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3 Super Healthy Alternatives to Candy Snacks

 

Hi Natasha,

Many dieters, particularly women find it extremely hard to stop temptations of chocolates, candies, cookies and cakes simply because the sweet tooth is stronger in women than in men.

Women need to maintain a certain percentage of body weight to be able to sustain a pregnancy, so an inborn genetic craving for sweets would be a quick way to pack on a few pounds that regulate the menstrual cycle.

Additionally, some studies have also suggested that high levels of the female hormone, estrogen during menstruation may increase sugar cravings, but the evidence is mixed.

For people who are looking to tame sugary cravings on a diet, consider these healthy alternatives to sweets. These guilt free indulgences satisfy your sweet tooth naturally yet keep you in the same jeans size (or drop a size)!

 

What Are Healthy Sweet Snacks to Eat While Dieting?

1. Healthy Sweet Option – Dark Chocolate

Chocolate, made from cacao beans, contains rich amounts of antioxidants that are good for you. However, candy-coated chocolate bars are no good for your waistline. They are jam-packed with sugar, artificial flavors and partially hydrogenated oils.

If you want to eat chocolate, opt for high quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content  because it is the cocoa powder that contains polyphenols, flavonols, proanthocyanidins, and catechins to fight off a myriad of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Avoid cheap milk chocolate that has ridiculously low cacao content, a lot of sugar and a string of unhealthy ingredients like agave, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, vegetable oil, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

I personally like Scharffen Berger Extra Dark (82% cacao), Valrhona Noir Extra Amer (85% cacao), and Dagoba Eclipse (87% cacao). Although more expensive, they are better for health and definitely worth the expense.

Another thing worth a big mention is, dark chocolate contains some sugar, but you'll want  it to be listed last on the ingredient list  – cocoa powder, cocoa mass, chocolate liquor and/or cocoa butter before sugar.

One healthy alternative is to make your own dark chocolate fondue to dip your favorite fruits such as strawberries, banana slices, pineapple chunks, pear slices, kiwifruit wedges, or dried apricots.

 

 

2. Healthy Sweet Option – Fruits

Since your sister is having a hard time cutting out ice cream, I suggest her go natural and snack on frozen fruits instead. There's nothing better than fruits when it comes to sweet healthy snacks. Fruits such as bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are high in vitamins and super low in fat.

I usually buy berries in bulk when they are in season and freeze them to enjoy them later. It's a great way to save money too. If you want to freeze denser fruits such as bananas, mango, peaches, honeydew, or watermelon, you should slice or cube them before freezing. Then place cut-up fruits in a Ziploc bag, squeeze out any air bubbles and seal. It's also a good idea to write the date on  the bag so that you know when you preserved it.

You can make sorbet with all those frozen fruits. Place frozen fruit (add minimal water to thin) in a blender and process until pureed. Add a tiny amount of sugar or honey and vanilla, if you want. Scoop out and place in a glass ice cream bowl, or an ice cream cone.

Add your favorite toppings – coconut flakes, white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, or fresh chopped nuts such as pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews and walnuts.

You can also pour the puree mix into molds and make popsicles from it. Fruit popsicles can also be made with real fruit juices (mix juices together different flavors), or add some low fat yogurt for a creamier texture.

Fruits also can be enjoyed in many different ways – dried fruits (preferably dried at home), mixed  fruit smoothies (banana strawberry smoothie), baked apples (with pecans, cinnamon, raisins, butter, and brown sugar), grilled poached pears with balsamic reduction, and broiled fruit kebabs.

 

 

3. Healthy Sweet Option – Sweet Potato

I am not addicted to sugary treats, but I find myself having an immensely huge craving for candy snacks occasionally. What I do to eliminate that sudden sweet craving is to cut up a few sweet potatoes, sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top and bake them in a 350˚F oven for 30 minutes, or until nicely tender.

In terms of nutrition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and way better than regular white potatoes because they contain half the sugar and twice the minerals.

Sweet potatoes are also packed with dietary fiber and when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes provides more fiber than oatmeal. If you eat fiber-rich foods, you'll feel fuller for longer periods of time so you're less likely to overeat or snack on junk food.

 

 

Although the above healthy sweet options are definitely better for weight loss, make sure you control portion sizes otherwise you end up consuming more calories for the day.

 

 

 

By Diane Hanson

My elder sister and I made a resolution at the beginning of the year to eat healthy and hopefully lose a bit of weight. We are not fat but we think we would look better in skinny jeans if we cut back on sweets. Here comes our humongous problem – we love to snack anywhere and anytime, and always feel terribly guilty eating them. My sister has a sweet tooth and just can't keep her hands off candy-coated chocolate bars and ice cream, however much she tries to resist the sweet temptation. Are there any healthy alternatives to candy snacks because I want to surprise her with something sweet and not derail her best efforts to eat more healthfully. What are some healthy snacks to consider while dieting? A big thank you!  –  Natasha, Louisiana.

what are healthy alternatives to candy snacks

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