When I was a kid, my family would have sweets of every kind lying around the house. When we didn't have egg cake, we had cheesecake in the freezer. I'd almost beg my mom to buy those custard tarts from the supermarket at every chance I had.
Now my guilty pleasure is Chai tea latte and I recently discovered (much to my dismay) that a small 12 oz cup of that heavenly drink contains a whopping 32 grams of sugar! Which easily exceeds the average daily recommended sugar intake of 25 grams for women (37.5 grams for men, according to the American Health Association).
There's no doubt that our bodies have a physiologic connection between carbs and cravings. In fact, sweets trigger an increase in the feel-good hormone in our bodies called serotonin, which elevates our moods. And it gives us that lovely endorphin rush that we get from exercise and sex. Which, if you think about it, sounds a lot better than a slice of cheesecake, right?
The thing is, sugar is hard to give up, and you don't have to give it up completely. Instead of opting for that bubble tea or peppermint mocha, try one of these healthy alternatives to keep those sugar cravings at bay.
1. Cucumber lemon water
No juicer? No problem! All you need is a cucumber, lemon, 2 limes, and a handful of mint. Slice them up, divide between four 24 oz water bottles and fill them up with filtered water. This is perfect for you to drink on the daily. Not only is this super refreshing but it helps flush fat and counts towards your daily water intake. Lemons help in the absorption of sugars and calcium, and acts as a great aid in cutting down your sweet cravings.
2. Black and blueberry power smoothie
This will take you no more than 5 minutes out of your day. If you have a blender, whip together some of your favourite berries plus a banana, almond milk and greek yogurt, and you've got a power smoothie to keep you awake during these cold winter days. Plus, you can definitely skip the sugar for this quick and easy recipe from A Happy Food Dance! Bring on the antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C and calcium.
3. Lean, mean green smoothie
There are just about a hundred of green smoothies that you can find on the web, namely Pinterest, but here's a cool recipe from Half Baked Harvest that I love. It's great for those on a detox or even considering trying a detox. Combine kale leaves, frozen pineapple chunks, mango chunks, orange juice and a banana, and blend them together. You'll feel fresh and clean after one sip of this superfood-filled green smoothie.
4. Apple carrot beet ginger juice
Want to shake up your morning routine? This blender-friendly recipe from Minimalist Baker allows you to juice without a juicer, which gives us no reason not to try it. This juice is loaded with vitamins A, K and beta carotene from the carrots, antioxidants from the beets, and vitamin C and detoxifying benefits from apples. Carrots are a good blood sugar regulator and they're one of the most versatile ingredients for juicing because they're naturally sweet. Pump up the flavour with fresh ginger, packed with anti-inflammatory benefits plus more.
If all of these options aren't enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can always try to replicate your favourite drinks at home with a healthy sweetener such as Stevia or honey. Or, try one of these 17 Starbucks Copycat Recipes.
Interested in learning more? Check out Part 1 on Healthy SNACK Alternatives to Beat Sugar Cravings.