If you find yourself always wanting something sweet or craving chocolate try these tips to help reach your diabetes or weight control goals.
1. Try fresh fruit for morning snacks, dessert after lunch and with supper. Be sure to choose fruit in season for best taste. Frozen is the next best when fresh is not available. Fruit is very helpful in weight loss because it has a high water content, and average of 2 grams of fiber per serving, and low calories.
2. Dried fruits are a great source of fiber also but add up quicker in the calories. For example 12-15 grapes =2 Tbsp raisins. So you can grab a handful of grapes for fewer than 100 calories but a handful of raisins will be twice the calories.
3. Fruits are also great source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.
4. For sweets cravings plan a sweet in for an afternoon or evening snack daily if needed. This is better than depriving yourself and eventually overeating that food.
5. We all have our foods that we simply have no power over portion control. Mine is French silk chocolate ice cream. I have found it works better to buy it only 2-3 times a year and not worry about my overeating for the short time it takes me to finish it off!
6. For the chocolate craving try dark chocolate. It seems to satisfy the craving with a smaller amount.
7. If you are on-the-go you can also set a rule in your house that any sweets need to be homemade. When you have less time you are less likely to have made something sweet, but when you do at least you will really enjoy it and appreciate the taste more! You will also be getting less preservatives and additives with homemade sweets.
8. For many people ice cream is a favorite bedtime snack. An average bowl of ice cream with 3 scoops will be at least 400 calories. You could use a cake cone instead and reduce the calories in half. Some find it easier to just go out once or twice a week for an ice cream treat instead of having it in the house for easy access.
9. Donuts will cost you about 200-300 calories each. If your office likes to have donuts around, suggest some alternatives such as fruit, bran muffins, small whole grain bagels, yogurt & granola, or any other healthier alternative.
10. Sugar-free foods may not be a better option but they are okay in limited amounts. Usually they are made with an artificial sweetener or sugar alcohol. Sugar-free foods are not always lower in calories and may not satisfy the sweet craving. This really has to be a personal choice. I recommend using artificial sweeteners in limited amounts even though they are FDA approved to be safe.
11. Using regular sugar, honey, jelly or syrup is okay – especially when they are homemade. A teaspoon averages only 20 calories and remember – people do not get diabetes from eating sugar unless they are eating so much that they gain weight.
12. Portion control on the sweets is very important. Here are some comparisons on calories. Examples of a 100 calorie serving of candy would be a snack size candy bar, 4 chocolate kisses, or 4 Smarties rolls.
13. Beware! Pie is usually quite high calorie. The lowest calorie pies are pumpkin and strawberry at about 250 calories per slice and one of the highest is pecan pie at 450 calories per slice.