Expert: Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, CDN Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
If you have a sweet tooth, it can be hard to resist unhealthy snacks. But there are ways around it!
If you have a serious sweet tooth-don’t fret! You can still have a sweet treat. You just want to choose healthy snacks and alternatives to foods loaded with added sugars.
Step number one is to discover where added sugar and high fructose corn syrup are hiding. Sugars in packaged foods are filled with empty calories that can lead to weight gain and may increase your risk of diabetes. So always take a look at the nutrition labels on foods in your kitchen and at the grocery store.
To effectively reduce the amount of sweeteners in your diet, you want to say NO to added fructose, all syrups, malts, dextrose and glucose-not just table sugar.
The next step is to learn how to pick healthy snacks that satisfy your sweet tooth and protect your health. For instance, when a milk chocolate candy bar seems to be calling your name, you’re better off reaching for dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and lower in sugar. That will help your body maintain its insulin balance-an important factor in keeping weight down. Limit yourself to 1 ounce of dark chocolate and match it with fresh strawberries or blueberries-for extra good-for-you sweetness.
On a hot summer day when the ice cream truck is playing its hypnotic music, make your own ALL-NATURAL chill thrill. Simply puree berries, melons, mangoes or citrus fruit and freeze in an ice mold. And eliminate sweetened teas-they can serve up to 200 calories and 22 grams of sugar in JUST ONE bottle. Instead go for plain tea flavored with natural mint, orange zest or lemon. With just a little imagination and determination, you can lose weight and keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Life will be a lot sweeter!