Lindsay Vaughn, RD
I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth. I was the kid at the party who could eat nothing but the icing on the cake, a cookie, and a few candies in between running around. I love sugar. But, as a dietitian (and a grown woman), I know that sweets and sugar should be eaten in moderation, not by the spoonful. So, over the years I found healthier ways to satisfy my persistent cravings. Here are a few of my go to strategies for keeping my sweet tooth in check (especially this time of year):
Reach for Fruit
Who doesn’t love a perfectly ripe piece of fruit? Sweet, healthy, and versatile, fruit is one of my favorite treats any time of year. Pears are my go-to during the fall season — especially when they are thrown on the grill (yes, I still grill in October). I also enjoy them as a sweet addition to a grilled cheese and arugula sandwich or in a tossed salad. Whether it is part of a meal, or a treat on its own, fruit helps to take the edge off my insatiable sweet tooth.
Pair it with Something Smarter
Sometimes, something sweet can make healthy foods taste that much better. Top low fat Greek yogurt with sweetened coconut and Goldfish®Grahams, add dark chocolate shavings and berries to your oatmeal, or drink a glass of low fat chocolate milk. The key is to enjoy in moderation. If your "treat" is overpowering the taste of the healthy food you’re trying to eat, you may have gone too far.
Choose Your Favorite
We’ve officially entered the sweetest time of year. For a sugar-o-holic, this can be temptation overload. I found that setting boundaries and occasions for eating sweets is a great way to satisfy my cravings without overindulging. When I am at parties (or around the bowl of Halloween candy), I choose 1 or 2 small portions of my favorite treat, then step away from the snacks and enjoy my friends and family. Planning "sweet occasions" such as parties, gatherings with friends or only after dinner are other ways I set boundaries on my sweet tooth. Because, let’s face it—even with all I know about diet and health, I would still eat sweets for every meal or snack of the day if I didn’t set some ground rules.
Every single food you eat does not need to be “healthy” or a “superfood”. Instead, your overall dietary pattern is what matters most. I haven’t outgrown my sweet tooth, but these tips have helped me maintain a healthy diet without depriving myself of the foods I love.
Lindsay is a nutrition communications analyst at the Campbell Soup Company where she coordinates health professional and consumer communications. She also works with internal and external partners on retail health and wellness programs. Prior to her role at Campbell, Lindsay worked as an in-store retail dietitian. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University and completed her dietetic internship with Pennsylvania State University.