A few weeks ago, I posted my favorite healthy substitutions. Today I’ll tackle some common, unhealthy, sweet food vices and do my best to give you healthier versions to replace them. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating kale and spinach all day (though I do recommend eating at least one of these every day). Eating healthy is delicious and fun. Hopefully this post can prove that.
- Candy Bars – Candy bars contain the most addictive combination: fat, salt and sugar. The three together are more addictive together than separately.
- Substitution: Kind Bars -Be careful as not all Kind bars are created equal. Kind has several delicious flavors that only have 4-5 grams of sugar. Packed with nuts, gooey sweetness and chocolate or caramel drizzle, these are as delicious as any candy bar. The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt are my personal favorite. This is the cheapest I’ve found them.
- Licorice – Licorice is full of processed sugar, artificial coloring and artificial flavoring. Pretty much the worst ingredients you can buy in a grocery store are in licorice. Yet the sweet, chewy flavor can be so addicting.
- Substitution: Fruit Leather – These Stretch Island Fruit Leathers are our favorite. They have a smooth texture, great flavor and don’t have the seeds a lot of other fruit leathers have. They contain no artificial flavor or color and are sweetened naturally.
- Taffy – Like licorice, taffy is full of processed sugar, artificial coloring and artificial flavoring. They are soft and chewy and delicious. But since they mostly claim to be “fruit flavored,” why not just go strait to the source and eat some chewy, sweet fruit.
- Substitution: Medjool Dates or Dried Figs – Medjool dates are often described as nature’s candy. They are softer that most dried fruit and are very sweet. Make sure you don’t get dates with added sugar. Trust me; they’re PLENTY sweet on their own. Dried figs aren’t quite as sweet or soft but are still sweet and chewy.
- Ice Cream – Ice cream is a staple in so many American homes. It’s a fast, easy dessert and everyone loves it. Yet it’s full of processed sugars and artificial flavoring. Even if it’s free of anything artificial, it’s still packed full of sugar.
- Substitution: Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream – This ice cream is all natural and has no added sugar. It contains the same ingredients you’d have in an afternoon snack. What more can you ask for?
- Cupcakes – Cupcakes became the rage several years ago. Yet with all the sugar, they’re not doing you any favors.
- Substitution: Chocolate Banana Muffins – Top these with some all natural peanut butter and it’s almost like you have a frosting.
- Shakes – Ice cream, milk, candy. What’s not to love? High sugar, that’s what!
- Substitution: Healthy Chocolate Peanut-Butter Banana Shake – This creamy, delicious shake is sweetened naturally with bananas, has healthy fat from the peanut butter and has extra protein from the powder. This is healthy enough for a breakfast but also makes a delicious dessert.
- Breakfast Pastries – Breakfast pastries generally have everything your body doesn’t actually want first thing in the morning. Sugar, processed carbs and almost zero protein.
- Substitution – Healthy Orange Cherry Breakfast Scones – This gives you the sweet you want but in a very natural way. Since almond flour is the base, you don’t get that blood sugar rise that comes with processed, white flour.
- Coffee – A lot of people are addicted to coffee and can’t function without it. While I can’t offer you a substitution that will give you the same energy spike (besides healthy diet and exercise), there are several things that can give you the coffee taste without the addictive caffeine.
- Substitution – Teeccino Herbal Coffee – Teeccino is a combination of herbs that has a taste similar to coffee. It comes in tea bags and so can be brewed without any fancy equipment.
- Substitution – Roastaroma Herbal Tea – This tea is a combination of chicory, carob and other spices.
- Soda – Soda basically represents all that’s wrong with the American diet. Sugar, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, packed with calories. Even with all that, many people can’t go a day without their soda. My personal favorite is La Croix, but I understand that a lot of people want that sweet fix you don’t get with la Croix.
- Substitution – Sparkling Water and Sweet Drops – Sweet Drops are bottles of flavored, liquid stevia. There are so many flavors you can make your own combination. My favorites are root beer, hazelnut, English toffee and chocolate raspberry. Just add drops to taste in your sparkling water and you have soda.
- Oreos – There’s just something about sitting in front of a movie with Oreos and a glass of milk that makes life better… until the next day when you feel like crap and guilty for over-indulging.
- Substitution – These detox cookies from A Clean Bake give you the sweet, chocolate fix in a natural, high-protein way and taste amazing dunked in almond milk. I used almond butter instead of peanut butter and they were very satisfying.
So the next time you need a sweet fix, consider reaching for one of these. Just give it a try. You can still have a treat without regretting it later. What are your favorite sweet substitutions?
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