in sugar. A healthy combination of exotic berries is the basis of Kenzen Super Ciaga®, a great replacement for sodas or fizzy drinks when blended with seltzer water.
Watermelon is wonderful as a base for smoothies and other blended beverages. Add some mint or even basil, and it’s scrumptious.
4) Choose healthy sweeteners
Healthy sweeteners include monk fruit and stevia. They have zero calories and none of the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners—that’s why monk fruit is the sweetener in Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix and stevia is in Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix.
5) Dark choc is the secret
Are you a chocoholic? I do too! The good news is that dark chocolate (with 70% or more cocoa) contains healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols. It still contains sugar and fat, so eat a couple of squares and savor it—no bingeing allowed.
6) Have some dates
They’re nutritious and very sweet, naturally. They’re also rich in fiber, potassium, iron and a source of antioxidants. As a dried fruit, they contain a lot of natural sugar, so eat three or four max, not too many.
To keep sugar intake low, here are some habits to develop:
- Read labels! Hidden sugars lurk in unexpected places. For example, packaged instant oatmeal has virtually no fibre but contains lots of sugar and artificial flavouring. Condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce and sweet chili contain a lot of sugar—a single tablespoon of ketchup may contain as much as four grams of sugar, which is about one teaspoon.1
- It may be counterintuitive, but when trying to decrease sugar intake, go for full fat rather than low-fat or non-fat versions of beverages and desserts. This is because low-fat and non-fat drinks and desserts add more sugar to compensate for the lack of fat. Did you know that an 8-ounce coffee made with whole milk and no added sugar contains 2 grams of naturally occurring milk sugar and 18 calories?2 The same amount of a low-fat mocha drink contains 26 grams of added sugar and 160 calories.3
- Minimize consumption of processed foods. Go natural and organic. Processed foods contain 90% of the added sugars in the average American diet.4 For example, one serving, or approximately 128 grams, of canned pasta sauce can contain nearly 11 grams of sugar.5
- Choose nutrient-dense whole foods whenever possible. It takes a little more time, but preparing desserts with dried fruit, nuts and seeds provides healthy fats in addition to fulfilling your sweet tooth.
- Be a good role model for your family. Start your children on an Active Wellness program as soon as they can eat solid food. Mashed roasted yams and mashed bananas are great starter foods.
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