Monday 5 November 2018

Exchange These Traditional Treats For Their Healthier Alternatives

About 54% of U.S. adults are currently trying to reduce their weight, and with the holiday season right around the corner, it may become a bit more difficult to keep up with any positive dietary changes you've made thus far. A lot of people give into their sweet tooth temptations around this time of year, simply because chocolate, pumpkin spice, apple cider, and all sorts of delicious confections are so abundant. But with some diligence, you can indulge your sweet tooth in a healthier way all season long. Without further ado, here are just a few easy and healthy substitutions to make for some of your favorite and most authentic seasonal sweets.

Dark Chocolate (Substitute for Milk Chocolate/Caramel)

Fun-sized candy bars are all the rage during and after Halloween season, and you likely have an abundance in your home now that the holiday is over. Unfortunately, it's easy to lose control of how many pieces you're actually eating. Instead of indulging in a mountain of Hershey's, Snickers, or Twix, get crafty in the kitchen by making your own dark chocolate treats. 

"Good quality dark chocolate is full of health-promoting antioxidants. Choose organic to eliminate pesticide worries and as high cocoa percentage as your taste buds tolerate," writes Debra Kaszubski on The Oakland Press.

Keep in mind that this tip isn't just for candy, but for all types of sweets: for example, about 90% of U.S. households regularly indulge in a sweet, frozen treat, so consider getting innovative and making your own dark chocolate-dipped bananas or apples to substitute for traditional sugar-filled candy or caramel apples. Dark chocolate is incredibly versatile, so you'll have no problem finding the perfect substitutions for your liking. 

Frozen Fruit (Substitute for Sweeter/Fruity Candies)

Before you open up that bag of Skittles, think about the added sugar and artificial fruit taste. Skip the harmful ingredients and keep yourself satisfied by swapping them out for frozen fruit instead. We've already discussed the delicacy of making dark chocolate-dipped bananas to substitute traditional candy bars, but when it comes to fruity candies like Skittles, frozen grapes make the perfect substitution. They provide a slight sweetness with exponentially higher health benefits. Frozen strawberries are ideal as well. Keep some frozen fruits available in your freezer, and before long, you may even forget that you wanted Skittles in the first place!

Other Tips

As mentioned, staying diligent and proactive about these substitutions is the best way to keep up with your health goals. That being said, moderation is also an important factor. It's okay to indulge in a Snickers bar once in a while, but don't just absentmindedly munch away out of boredom.

Similarly, you should keep your dental health in mind when consuming any type of sweet treat. Researchers have recently found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster, and Red Bull resulted in about 3.1% enamel loss, and some traditional candies and treats have an over-the-top sugar content that's just as damaging. For this reason, it's best to drink some water after indulging in a sweet treat to limit the amount of sugar that sticks to your teeth. 

Finally, if you're having trouble deciding which sweet treat in which to indulge, it helps to consider protein content as well. For example, peanut MandMs are healthier than their traditional alternatives because of the protein content. Of course, making your own dark chocolate almonds are even better, but one step at a time.

According to the CDC, each year, one in six Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages, but many of the traditional treats you see after Halloween are just tricks. Keep your healthy lifestyle in mind this season by giving these alternative treats a try!

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