Healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth

sugar cravings

Few things are as addictive as sweets, and giving into your sugar cravings can have a huge negative impact on your weight loss efforts.

Fortunately, there are smart ways to satisfy your sweet tooth or avoid sweets altogether. Consider the following strategies to have your cake and stick to your diet, too:

Eat fruit

Yes, it’s obvious. But nature’s candy can provide a satisfying hit of sweetness while also delivering the nutrients, vitamins and fiber your body need.s

In particular, berries (especially blueberries, blackberries and strawberries) are an excellent source of natural antioxidants, which help reduce the “oxidative damage” that leads to a range of diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Quality over quantity

Controlling your sugar intake doesn’t have to mean giving up sweets forever. Instead of gorging on a pack of cheap candy or a devouring a half-pint of generic ice cream, treat yourself to smaller but higher-quality desserts in moderation.

Whether it’s a fresh, from-scratch cookie, a gourmet chocolate bonbon or a decadent macaron, savor a small, quality treat occasionally rather than eating low-quality packaged treats every day.

If you have a weakness for chocolate, try dark chocolate, which has a range of positive health benefits when eaten in moderation. The key is to buy real (not processed and sweetened) dark chocolate. That means a cocoa content of 60 percent or more.

Don’t waste your sugar

It takes some planning, but consuming sugar wisely can make the difference between reaching your weight loss goals and giving in to your worst impulses.

A simple way to regulate your sugar intake is to make trade-offs. Do you love the occasional soda? Fine, but be sure to take a pass on dessert. Or if you have a craving for dessert, try to forego soda for water.

But remember to avoid making soda a regular habit. They may seem harmless, but sugary drinks are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.

Sodas and other sweetened beverages, including juices, are packed with sugar and calories. Naturally, if you drink sugary beverages, you won’t feel as full as if you’d eaten the same calories in the form of solid food.

Distract yourself

Cravings are all about psychology. The more you focus on a food you crave, the stronger and more undeniable that craving gets.

So to avoid giving into a sugar craving, consider distracting yourself. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Strike up a conversation with someone. Anything to get your mind off of that sugary sweet lurking around the corner.

You can also remove yourself from environments that keep dangerous sweets top of mind. For instance, instead of working at a coffee shop with a display full of decadent pastries, try spending time at a food-free coffee shop.

Find a healthy way to make what you love

Here’s a secret: You don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite desserts. You just have to get creative with how you make them.

There are countless ways to reinvent your favorite desserts, replacing empty-calorie, high-fat, sugar-loaded ingredients with comparatively healthy alternatives.

Some of our favorite healthy desserts include:

You deserve a sweet every now and then. Using these strategies, you can treat yourself on occasion or find ways to avoid indulging when you know you shouldn’t. All it takes is a little planning and a little strategy, and you can have your dessert while sticking to your weight loss plan.