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You Ask, I Answer: Dealing With A Sweet Tooth

NV977_Brownies_CookiesI have a HUGE sweet tooth.

I tend to like things like brownies, cookies, candy, etc. I also like to bake a lot, which is a large part of the problem.

It’s really hard for me to limit my intake of unhealthy sweet foods, though I would really like to make an effort to.

Do you have any tips?

– Christine Ho
(Location Unknown)

There are certainly a few different strategies you could employ.

First off — keep your weaknesses in mind (we all have them, by the way!).

By that I mean: if having baked goods at home makes it difficult for you to control your intake of sweets, don’t have them readily available.

That is not to say you can not bake (especially since it’s an activity you enjoy).  However, you could always make a batch of cookies, keep two or three for you and then gift the rest to friends, family, neighbors, and/or co-workers.

Another alternative?  Seek healthier recipes.

No, that does not mean Splenda-spiked cookies or muffins with fat-free Frankenbutter.

However, consider this simple and delectable chocolate truffle recipe that delivers a good amount of fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

When you get a craving for unhealthy sweet foods, think about what the craving is really for.

Is it for chocolate?  If so, instead of a highly caloric muffin or brownie, try an ounce of rich, dark chocolate (I love 85% cocoa chocolate bars because a small amount completely satisfies my sweet tooth!).

Or, make a quick and healthy chocolate milk.  In a blender, combine your milk of choice (dairy, soy, hemp, almond, etc.) with a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, ice, and some vanilla extract.

If it’s for peanut butter, make a smoothie with bananas and add a tablespoon of peanut butter.  Or, add sliced bananas to a peanut butter sandwich.

Similarly, try incorporating some sweetness into healthier foods.  For example, add a tablespoon of chocolate chips to an all-nut trail mix, or ripe sliced pears to a salad.

These kinds of dietary changes take some time, so approach it slowly and realistically.

Most importantly, don’t ever completely deny yourself a food you like.  There are days when the only thing that will satisfy a craving for a decadent brownie is a decadent brownie.  That’s fine — simply be mindful of how much you eat and, above all, enjoy and savor it!

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7 Comments

  1. Christine said on December 30th, 2009

    Andy! You are the best! Thank you so much! These tips really helped :)

    Christine

  2. Andy Bellatti said on December 30th, 2009

    Christine,

    I’m glad you found these tips helpful!

  3. Jessie said on December 30th, 2009

    I have the same problem!

    For a healthy hot chocolate I buy Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder, and mix it with milk, vanilla, and a little sugar.

    My fathers girlfriend bakes a delicious punpkin date nut bread as well that is a healthy recipe, try it! The dates add a natural sweetness to it that you cant beat.

  4. Melissa said on December 30th, 2009

    i find that when you are craving sugar, that one of the worst things you can eat is sugar! A spoonful of nut butter or something with protein will help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce cravings for sweets. i find sugar is addictive and the more of it that you eat the more you will want it…definitely don’t keep sweets in the house.

  5. Pilsy said on December 31st, 2009

    One thing that is helpful for people who love baking is to find alternative ingredients that can make the recipe a bit healthier and possibly more filling. For example, many times whole grain flour, soy milk and butter-alternatives can be used in place of white flour, whole milk and butter. Often they do not fully compromise the flavor of the baked goods either. I find that baked goods using whole grain flour are also more filling in smaller portions than those made with white flour. Overall the calories might be slightly reduced but the real benefit is that the baked goods are more filling you are tempted to consume less and overall have more nutritious content.

    I also find that adding things to the recipe like oats, grains, seeds and nuts add a lot of nutrition and filling to otherwise bland recipes.

    One other tip… maybe… is to make use of light sugary glazes as an alternative to high sugar content in the baked goods themselves. This adds sweetness but reduces the amount of sugar per serving by a lot.

    And I totally agree with SmallBites – getting the treats out of the house by gifting them to others is probably the best quantity control you can have.

  6. Andy Bellatti said on December 31st, 2009

    Pilsy,

    Thanks for sharing. I love the idea of using a touch of sweetness on a glaze, as opposed to high amounts of sweetness in the actual baked good.

  7. Andy Bellatti said on December 31st, 2009

    Pilsy,

    In case you haven’t seen it, I think you’d be interested in this Small Bites post from November: http://smallbites.andybellatti.com/?p=4232

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