We hear it all the time – sugar is the biggest threat to our health. It’s harming our hearts, our teeth and our weight. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health recommend limiting added sugar to no more than 10 percent of our daily calories.
In the last five years, nutrition experts discovered compelling evidence that links increased consumption of sugar to heightened risks of Type 2 diabetes and a number of cardiovascular diseases even among non-overweight Americans.
I’m guilty of visiting my friend’s candy jar at work. It never fails. I find myself walking in her direction around 3:00 every day because I need to satisfy that urge. It creeps in right after dinner, too. Should I get that cookie from the pantry, or that piece of fruit from the refrigerator?
What is a body to do when that craving hits? Here at the corporate office, we are actively involved in making healthier choices with weekly challenges, such as trying a new vegetable for the week or taking power walks during the lunch hour.
Can we sweet-talk you into something Whole Healthier?
Do your body a favor by replacing sugary junk food with healthier alternatives. Here are some delicious ways to do that.
- Frozen fruit. Eat frozen blueberries right from the bag. They’re delicious. Or, thaw them and top with some fat-free whipped topping or granola. Peel a banana and freeze it. Once frozen, roll it in melted dark chocolate and add a crunchy topping, like nuts or granola. Bananas are a great source of vitamin C and B6, as well as fiber and potassium. Frozen grapes are delicious, too, and they’re packed with antioxidants.
- Fresh fruit. Can’t get simpler than this. A piece of fresh fruit should offer enough natural sugar to fill those cravings.
- Popcorn. Pop a small bag of natural popcorn and top it with 1 T melted peanut butter and a dusting of cocoa powder. Crunchy and the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Yogurt. Top one cup of Greek yogurt with your choice of toppings: crumbled graham crackers or granola, nuts, and fruit are great choices. Add some sprinkles if you must.
- Dark chocolate. The 70 percent cocoa kind lacks all the added fat and sugar of milk chocolate, and can actually be healthier. Plus, it’s antioxidant rich.
- Rice cakes. Spread on some almond butter, peanut butter, or hummus. Enjoy!
- Peanut butter and chocolate pretzels. If you’re looking for something sweet and salty, this is it. Melt one square of dark chocolate and one tsp. natural peanut butter. Dip pretzel rods in this and enjoy.
- Cottage cheese. Cottage cheese offers plenty of protein. Add some plain fruit and drizzle honey over it for sweetness.
- Trail Mix. Mix up a variety of healthy nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate pieces. This is a great, anytime snack.
- Sweet potato. Do you want something sweet that is also hot? Bake up a sweet potato, or make some sweet potato fries.
- Chewing gum. Keep a pack or two in your purse, gym bag, briefcase or pocket. Sugar-free gum is always a great go-to snack when you are craving sweets.
- Zucchini chips. Slice zucchini, dip in whisked egg, then dip in a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese or other spices, and bake.
- Asparagus fries. Follow same procedure as above for a delicious snack.
Here is a recipe that uses Genesis PURE Mila. Children and adults alike will eagerly devour these delicious yet naturally healthy cookies! Get baking and find how simple and wonderful these gluten-free* and vegan morsels can be! Makes 2 dozen cookies.
- 2 tbsp Mila
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 ⅓ cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups natural peanut butter
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- In a small bowl, stir together Mila and water, then set mixture aside to gel. In a medium bowl, toss the oats, cinnamon, and baking soda together. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir peanut butter, brown sugar, Mila mixture, applesauce and vanilla on low or with a large rubber spatula until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Form dough into balls and place onto prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten each ball with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes. The cookies will appear very soft and under baked. For crispier cookies, bake for up to 11-12 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh when stored covered at room temperature for up to 7 days.
- Make ahead tip: For longer storage, freeze the cookies for up to 3 months then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
*If gluten intolerant, make sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
What do you eat when you crave something sweet? Share with us in the comments.