If you have a sweet tooth, you know how hard it can be to have your cake, eat it too and still maintain a slim waistline. Thankfully, you don’t have to rely wholly on willpower to resist sweets. There are healthy alternatives that you can indulge in.
Here are a few sweets from nature that taste delicious, satisfy your sweet tooth, and we even explain how they are great for your health.
Why Do We Crave Sweets? The Wild Insulin Ride
Before we go into healthy sweet substitutions, let’s take a look at why we crave sweets in the first place. The most common culprit is blood sugar imbalances. Insulin in the body helps regulate blood sugar. So, when you eat a super-sweet candy bar, your blood sugar levels shoot through the roof. Consequently, insulin comes on the scene to reduce levels.
Alternatively, if blood sugar levels are too low, insulin kicks in, and – you guessed it, you crave sugar to compensate for low blood sugar. Before you know it, you’re on a wild insulin ride, because your body is attempting to compensate and balance wonky blood sugar levels.
Sweets From Nature That Heal, Balance, and Slake Your Sweet Tooth
Now knowing why you crave sweets, you now also know the importance of reducing or eliminating simple sugars such as cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Choosing healthy, sweet alternatives that prevent insulin spikes is the key to keeping blood sugar levels balanced and crushing the cravings for sweets. Here are a few healthy sweet treats to stash in your desk drawer or your lunch box to quench your urges for unhealthy sweets.
Bananas are packed with fiber and B vitamins such as biotin, both of which help regulate the body and help even out blood sugar levels. Biotin in bananas is especially good for hair and skin. But wait a minute, you might be wondering, does biotin cause acne? That’s a loaded question. In truth, foods rich in biotin like bananas are generally okay.
It’s the biotin supplements that present an issue for those who are prone to acne. In either scenario, biotin and the other nutrients found in bananas are healthy in moderation and can definitely satisfy your need for sweets.
Need a Date?
Dates are like the candy bar of the natural food aisle. They are incredibly sweet, and that makes them a savior in terms of crushing your cravings. Remember the “wild insulin ride” we discussed earlier? The beauty of dates is that you can substitute them for cane sugar (yes, they are that sweet) while not jacking up your insulin levels.
In fact, dates help lower your glycemic index which contributes to blood sugar regulation. Furthermore, fresh Medjool dates (not the dried dates in the baking aisle) are loaded with healthy goodness such as fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and more.
Going Nuts for Butters
Nut butters are sweet on their own – even without sugars added to them. They are also an impressive source of plant-based protein. Nut butters such as cashew, almond, and walnut are also rich in monounsaturated fat. This is the healthy fat that helps boost HDL (the good type of cholesterol) while reducing LDL (the “bad” cholesterol).
An Apple a Day (You Know What They Say)
Yep, they keep the doctor away. There’s a good reason apples have gained such an esteemed reputation for being a healthy, sweet snack. Apples are crammed with revitalizing nutrients such as vitamins C, K, B1, B6, potassium, and more.
Interestingly, apples have a concentration of phenols, which are believed to be anti-obesity agents. So, slather a bit of nut butter on a slice of apple the next time you crave a sugary cookie.
Cuckoo for Coconuts
While coconuts are not the sweetest treat in the lineup here, they are still a worthy mention for healthy snack replacement. From meat to milk, coconuts offer a mild sweetness and serve up a tremendous amount of health benefits. Namely, coconuts contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which help the small intestine metabolize food to produce energy.
In turn, studies have shown these MCTs from coconuts contribute to fat loss. Additionally, the fat content in coconuts promotes healthy cholesterol (HDL) and heart health. Coconuts also help regulate blood sugar, which will keep you off that insulin roller coaster we mentioned earlier.
Choose the Smart, Sweet Way to Eat
At the end of the day, you’re smart and you know what’s best for your body. We hope these healthy sweet alternatives will keep you on the right track and satisfy your sweet tooth.
However, please do monitor your body reactions whenever you introduce new foods into your diet. And, when in doubt, always consult your doctor about diet changes.