Satisfying Your Sweeth Tooth
February is the month that some people celebrate Valentine’s Day and like other holidays this one is often celebrated with food and sweets. Enjoying desserts can be part of a healthy diet but we all need to monitor and decrease how much sugar is added to our diet.
What Are Added Sugars?
Added sugars are foods that do not occur in foods naturally. Some foods like milk and fruit have naturally occurring sugars, lactose and fructose respectively. Foods with added sugars, on the other hand, contain sugars that have been added to them in various amounts often to enhance flavor. Foods with added sugars include sodas, yogurt, candy, and even some breads.
Why Do Added Sugars Matter?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest limiting added sugars in the diet to no more than 10% of total calories. Added sugars provide calories but very little nutritional value. Oftentimes a diet high in foods and beverages containing added sugars results in a person consuming too many calories. Added sugars provide calories but very little nutritional value.
How Do I Limit Added Sugars?
Look at the food labels. If sugar or another name for sugar like high fructose corn syrup is listed in the first 3-5 ingredients it likely means it is a high sugar added choice. You can also look at the grams of sugar on the food label. Currently, the naturally occurring sugars and added sugars are listed under sugar on the food label. In the future, however when food labels are updated the added sugars will have a separate line on food labels making it easy to tell how much sugar is really added to the product.
What are some healthy ways to satisfy a sweet tooth?
Incorporate choices that naturally contain sugar like fruit:
- Sliced fresh with a 1 Tbsp of whipped cream
- Frozen fruit bars
- Baked Apples
- Homemade Applesauce
- Chocolate Avocado pudding
Switch from Milk to Dark Chocolate
Depending on your choice dark chocolate typically contains less added sugar than milk chocolate choices. Look at the percentage on the front of the dark chocolate label. The higher the percentage the less added sugar.
Try cocoa roasted nuts
Look for nuts that are lightly coated in dark chocolate or cocoa powder. Just keep the portion to ¼ cup or less.
Make Your Own Hot Chocolate
Try making your own hot chocolate using unsweetened cocoa powder. You can control how much sweetener you need to add.