Indulging Your Sweet Tooth
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, avoid heartburn, or simply eat healthfully, you needn’t give up sweets. Just watch how much you eat.
Let’s face it: Almost all of us have a weak spot for some sweet indulgence.
Whether it’s chocolate, ice cream, cookies, cake, or doughnuts, life would be
pretty darn blah without a treat from time to time. And we’re not talking about
trying to fool yourself into thinking a baby carrot is actually a Snickers bar.
We’re talking about the real stuff.
The first piece of advice you should follow, says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD,
author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet, is “Dump the fat-free
“Ounce for ounce, most fat-free desserts are just as calorie-rich as the
higher-fat version,” says Somer. “And even if they are low-cal, you aren’t
giving yourself a leg up by eating a whole box.”
For many of us, temptation means chocolate, despite its calories and
tendency to trigger heartburn. The solution for both your diet and your
heartburn? Think small but luscious.
If it’s chocolate you’re craving, then nothing but chocolate will do, says
Somer. She suggests cutting up any kind of fruit you like -- strawberries,
bananas, pineapples, and melons are good choices -- and then dipping the pieces
in chocolate syrup (dipping in, rather than pouring on, will help you keep a
handle on the calories). This gives you the chocolate taste you want with the
nutritional value of the fruit.
You can also indulge your chocolate fantasies, Somer says, with a mug of hot
chocolate (made from high-quality cocoa or chocolate bars, not the powdered
instant variety), or a couple of Mallomars (those chocolate-covered marshmallow
cookies that are only available from September through March -- buy ahead and
put in the refrigerator or freezer so you can ride out the hot summer months
when the cookies aren’t produced).
Or try a square or two of a creamy dark (as opposed to milk) chocolate, such
as Dove, which is not only satisfying but rich in antioxidants too, says Cindy
Moore, MS, RD, director of nutrition therapy
for The Cleveland Clinic. A few (and that means just a few -- read the label
for serving size) Hershey’s kisses or miniature Hershey's bars can also feed
your chocolate fix without derailing your diet.
Fruit and Creamy Sweets
If you’re in the mood for something creamy, flavored yogurt or plain yogurt
that you can mix with honey and fruit can often do the trick. So can small
portions of pudding; the pudding cups you pack in your child’s lunchbox are
ideal. If it’s ice cream that you really want, says Moore, skip the
scoop-yourself containers and buy single-serving novelty treats such as
fudgesicles, creamsicles, even chocolate-covered ice cream bars. You’re more
likely to limit your portions if they already come in a single serving, Moore