I'm not ashamed to admit, when a sugar craving hits, it's borderline impossible for me not to nurse it with an entire box of Oreos or a container of Nutella. But the truth is, there are plenty of healthy snacks that curb a sugar craving and make you feel way better than any artificial sweetener ever will. When it comes down to it, it's totally fine to eat some cookies or a spoonful (or two) of Nutella, but choosing to eat nourishing, whole foods provides your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to truly thrive.
Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise, co-founders of plant-based meal delivery service Sakara Life, tell Elite Daily,
Our taste buds are connected to neurons that relay information about particular tastes to our brains. Over time, our taste buds have learned to light up the pleasure center of our brain when sugar hits our taste buds. Additionally, it can be an emotional response learned from past experiences. The solution to conquering what can feel like a sinful sweet tooth is to be super aware of your body's cravings and sit with them. When your body sends you signals that you need something specific and you need it now, then that is a clear sign that that is an emotional -- as opposed to a physical -- craving.
So here's the deal: You can either put those monstrous cravings in check, or bask in a minutes-long indulgence that oftentimes will result in "inflammation, blood sugar spikes, whacky hormones, dehydration, dull skin, and breakouts," according to Tingle and Duboise.
Ultimately, the choice is yours, but before you head to your local candy counter, browse through these healthy-yet-tasty alternatives that I can guarantee will help you resist temptation and curb a sweet tooth.
1. Frozen Bananas
This has been my number one go-to for months now.
I'll buy a bunch of bananas every week and split them evenly; half are artistically arranged in a fruit bowl on my counter, and the rest are tucked away into a freezer-safe baggie to dig into at random.
2. Cherries And A Tablespoon Of Hazelnut Spread
Dessert is my weakness and, coming from a family who regularly drank tea and indulged in a sweet treat at 9 p.m. on the dot every night, I rarely have the self-control to go without it.
Instead of restricting myself, I've recently started substituting baked goods for a bowl of fruit.
Cherries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Pair a handful or two of cherries with a tablespoon of Nutiva's organic hazelnut spread to curb a serious sweet craving.
3. Flavored Tea
The taste of black tea can get boring after a while, but the health benefits of tea are too great to pass up.
Rather than resorting to soda or sugar-packed juice boxes when you're in the mood for a sugary beverage, opt for a mug of flavored tea. There are countless tea brands that offer a variety of flavors that range all the way from passion fruit to chocolate mint.
If you're hesitant to try the fancy stuff, green tea with honey is always a safe bet for your taste buds.
4. Fruit Smoothie
As easy as it is to drive through your favorite fast food chain's window and pick up a chocolate shake, the heaviness in your stomach after that last slurp just isn't worth the few moments of indulgence.
Rather than go the milkshake route, opt for a fruit smoothie instead. Natural sugars in fruit are coupled with fiber, which "feeds gut bacteria, improves the immune system, and regulates GI movement," HUM Nutrition head registered dietician Alex Caspero tells Elite Daily.
5. Popcorn and Dark Chocolate Chips
This is, by far, the best way to experience salty and sweet. Step one is to pop your kernels. Step two, pour chocolate chips directly on top of warm popcorn.
I love chocolate-covered anything, so any time I have a hankering for both tastes, this combination is a winner.
(Why, yes, I did originally give this a try because of that cheesy scene from First Daughter with Marc Blucas and Katie Holmes. No shame whatsoever.)
Granola can be tricky when it comes to sugar content; you really have to read the labels closely. But Purely Elizabeth's Chocolate Sea Salt Probiotic Granola is one product I stand by and indulge in on the reg.
Made with whole ingredients like fair grade dark chocolate, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and ancient grain granola, one serving has only six grams of sugar. It's healthy, delicious, and a total game-changer for digestion.
7. Black Coffee With Cinnamon
Rather than saturating a rich brew with cream and lumps of sugar, give black coffee a go with a generous dash of cinnamon.
One or multiple cups of coffee per day boasts a ton of health benefits, while cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy source of antioxidants.
The combination is good for you, and the taste is even better.
8. Sweet Potato
By now, you should all know my love for sweet potatoes is unconditional.
You can eat them baked, fried, smashed, mashed, with a meal, as a meal -- the options are endless.
I know veggies are, like, the last resort on the list for sweet indulgences, but you really haven't lived until you've drizzled almond butter over a steaming sweet potato.