You know that time in the afternoon, normally around 3 pm for me, when you just hit a wall? You’re tired. You’ve accomplished a lot, but there are still quite a few hours left until bedtime.
This is prime time for falling off the healthy eating wagon. Seriously, I’m fairly knowledgeable about healthy eating and fitness – I am a personal coach, and I do write this fitness blog after all.
But that afternoon slump is when I’m most tempted to reach for something completely terrible for me. For me, that’s not a savory treat. Nope. It’s a milkshake, or a brownie, or basically whatever sugar-laden treat I can think of.
As time has gone on, I’ve gotten much better at resisting the temptation. Part of that is willpower, but it’s mostly due to preparation. I made a list of still sweet but much healthier options for that mid-afternoon crash.
If you struggle to resist the sugar monster, here are 10 healthy snacks that will help appease your sweet tooth, without derailing your health plan.
Smoothie bowls are all the rage right now! It’s basically a smoothie, but in a bowl (duh, right?). Eating a smoothie out of a bowl helps you eat slower, which in turn helps you feel fuller faster. You can add delicious toppings like granola, peanut butter, coconut flakes or sliced fruit. This strawberry orange smoothie bowl sounds amazing!
Sweet Tea (WITHOUT Sugar)
Tea has many health benefits and can help your sweet tooth cravings. Try fruity teas like rooibos teas, or herbal teas if you want to avoid caffeine. You can find tea samplers by many different brands. Find the tea you love and make it your go-to when the afternoon sugar craving strikes. Green tea mixed with peach tea makes for a great combination.
There are a lot of ways to use dark chocolate for your sugar cravings. Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and a healthier option over regular milk chocolate. Stick to dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa content. You can eat it on its own or you can melt it and use it as a fruit dip.
Fruit with Nut Butter
Is there any better combination than apple slices or banana slices with nut butter? You can use almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter depending on your taste preferences.
Just don’t go crazy with the nut butter and make sure the nut butter doesn’t have sugar added in. This is a great snack packed with protein.
Not only will the added protein keep you fuller for longer, they’re also really easy to make. Some recipes combine protein powder, eggs, oats, and bananas, though there are many variations. You can also add in fruit, chia seeds, peanut butter and more! Here are 9 protein pancake recipes for you to try out.
Avoid the empty calories of ice cream and replace with nice cream. All you have to do is mash up a few bananas, freeze for about 10 minutes, and enjoy! Use a food processor to make it even creamier. You can also add in peanut butter, dark chocolate chips, and other fruits. Try this 5-ingredient peanut butter cup nice cream recipe – it’s sure to please!
Frozen Greek Yogurt Covered Fruit
Plain fruit just doesn’t hit the spot sometimes. Take it a step further by mixing your fruit and plain greek yogurt in a bowl, then place the fruit on a dish and freeze. Berries are the best option. This is perfect for when you want a little something sweet after dinner.
Just like you can make your own ice cream, you can make your own fruit popsicles which will be a much healthier option over the popsicles found in the freezer aisle. Place cut up fruit in popsicle molds, then pour in enough juice to just cover the fruit. Or blend fruits together and pour into the popsicle molds. Here’s a great recipe for watermelon and strawberry ice pops. Freeze and enjoy!
Chia seeds have become a popular “superfood.” They’re high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and protein, which makes it a great snack option! Chia pudding is nutritious, quick and easy to make, and will quell your sugar cravings. It is also a good breakfast option. Whether you want fruity or chocolatey, here are a few recipes to get you started.
“But I thought you said above that ice cream is full of empty calories.” It can be. However, there are many new ice cream options on the market that have less sugar, fat and other less-than-healthy ingredients.
Try ProYo, Halo Top or Arctic Zero ice cream. These are healthier options and many flavors taste just like regular ice cream!
We all experience sugar cravings from time to time. The important thing is to know when you’re most vulnerable and to have a plan in place before the craving strikes.
And when you do fall off the wagon (because it happens to all of us) don’t use it as an excuse to have a crazy binge. Pick up right where you left off and get back on track to maintain your healthy lifestyle!