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This One's for Your Sweet Tooth

Simple steps and healthy alternatives to avoid excess unwanted sugar for a healthier you. Try this guilt free strawberry ice cream recipe.

Your sweet tooth has gotten you into lots of trouble over the years. 

All those diets you abandoned for a slice of cake, all the extra calories you took in "just to have a taste of something sweet" before bed. 

Where has it gotten you? 

Into pants that are another size larger. Into your doctor's office for another lecture. Into a body that you no longer enjoy. 

Yes, sweet treats sure are tempting, but the life-long repercussions far outweigh the momentary pleasure.

To help you conquer your sweet tooth, I've identified the five sweet traps you should avoid, as well as a healthy substitute for each. 

Sweet Trap No. 1: Candy 

Nothing gets refined sugar circulating through your body quicker than a fistful of candy—and if you're in the habit of eating candy daily then your body will crave it. 

Candy has virtually no nutritional value, other than caloric energy, and will quickly end up stored on your body in the form of unwanted, annoying fat. 

Try This: Swap your sickly-sweet candy out for a handful of unsalted nuts, a few pieces of unsweetened, dried fruit, or a small square of very dark chocolate (at least 72 percent cocoa content). 

Sweet Trap No. 2: Baked Goods 

Cake, cookies, brownies, pastries, donuts and pies are popular vehicles for sugar consumption. While these may not taste as sweet as candy, the combination of refined sugar and white flour will spike your blood sugar just the same. 

Very much like candy, regularly eating baked goods may become a habit. Break yourself of this and you'll find the number on your scale going down rather than up. 

Try This: Put down the cookie and reach for a piece of fresh, seasonal fruit. Fruit is nature's candy, and is every bit as blissful as a slice of cake. Serving a beautiful fruit platter to guests can be as delightful as any baked treat. 

Sweet Trap No. 3: Ice Cream 

Nothing makes you feel as happy and carefree as a bowl of creamy ice cream ... until that ice cream makes its permanent home on your waist. Very much like candy, ice cream has few nutritional benefits. 

Try This: Let's face it, cold, creamy and sweet makes a delicious combination. Create a healthy protein-packed ice cream with the recipe below. 

Sweet Trap No. 4: Soda Pop 

A regular can of soda pop contains the equivalent of 10 packets of sugar. That's more sugar than you should consume in a week's time!

Soda pop is something that you get into the habit of drinking, and do without thinking. The good news is that a habit can be broken and then replaced with something healthier. 

Try This: Take soda pop out of your diet. Period. There are plenty of other, healthier, beverages available to you. Try the recipes for Spa Water below. 

Sweet Trap No. 5: Blended Drinks 

Smoothies, blended coffee drinks and milkshakes are all tempting treats, especially in hot summer months. Don't give in to the temptation! 

These items are even more deadly than most treats since they are consumed through a straw and don't make you feel full. Let me assure you that even though you don't feel full, like you would after a piece of cake, you're still taking in a boatload of sugary calories. 

Try This: Make your own healthy blended drinks at home by using natural sweeteners like stevia, or simply by using fruit. Take the ice cream recipe below, add non-fat milk, and mix in the blender for a high-protein milkshake. 

Eliminating refined sugar from your diet will do so much for your health, as well as your weight. 

A great thing to remember is that once you've fallen out of the habit of eating sugar, your body will no longer crave it. 

This means that each day spent in discipline will bring you closer to the day that sugar no longer has a hold over you. Imagine how much slimmer and healthier you will be! 

Eating healthy is half of the battle when it comes to fitness and wellness. The other, equally important, side is maintaining a regular, challenging exercise program. 

For an exercise program to be challenging it must always be changing. That's why my workouts are never the same. 

It's my goal to get you into the best shape of your life. 

Beyond Soda

You know that soda pop isn't good for you ... and yet you still drink it. I understand that plain water gets boring–especially when you're having a party or gathering. 

Use the recipes for "Spa Water" below and quickly turn plain water into an exciting and refreshing treat without added sugar or chemicals:

  • Citrus: Slice an orange, lemon, and lime into a large pitcher of water. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Raspberry Lime: Slice a lime into a large pitcher of water, add a handful of raspberries. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Strawberry Basil: Slice 10 strawberries into a large pitcher of water, add 5 leaves of basil. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Watermelon Rosemary: Place 1/2 cup of small watermelon chunks into a large pitcher of water, add two sprigs of rosemary. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Pineapple Mint: Place 1/2 cup of small pineapple chunks into a large pitcher of water, add 15 mint leaves. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Guilt-Free Strawberry Ice Cream

Here's a recipe that allows you to indulge in something sweet, cold and creamy without the sugar rush. Non-fat Greek yogurt is packed with protein, which makes this delicious snack even more beneficial. Feel free to add Stevia In The Raw to increase the sweetness as described below.
Servings: 4 

Here's what you need...

  • 20 organic strawberries
  • 2 cups non fat Greek yogurt
  • optional *1/4 cup Stevia In The Raw*
  1. Wash and hull the strawberries. Mix in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add yogurt (and Stevia In The Raw, if using) and blend well.
  3. Pour into an ice cream maker and run until yogurt is frozen and creamy.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 87 calories, 0g fat, 53mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 13g protein. 

Share this post to motivate your friends, family and co-workers! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michele Griffin July 05, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Love the suggestions. For a future article can you please recommend some great lunches for kids in summer camp. I am running out of ideas and I am sure my kid is tired of turkey,swiss, lettuce, tomatoe, fruit and water and fruit juice. Help! And because there is no fridge or microwave, food has to be able to survive a small cooler.

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