Caramel popcorn, hot fudge sundaes, soda, or ice cream: most of us succumb to our sweet tooth now and again. But when cravings become more frequent or too strong, it’s time to reconsider our food choices. More and more studies are showing that sugar is not our friend. When it comes to our skin, studies show that sugar actually ages us.
Sugar consumption contributes significantly to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. These are key players when it comes to our skin’s ability to remain resilient, supple, and young looking. Sugar has also been shown to deactivate the body’s natural ability to fight potentially damaging outside influences like UV rays, smoking, and pollution. This leaves us vulnerable to severe skin damage and advanced signs of aging, and even opens the door to skin cancer.
A little pre-planning can help us make better choices.
The healthier suggestions listed below will put the kibosh on cravings while controlling calories and supplying nutrients that our body can use:
- Reach for Stevia instead of sugar. Stevia is a naturally sweet derivative of the Stevia plant. It has zero calories!
- Use cinnamon and nutmeg to wake up your taste buds instead of your usual sweetener. They also help to control blood sugar levels.
- Squelch cravings with plain Greek yogurt. Top with fruit or mix with a ‘dab’ of maple syrup.
- Blend a frozen banana to make ‘ice cream’ or dip one in dark chocolate for an extra anti-oxidant boost.
- Make chia pudding by mixing 1 rounded tablespoon of chia seeds with ½ cup of flavoured almond milk. Let stand for about 10 minutes to thicken.
- Blend low fat cottage cheese with fruit or sprinkle with cinnamon for an extra protein boost.
- Load up on Vitamin A. Mash a cooked sweet potato for a filling treat.
- Freeze leftover grapes. Pop in your mouth as snacks when you need something sweet.
- Let the natural sweetness of coconut water calm a raging sweet tooth.
- Check out the latest tea flavours at your local grocery store or tea emporium. Many of the new dessert teas have zero calories.
- Grab a pickle. Eating something sour quickly deflates a sugar craving.
- Eat a teaspoon of coconut oil once or twice a day. Not only will it provide you with a source of good fat, but it will reduce cravings. Slip it into smoothies or stir fries if you find it hard to consume off a spoon!
Take the guilt out of your guilty pleasures by choosing snacks wisely.