Sweet…There’s a Healthy Solution!
Do you remember being a child and your parents saying, “No more candy or else you will have a big tummy ache” ? When I was a child, it sounded like a myth and went through one ear and out the other. Many years later, after consuming a handful of gummy bears, you can find me whining and complaining of a tummy ache. So how do you satisfy that sweet tooth? Here are a few healthy treats you can make or buy that will satisfy that sweet tooth and avoid future tummy aches!
1. Dried Fruits
Dried fruits will not only fulfill your sweet tooth but they are also nutritious and come in a wide selection to choose from. Here are some, to list a few: dried cranberries, raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried figs, dried dates, dried mangos, etc. Sometimes dried fruits are naturally sweetened and sometimes sugar is added (it’s up to you to decide what route you want to take- obviously the more natural, the healthier). If you want to add more fibre to your diet, dried fruits are the way to go. Dried apricots for example, contain 6.5 grams per cup. Dates and dried figs are high in antioxidants. Some are even high in vitamin E and iron. The best thing about dried fruits are creating your personalized trail mix. If you have nuts lying around in your pantry at home, mix it up with some dried fruits and there you have it! Your very own trail mix to eat at home or on the go. Did I also mention that you can “trick” your kids and put them in their lunchbox and call them “gummy fruits” ?
2. Fruit Leather
Fruit Leather? Yes, it’s yummy and no it’s not leather that’s made out of fruits. Growing up we used to love eating “Foot by the Foot” or “Fruit Roll Ups”. they were artificially made fruit leathers- lots of food colouring and artificial flavour. However, a popular Egyptian dessert mom used to make growing up, called “Amar el Deen” was a hit in our house, even for my brother who was allergic to lots of fruits. Amar el deen was made up of dried apricot spread that was later made into a pudding like dessert. We used to love eating the dried apricot spread (also known as fruit leather), and it’s healthy! You can buy them or make fruit leather yourself. Blend some of your favourite fruits in a blender, you can add honey or go with the natural sugars of the fruits (make sure to remove the skin and pits). When the mixture is smooth, pour it onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper (or a non stick pan), and spread it with a spatula. Leave it in the over for 5-7 hours. Make sure it’s hard but also a little soft- you can do the toothpick test. Once it’s done, pull it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature. You should be able to peel it off the parchment paper and cut it into whatever shapes you want. This is a healthy and fun treat for work, for your commute or for your kids. And if you don’t want to make fruit leather, you can always buy it from your local health food store, bulkbarn, Middle Eastern store or online.
Not only do I love smoothies, but I also take pride in making the best smoothies ever! Best of all, it’s a healthy, yummy, and pretty treat. Fruits have their own seasons. However, freeze some fruits and make a yummy smoothie any time of the year. You can manage how sweet you want your smoothie to be. You can add honey or you can use a ripe frozen banana for sweetness. Add some antioxidant goodness such as strawberries or blueberries and your choice of milk (almond milk, coconut milk, regular milk, etc.) and there you have it! Your very own smoothie will satisfy the sweet craving and you will feel energized and guilt free. (Stay tuned for some yummy smoothie recipes on my website).
I will put this out there very quickly- I do not like yogurt. At this point you’re probably asking, so why is Parfait on this list? Well, I need to have a healthy amount of probiotics, especially someone who suffers from IBS. In order for me to have my probiotics without resorting to capsules, it turns out a parfait is a solution to both my issues. I found the solution to my yogurt (probiotics) intake and satisfying the sweet tooth. I add some fruits and some oats and a dash of honey and there we go- sweet tooth satisfied and it’s healthy.
5. Fresh fruit +Frozen fruit
I listed all the fancy, creative, ways of satisfying the sweet tooth. However, sometimes, you have to go back to basics and stay simple- eating some fresh fruits. The beauty of fruits – you can find them all year around but they are seasonal. Meaning, we are exposed to all kinds of different fruits. Apples, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, pears, to list a few. There are also exotic fruits such as: jackfruit, lychee, guava, etc. And if you don’t like fresh fruits, you can always freeze them and then eat them later. Frozen grapes, frozen blueberries, or frozen cherries, are amongst some of my favourites.
6. Dipped Fruits
Who said chocolate covered strawberries were only edible on Valentine’s Day? If you’re anything like me, eating dark chocolate on it’s own might be a bit of a turn off. Don’t worry, as always, I’m here to provide some healthy, yummy, sweet-tooth craving ideas. Everyone knows of chocolate covered strawberries. However, if you give me the option between milk and dark chocolate, I’ll go for milk. But give me the option of a sweet strawberry covered in dark chocolate, it’s a win in my books! It’s the perfect balance between, bitter and sweet. If you’re not a fan of strawberries dipped in chocolate (I’m concerned for your well being…..haha just kidding), you can try blueberries dipped in dark chocolate or even acai berries covered in dark chocolate that are made and packaged (can be bought at Costco) for your purchase and convenience and ready to be consumed.
7. PB&J or AB&J
PB&J is the childhood staple in many children’s lunchbox (unless the school said no because of peanut butter allergies). But who said you only have to be a child to eat PB&J. Sometimes, I love making myself a PB&J sandwich. It’s the perfect mix of protein, fibre and then a nice hint of sweet jam in your tummy! You can use any type of jam (strawberry, apricot, figs, etc.) Not to mention, it’s easy to make and takes you back to your childhood and gives you all the good feels, unless you were deprived from it. And if you’re not a fan of peanut butter, no worries, you can always replace it with almond butter.
You can make your very own pudding. Take half an avocado, yes, an avocado! Blend half the avocado with half of a frozen ripe banana, and top it off with some dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. There you have it, a nighttime snack or breakfast meal. The avocado provides not only a source of healthy fat, but also the thickness needed to make a “pudding” like texture. If you don’t like bananas, use the entire avocado. If you don’t like avocados or bananas, I can’t help you, byyyye. Haha just kidding! You can blend plenty of frozen fruits or an acai-frozen pack and top it off with whichever toppings you’d like.