The majority of my clients have a little bit of a sweet tooth, as do I, especially after dinner; and whilst in an ideal world our bodies would love it if we could just eat foods “straight from the earth”, the reality is we live in an obesogenic environment.
This Western environment means not only are we saturated with adverts for chocolates and sweets and ice creams increasing our cravings, but we can grab literally any food we want at any time of the day or night relatively cheaply and easily; making it incredibly hard to choose the “fruit” or a “handful of nuts” that we know would be “better” for us, when we are craving a double chocolate digestive!
We can create some incredible lower energy or higher fibre, alternatives to traditional desserts, but modern life is busy and we don’t always have the time to get messy in the kitchen.
There are however some options that we can grab from the supermarket when those sugar cravings hit that won’t impact on our healthy diets. I have listed my favourites below that contain some good nutrients to full the body but are also tasty to meet those cravings. I would recommend not to have more than one daily and make sure you are eating enough fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses or high quality animal proteins.
One thing we need to be wary of is calories, otherwise known as energy, especially if we are trying to lose weight or body fat we need to try and ensure we don’t over eat, and normally we are already full after dinner so it is just the taste rather than the volume we need, so generally a max of 200-250kcals for a dessert or afternoon snack is an upper limit for something sweet that I would recommend daily.
1. Alpro soya coconut yoghurt with coconut shavings and raspberries
Fat free Greek yoghurt is a bit of a traditional go to sweet treat within the fitness industry, some people even add some whey protein for extra flavour, but personally I am not a fan of whey protein and I much prefer Alpros GMO free range than dairy yoghurt, for texture and flavour. Alpro comes in plain variety, high protein variety and lots of different flavours in their small pots, simply add a teaspoon of coconut shavings and top with some raspberries.
2. Grenade bar
I have never been a huge fan of “protein bars”, and do still feel they are a little like chewy glorified chocolate bars; however the Grenade bar has far outdone its competitors for taste and texture; and yes it may be full of additives and flavourings but if the choice is between that or a traditional Mars bar, then the Grenade bar comes out just slightly on top for it’s higher protein and fibre content which may increase feelings of satiety. It is important to note however these are not low calories at 220kcal per bar they contain more energy than a four finger kit kat. I also like the Reflex R-bars and recently tried the Barbells Cashew and Caramel bars which tastes good too; however don’t eat any of these too often or you could get some windy side effects from the whey and the sweeteners.
3. Aldi 85% dark chocolate
I love dark chocolate and always have some in the fridge, however it is best where possible to opt for chocolate with over 85% cocoa as it has anti oxidant benefits too and slightly less refined sugar. To control portion sizes I recommend getting small bars that come in packs of five x 25g from Aldi or Sainsbury.
4. Tesco rich teas
It is so difficult to just grab one biscuit when we stop for a sit down and cup of tea, so rich teas are a great choice as they are lower in calories and sugar than most other biscuits; just try and stop at three!
5. Metcalfe’s Popcorn
There are so many flavours of popcorn available now, it has become a bit of a trend; and anything that is sold in smaller portioned packets is always a good thing to prevent over eating. At under 150 calories a bag, these Metcalfe’s variety are a great choice and perfect for post workout too!
6. Hartley’s 10kcal Jelly
This 10kcal jelly is pretty much as it says on the label, super low calorie and you can even added to yoghurt or fruit to increase its volume!
7. Fibre one bars
These fibre one bars are only 90kcal, they are pretty small to be fair but at that low calorie, you can afford to warm it up and add a scoop of low fat frozen yoghurt too!
8. Waitrose Love Life Frozen Yoghurt
I used to carbohydrate load on this when I was training for an ironman as it was so low fat and high carbohydrate; because of it’s low fat content it is much lower calories than traditional ice creams you can eat half the entire tub for less than 250kcal!
9. Tesco apple fruit bakes with Ambrosia light custard
This is a proper winter warmer – just pop the fruit bake in the oven for five minutes and heat the custard on the hob (or throw it in the microwave if you have one) and in no time you have a dessert that feels like you are sitting in a country pub.
10. Mars Ice cream
The ice cream version of your favourite chocolate bar, is often lower in calories and gives you the same taste, these Mars Icecreams were a childhood favourite and again come in portioned controlled packages!
Ultimately, processed foods is obviously not optimal for our health, but we live in a world surrounded by it, so to avoid us over eating it on occasions and creating an unhealthy craving - binge- extreme restriction cycle attitude to it, it is absolutely fine to enjoy it as part of our healthy lifestyle!
Live life fully