Snacks for the Sweet Tooth
I seem to be talking a lot about sugar these days. Someone asked me last week if there were some good snacks that would satisfy a sweet craving. As a sweet fiend myself I tend to always be looking for something! My latest kick is having dried apricots and chocolate covered almonds in my desk drawer. I try to keep a snack to a few apricots and a few chocolate almonds. I love dried apricots. I've got a bag of organic ones that do not have the sulfur/sulfites in them that is normally used to preserve them. Which means that they aren't the nice orange, firm ones you normally see, but are a little more dry and brown. (Truthfully, I prefer the sulfur preserved ones). For some people that are sulfite sensitive, particularly those with asthma, they can have an allergic reaction to it. This preservative has been used since 1664 and is generally regarded as safe by the FDA. They state that it is not "teratogenic, mutagenic, or carcinogenic in laboratory animals". Other research has shown that in the gut, nitrite can form nitrosamines, molecules that cause cancer in lab animals. The same experts say meat processors now add ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which prevents the formation of nitrosamines, turning nitrite into nitric oxide instead. I'm assuming the amount of vitamin C in my apricots should have the same effect. So it's up to you what type of dried fruit you prefer.
My little sweet treat even satisfies my guidelines for a snack: eat from two food groups at every snack. I've got a fruit and a protein!
Another suggestion for keeping the sweet tooth happy, but keeping your eating on track is to have half a sweet treat and pair it with something healthy. An example of this would be: instead of having a whole donut from that box that someone left in the lunchroom... damn them...is to cut the donut in half, and have it with the apple in your lunch bag. Or pack a cookie in your lunch bag, but make sure to have it with some yogurt or fruit.
Including the things we love, in moderation (as we always say), help keep us healthy and happy. Staying on the path of healthy eating is then easier and more likely to stick long term.
Other sweet tooth satisfying snacks:
Small mocha or hot chocolate with low-fat milk
Graham crackers with peanut butter
Baked apple (peel and core an apple, sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, add nuts to the middle if desired and baked at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes) (recipe)
Trail mix with chocolate
Chocolate dipped strawberries or bananas
Make your own juice popsicles
Healthy oatmeal cookies (recipe)