Craving something sweet, but don't want the added pounds? Here are eight ways to satisfy that sweet tooth, and still eat healthy
Though winter leaves us with a dearth of fresh, in-season fruit, citrus is still going strong. These treats are at their sweetest and juiciest this time of the year, so reach for the easy-peel option for a great grab-and-go snack loaded with vitamin C.
A sweet treat to start your day, with enough fiber and protein to keep you going until lunch. Use some frozen berries for a taste of summer (since they are picked in season, they usually taste better).
There’s no need to cut out all your sweet favorites, but if portion control is your problem then make it easy on yourself with all the new mini-options on the market. From ice cream to baked goods, you can get all of the taste, but none of the calorie guess-work. Aim for pre-portioned treats with 200 calories or less
Look for no-sugar-added options that have the natural sweetness of fruit, but are easy to store and have on hand for snacking. Try stirring some dried fruit into oatmeal, tossing some into an unsweetened cereal, or make a trail mix with nuts and chocolate chips. (Choose dried fruit without the preservative sulphur dioxide, which may be harmful for people with allergies, and children, especially those with asthma or food intolerance.)
You might think side dishes when you think of vegetables, but a sweet potato can be a great way to end the meal with the touch of sweetness. Top them with a few shakes of pumpkin spice seasonings (and even a few mini marshmallows) for a sweet treat with staying power.
If you’re trying to kick a sweet-beverage habit in the New Year, look into teas. With complex flavors, bonus phytochemicals and even beloved caffeine, you can enjoy with a small amount of your favorite sweetener and some almond milk for a satisfying treat with just enough sweetness. Naturally caffeine-free, herbal varieties are great for evening relaxation as well.
While moderation is still important, dark chocolate has been shown to have antioxidant properties you might not expect from such a delicious source. Try it chip-style to give the appearance of more food to trick your brain and pace your enjoyment. A serving size is 1 ounce of dark chocolate or 2 tablespoons of chips, which is about a handful.
Think deconstructed cobbler: Cook up your favorite fruit in the oven until soft, but skip all the butter, sugar and crumb topping. Season with a little cinnamon, and add some chopped nuts for texture. It's a tasty dessert not far from the tree.
Patricia Bannan is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications. She is the author of "Eat Right When Time Is Tight: 150 Slim-Down Strategies" and "No-Cook Food Fixes." Visit her website at http://www.patriciabannan.com/.