SWEET TREATS WITH A HEALTH KICK

In Articles by G.I. Lean

We all enjoy something sweet now and again, but wouldn’t it be great if we could satisfy this craving without the sugar? Below are some healthy sweet foods that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

CHOOSE DARK CHOCOLATE

The best way to enjoy chocolate is to go dark, as the antioxidants found in cocoa are higher in percentage in dark chocolate. Try to buy dark chocolate that is at least 72% – the darker the better! Cacao, found in chocolate, has been proven to have blood-pressure lowering abilities and research has shown that it reduces other heart-health issues.Studies have even shown that eating just 25-40 grams of 85% dark chocolate a day can improve your blood flow, which will help maintain blood sugar levels and avoid sugar highs.

EAT MORE FRUIT

Fruit contains natural sweetness, and for an all-round diet of fruit, you should stick to what is in season in your area. Summer seasonal fruits in South Africa include guavas, naartjies, papayas and pineapples. Make sure the fruit you buy is fresh and organic, in order to get the best nutritional value from it. Choose blueberries, strawberries and gooseberries for bite sized bursts of sweetness, and eat dried fruits such as cranberries, peaches and apricots, as these have less sugar than other dried fruits.

RETHINK ROOT VEGETABLES

You might be wondering why root vegetables are on this list, but vegetables such as carrots, beetroot and sweet potatoes are surprisingly sweet. They are also packed full of vitamins and nutrients. Pumpkins and butternut have a natural sweetness, and can be baked into pies for a delicious, creamy dessert. Radishes are also a great root vegetable to snack on, and have a zingy sweet, peppery flavour. Roast a tray of root vegetables, such as beetroot, parsnips and/ or butternut or make sweet potato wedges as a side instead of the usual potato chips.

SIP ON A SMOOTHIE

Home-made smoothies are a great, healthy alternative to fruit juices and concentrates, plus they are absolutely delicious! Add your favourite fresh seasonal fruit or some frozen berries to a blender along with yoghurt, milk or even organic nut butter for a delicious, creamy treat. Smoothies are better than ice cream or milkshakes because you don’t need to add any extra sugar, and there are no unhealthy chemicals or additives.

GO GREEK – YOGHURT THAT IS!

Greek’s yoghurt smooth, creamy texture may make you feel as if you’re indulging in a sinful dessert, but it is actually very good for you. This creamy yoghurt is calcium rich, which helps with weight-loss but it also has double the protein of normal yoghurt, which means that it will keep you fuller for longer during the day, curbing your craving for a sweet snack. It is also low in carbohydrates which means you can include it in low G.I. diet plans. Add delicious toppings to your Greek yoghurt, such as berries, honey or muesli for breakfasts, or make it decadent and mix in cherries and dark chocolate pieces – both of which are full of anti-oxidants.