Many people crave “just a little something sweet” after their meals, and that craving can be very hard to ignore once it kicks in. It may not take a lot to cure it, but it can be very easy for some to go overboard. So what is a “sweet seeker” to do when the craving hits? We have a dietitian’s approach to treating the post-meal sweet tooth as well as tips on making sure it doesn’t occur as often.
Here are five better-for-you sweet treats.
Chocolate covered strawberries
These chocolate covered strawberries by Sugar Free Mom are perfect for the chocolate lover. They provide a little bit of chocolate flavor while also adding nutritious, high-fiber fruit into your diet. For just under 120 calories, you can have two large chocolate berries that will not only cure your craving for chocolate but also keep you fuller longer since they contain soluble fiber—not to mention the added antioxidants!
Get the recipe: Sugar Free Mom
Nut butter spoons with stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
What is better than a peanut butter cup? The combination of chocolate and peanut butter is one that cannot be beaten. Instead of reaching for high-sugar candies, try making your own easy dessert. Add 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter to a spoon (choose natural, drippy peanut butter) and sprinkle on a few stevia-sweetened chocolate chips or regular dark chocolate chips. The peanut butter is the way to get in hunger-curbing healthy fats, and the chocolate is sugar-free with natural non-nutritive sweeteners that don’t spike your insulin levels.
Piece of fresh fruit
Most fresh fruits have just enough sweetness to curb your craving while providing a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you healthy.
Chocolate chia seed pudding
Love tapioca or rice pudding? Chia seed pudding is a healthy alternative that also helps promote healthy skin, hair and body. Have a quarter cup of this post-meal and sprinkle on some of your favorite healthy toppings like slivered almonds, dried cherries or cacao nibs.
Get the recipe: Minimalist Baker
Adaptogenic mushroom hot chocolate
Stress has been known to increase sugar cravings, and this drink is proven to help you chill out. Added bonus? Hot liquids have been shown to increase the feeling of comfort, which helps you increase your internal warmth (aka happiness).
Buy it now: Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix With Reishi from Four Sigmatic
Ways to Decrease Sugar Cravings in the Future
Aim for balanced meals
One huge cause of increased sugar cravings is not having meals that are balanced with all three main macronutrients. Fiber-rich carbohydrates paired with lean protein and healthy fats do wonders for the body. So if you find that you are craving sweets soon after a carb-only meal, you know why.
Consume less sugar, crave less sugar
Just like getting used to your early morning workout class, having a consistent habit is hard to get rid of. Instead of cutting out sugar completely, allow your body to become more sensitive to it by decreasing it over time and not having it associated to a certain hour of the day. Allow yourself some days to give in to your sweets craving, but know that the habit can only be nixed by changing the behavior.
Find non-food related ways to deal with stress
Stress is a huge contributor to increased sugar cravings, but instead of always digging your hand into the candy stash at work after lunch, try a non-food related coping mechanism for stress. Whether it’s taking a quick walk, listening to your favorite song or even listening to a guided meditation, there are so many ways you can deal with stress in a more productive and healthy manner.
When it comes to sweets, everything in moderation is encouraged. So when the sweet tooth arises, make sure you are prepared with healthy treats on hand or a game plan to help decrease the cravings throughout the day. And remember, you don’t need all that sugar—you’re sweet enough.