“Eat healthier” is a popular New Year’s resolution, but what does healthier really mean? The truth is, resolutions like this don’t tend to stick. Instead of resolving to do something vague like eat healthier or lose weight, why not choose a specific goal, like cutting back on refined sugar, then hatch a plan to make it happen? You can cut back gradually or all at once, but whichever route you take, chances are you’ll need some whole food treats to help satisfy your sugar cravings.
I have always had a sweet tooth, so it’s easy for me to fall back into eating cookies and ice cream way too often during the holidays. Now that holiday madness is over, I’m ready to start eating better, and cutting way back on refined sugar sweets is a big part of that plan.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had to kick sugar to the curb. When I was pregnant, I cut out refined sugars after flunking my first blood sugar test. The healthy, whole food treats below were things I turned to when I was craving sugar.
If you’ve gotten into the habit of eating decadent desserts on a regular basis and are ready to cut back, I hope that these ideas for healthy treats help you as much as they helped me!
Before we get to the food, I wanted to share one caveat about this list: I know that an orange is no cookie. Sugar is addictive, and the point of these foods is to arm yourself with ways to quell that sugar craving without a cookie. You’re not necessarily trying to eat something that tastes like a cookie. You’re trying to teach your body to stop asking for cookies all the time. So let’s start the list with a cookie!
1. Raw Truffles (or cookies) – I kept these handy when I was pregnant for times that other whole food treats just were not cutting it.
The recipe is very flexible. If you don’t like cashews, use another nut or seed instead. Not a fan of apricots? Dates, raisins or any other dried fruit will work instead. You can also use coconut instead of cocoa powder. Roll them into a ball, like in the photo above, for a truffle-like treat, or flatten them to make cookies.
2. Nice Cream – Frozen bananas are the base for this sweet treat. You can add your favorite healthy mix-ins, like fruit, nuts and seeds. You can even make chocolate nice cream by adding cocoa powder, no added sugars required. The sweetness from the bananas balances out the cocoa just fine.
3. Smoothies – Green smoothies are a super healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth and get some greens at the same time. The green smoothie recipe in the video above is one of my favorites, but if that combo doesn’t do it for you, there are countless ways to put a green smoothie together.
4. Fruit – Raw cookies, nice cream and smoothies are delicious, but you’re not really teaching your sweet tooth to pipe down when you’re eating them. Before you reach for your blender, try reaching for some whole fruit instead.
My go-to right now is a tangerine. Not only is it sweet and surprisingly satisfying, it forces you to slow down while you peel, section and then finally eat it. Apples and peanut butter or a small handful of dried fruit are my other favorite healthy treats when my body screams for ice cream.