7 food swaps for a sweet tooth
Some healthier food swaps for when you find yourself reaching for the chocolate.
Some of us have a sweet tooth and can find ourselves craving something sweet, even after eating a meal. It could be habit, or simply a desire to tickle your taste buds with a sweet treat.
Whatever your reason, why not swap your sugary snack with one of these healthier alternatives?
7 food swaps for a sweet tooth
1. Chocolate bar… swap for dark chocolate-coated strawberries
Accredited Bupa dietitian Rosalyn D’Angelo
says: Unfortunately, almost all chocolate is rich in fat and sugar, so this switch is about portion control.
Try dipping fresh strawberries in melted dark chocolate. You’ll eat less chocolate and therefore less sugar and fat than if you’d chomped down a whole choccy bar. The darker the chocolate the better because it contains more cocoa which does have some nutritional value. About 50–70 per cent cocoa is best.
For added texture, dip the chocolate-coated strawberry in some crushed almonds or chia seeds.
2. Icy pole… swap for frozen grapes
Rosalyn says: Icy poles are simply frozen sugar water and therefore have no nutritional value. Grapes are jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Pop some grapes in the freezer over the summer and grab a handful (about one cup) for an easy and refreshing snack.
3. A chocolate biscuit… swap for a homemade muesli slice
Rosalyn says: Commercially-made biscuits can contain large amounts of butter, palm oil and salt to extend their shelf life. Baking your own sweet treats allows you to control what goes into them.
For a healthy muesli slice, experiment with oats, raw nuts, raisins, chia or pumpkin seeds, dates, margarine, olive oil and honey (to ‘glue’ it all together, so to speak). Remember, these are still sweet treats, so remember to exercise portion control by cutting the slice into small squares (about the size of half your palm). Best served with a cuppa!
4. Lollies… swap for fresh dates
Accredited Bupa dietitian Gemma Cosgriff
says: Almost everyone loves lollies. They’re quick fixes for energy when a sugar slump hits, but it can be easy to eat too many of them, and the energy fix is usually over pretty quickly.
For an energy fix with benefits, dates provide you with a bonus: nutrients. They’re naturally sweet, with some fibre, too. Two dates are equal to one serve of fruit, and you may find you don’t need many more than that.
5. Blueberry muffin… swap for one slice of raisin toast
Rosalyn says: One of those really big muffins you find in cafes can contain more than 15 teaspoons of sugar, about the same amount as a burger! (I’ll just let you digest that for a second.) On your next cafe visit, order a slice of raisin toast instead, as these can be lower GI. (This means that the carbohydrates are digested over a longer period of time and your blood sugar levels rise more slowly, so you’ll feel fuller for longer.) Plus, it’s a more reasonable portion size.
Yes, you can have a scrape of margarine on it too if you like.
6. Hot chocolate… swap for warm, low-fat milk with cinnamon
Rosalyn says: There’s no added sugar in this food switch, just cinnamon as a natural flavouring and lactose in the reduced-fat milk serving as a natural sweetener.
7. Frozen yoghurt… swap for blended banana
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Gemma says: have you ever assumed that frozen yoghurt is the healthy alternative to ice cream? I have some news for you: frozen yoghurt is another item that can be guilty of being high in added sugar.
To know exactly what’s going into your sweet treat, throw some frozen fresh banana pieces into a blender along with a sprinkle of cinnamon. You might like to add in a bit of low-fat milk or low-fat yoghurt for texture, too. And voila! You have a refreshing and nutritious snack for those hot summer days.