Settling Your Sweet Cravings, the Healthy Way!

I always find it amazing that it doesn't matter how full you are after a meal, there is always room to fit in dessert.  It's that little pocket in your stomach known as the 'sweet compartment', and it seems to be completely separate from the rest of your stomach.  But, when you're trying to eat healthily and be more mindful about what you are eating, it can be hard settling this craving in a healthy way.  Let's be honest, most foods that taste amazing and settle those cravings are full of refined and highly processed sugars that completely unravel all that hard work..... however, that does not have to be the case! I'm going to show you how simple it can be to settle those sweet cravings with delicious alternatives leaving you feeling satisfied and completely guilt-free.

1. Eat naturally sweet foods - when you find that sugar craving hits, instead of scrounging around for chocolate biscuits which are full of ingredients that are not supporting your health, try to find nutritious options that contain natural sugar such as fruit.  Heading into the warmer months, berries, cherries, mangoes, pineapple and watermelon, just to name a few, are fantastic options.

Being creative with how you use your fruit is always a great way to create healthy sweet options, and here are some example for you to draw inspiration from:


  • Adding fruit to plain Greek yoghurt with some shredded coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon;
  • Using frozen fruits to create a smoothie which can either be had as a drink or can be frozen into icy pole molds; or
  • Try my children's favourite: Choc-Peanut Nice-cream:

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana, chopped
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1-2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
Splash coconut water

Method:
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend for 30 secs at a time on a medium speed until you get your desired, creamy consistency.  Use a spatula in between blending to ensure everything mixes well.  You may need to add some extra coconut water during the blending if you find the mixture is too dry.

2. Have healthy dessert options on hand - there are going to be those times when fruit just isn't going to cut it, and trust me when I say this, eating healthy doesn't mean depriving yourself.  It's all about finding the right balance and having treats on hand that have been made with natural sweeteners such as raw honey and maple syrup. These will not only settle that sweet craving, but it will also provide you with nutrients... bonus!!!
 
For some healthy swaps, consider making an avocado chocolate mousse, chocolate truffle balls or give this seeded brittle a go:

Ingredients:

 ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
 ¾ cup sunflower seeds
 ½ cup flaked coconut
 2 tablespoons chia seeds
 ¼ cup mulberries
 2 tablespoons coconut oil
 1/3 cup maple syrup
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a tray with baking paper.
Combine all the seeds, flaked coconut and mulberries in a bowl.
On a medium heat, melt the coconut oil and maple syrup so that it is mixed well.  Once melted whisk in your vanilla extract.
Pour the melted liquid over the dry ingredients and mix quickly so that it is well combined.  Spread the mixture onto the prepared tray and using a spatula flatten so that it is about 1cm thick.
Place the brittle in the oven for 20 minutes until it becomes a golden colour.  Remove the brittle from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Place the brittle in the freezer for 30 minutes and then break it up.
Stores well in a glass container in the freezer.

3.  Don't deny yourself of chocolate, just swap your sugar-laden milk chocolate for an anti-oxidant rich dark chocolate.  You do need to be careful though as there are many 'healthier' chocolate options out there that have a lot of added sugar disguised as a different name.  If you are game, you could always make your own...

Ingredients:

  ½ cup coconut flakes (alternatively use crushed mixed nuts)
  ½ cup coconut oil
  ½ cup raw cacao powder
  2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
 
Method:
Prepare a tray with baking paper.
Lightly toast the coconut by dry frying them on a medium heat in a pan on the stove.  It will take 3-4 minutes.  Set aside
Melt the coconut oil in a pot on low heat.  Once it is melted, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the rice malt syrup and cacao.
Add the toasted coconut flakes and spread the mixture on the lined tray.
Place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.

So, there you have it. Settling those sweet cravings with delicious, nutritious alternatives may not be that difficult after all.

I hope you have found some inspiration from this blog and can now enjoy your dessert completely guilt-free.

In good health,
Keren xX

vitalassurance

Keren is the founder of Vital Assurance, and hopes to bring to you her passion for healthy eating and living.

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