Sugar is a tough habit to kick; some may say worse than cigarettes or nail biting. And like nicotine, once sugar is in your system, it is terribly difficult to get it out in an effort to stop the cravings. Even one taste of the sweet stuff after a long hiatus can pull you right back into the sugar world. And once it’s back, good luck trying to get rid of it again.
Because there is so much evidence on the evils of sugar, more and more people are desperately trying to conquer the hold that sugar has over them. However, without satisfying some of our sweet tooth cravings, there's a good chance a sugar binge is on the horizon which will sabotage so much of our hard work. So, if you find that sugar cravings still exist despite your best efforts, see if one of these guilt-free, sugar-free foods hit the spot. We're quite positive it will do the trick!
1. Natural Juices: Juicing is all the rage right now and with good reason. You get a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other good-for-you stuff in a bottle. Always look for juices that are 100% natural which means the only thing in them are fruits, vegetables and other natural ingredients like ginger or turmeric. The fruit from the juices are sweet enough that you won’t believe nothing has been added to it. The best part is that they often pack one heck of a superfood punch. (Read 6 Juicing Tips for Beginners)
2. Black Bean Brownies: Who can resist a warm, fudge brownie? Pretty much no one, which is why those fatty, sugary ones can be replaced with a healthier black bean modification. The beans provide the fudge texture while honey or pure maple syrup (not the processed pancake type) provides the sweetness. The chocolate part comes from unsweetened cocoa powder. Add some vanilla, some eggs and some baking powder and you are good to go. Sweet, healthy and full of fill-you-up fiber so you don’t eat too many. Try Chocolate Covered Katie's black bean brownie recipe!
3. Kale Chips: You might only eat kale chips with a spicy or garlicky taste, but some kale chips come in sweet flavors that use coconut, pineapple and pure maple syrup to make them taste more like a crunchy dessert rather than a salty chip. Next time you are itching for kale chips, choose the sweet, sugar-free variety to satisfy that sweet tooth.
4. Cocoa or Cinnamon Coated Nuts: Nuts of all varieties are an easy and delicious way to get your healthy fats. But if eating the raw or unsalted kind doesn’t interest you, maybe ones that are covered in cocoa powder or cinnamon might be more to your liking. These natural sweeteners make eating nuts a lot more fun while satisfying that urge for something sweet. Try this homemade recipe for Cocoa Roasted Almonds from Clean Eating Chelsey. She says they're so easy even a 3-year-old could make them!
5. Cashew Butter: Of all the nut butters, cashew butter is probably not at the top of most people’s lists. But this surprisingly sweet spread is not only delicious, but full of healthy fats. Make sure you buy natural cashew butter where nothing has been added to it. Spread it on a piece of fruit for an even sweeter treat. (photo credit)
6. Raw Protein Bars: Eating raw (as opposed to in the raw) is gaining momentum since cooking foods can sometimes strip away its healthy nutrients. Raw protein bars are always made up of only natural foods that use ingredients like coconut, raisins, dates, cacao and fruit as their sweeteners. This also makes them great for vegans and those who need to eat a gluten-free and/or soy-free diet. Try our Easy Homemade Lara Bars!
7. Fruit Pops: Fruit is naturally sweet all on its own so a frozen natural fruit pop is a great way to satisfy that sugar craving and even cool you off on a hot day. Look for fruit pops that only have fruit as their ingredient. If there is any hint of added sugar or corn syrup, skip it. Better yet, make your own so you know exactly what's in it! Try this recipe for Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles from The Whole Life Nutrition® Kitchen! Delicious and adorable!
8. Raw Chocolate Bars: That’s right, you can still eat chocolate and have it be completely guilt-free. Raw chocolate bars, like raw protein bars, are made from low-glycemic sweeteners like coconut sugar, raw honey or especially sweet fruits. Not to mention, it uses cacao butter and powder to give it that smooth, rich taste. An added bonus is that most raw chocolate bars are organic, lower in calories, lower in sugar (sometimes as low as 1g per serving) and brewing with antioxidants that are not diminished by the cooking process that regular chocolate goes through before consumption. Take a few minutes and try this easy Paleo Chocolate Bark recipe.
Good for you if you're trying to give up sugar. Seriously, we know it's a feat! By eating some of these naturally sweet and healthy alternatives, you won’t even miss the white stuff. And because many of these foods are natural, you are not just getting your sweet fix, you're getting nutrient-dense foods that do great things for your body!