January 25, 2012

Beating A Sweet Addiction

Obviously addiction is not to be taken lightly. Luckily, the only addiction of my own I've ever had to deal with is an addiction to sugar. If I didn't care at all for the health of my body, I would have pancakes for breakfast, a milkshake with lunch, snack on M&Ms all day, and finish my dinner with ice cream covered in hot chocolate and caramel sauce. Mmmmmm.

However, since I want to stay under 600 lbs, avoid a face full of acne, and live past the age of 30, I don't eat like that. I do let myself have at least one sweet a day (recently it's been 1 or 2 pieces of dark chocolate with real hazelnuts), but it is a constant battle of telling myself "NO!". 

When my mom was diagnosed with pre-diabetes about a year ago, I became even more conscious of my sugar intake. I had no idea how much sugar was in EVERYTHING - from bread to cereal to alcohol. 

Since I am against any artificial sweeteners, I have had to find dessert options that include only limited amounts of sugar. This wasn't easy since by body had learned to crave sugar at the end of every meal and pretty much constantly throughout the day! (Thanks, Grandma and various older cousins... all those candies you fed me as a kid were delicious but really screwed me up over here as an adult!)

The amazing thing is that bodies can be taught and trained. Since paying more attention to how much sugar I eat, I actually crave it a little less. While I will never be able to completely cut sugar out of my diet, I have learned how to handle a lower-sugar diet. So, for you all, I have composed a list of some of my favorite low-sugar treats that pretty much satisfy my seemingly-insatiable sweet tooth. Of course, if you think you do have diabetes or pre-diabetes, see a doctor before listening to anything I or any non-doctor says. For those of you who just want to eat a bit healthier but still need something sweet each day, this is for you.

Lower-Sugar Sweet Treats:
  • Combine unsweetened dried fruits such as dried apricots, banana chips, and dried mangoes
  • Add one square inch of dark chocolate into a bowl of unflavored, unsweetened oatmeal
  • Sprinkle a few mini dark chocolate chips into a 100-calorie bag of unbuttered popcorn 
  • Cut up a fresh apple and dip into a teaspoon worth of a low-sugar cocoa-nut butter (Trader Joe's had a great chocolate almond butter and a small amount is really enough to be satisfying and still healthy)
  • Add a sprinkle of natural sugar to half a grapefruit
  • Heat a cup of hot herbal tea with a splash of natural agave
  • Freeze plain Greek yogurt for 24 hours and eat with variety of berries and bananas
  • Cut up fresh banana and dip into a melted teaspoon of dark chocolate chips
  • Melt a piece of dark chocolate into a cup of warm non-fat milk (almond milk works well, too)
Flavored Herbal Tea is a Great Way Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

 Like everything, sugar intake is about balance. I want my body to be happy and healthy. For me, happiness is chocolate and healthy is slightly less chocolate. I wouldn't say that I've overcome the addiction, but I've definitely made some changes (aka no more ice cream before bed and flavored lattes for breakfast) that have helped me keep my sugar intake under control.

What is your favorite lower-sugar dessert?



  1. I love greek yogurt with a bit of dark choc and almonds... sooo good!!

  2. this is a great post, toni! i love the freezing Greek yogurt idea. i'll have to try that one...