For those of you that are kicking off 2016 with change in eating, giving up those cakes, donuts, and sodas, or doing some form of reboot or reset with your diet, I thought I’d share a few of my tricks of the trade in still being able to satisfy that sweet tooth.  The idea of giving up foods that you love can seem daunting and restrictive, which can often lead to yielding to temptation.  Instead of just taking things away, it’s good to able to have a variety of additional options.  With that said, I like to have a list of things that are healthy or give me an alternative to the sweet or non-healthy foods that I can turn to when I get those cravings, so consider these:

Need Fizz?
Instead of soda, try using seltzer water, which has no calories, sugar or carbs, and add some fruit puree, fruit juice, or blend/mix your own lemonade or blended fruit.  Keep in mind that fruit juice can have as many calories or sugars, so when you mix in juice, try 2 parts seltzer water to 1 part juice.

Get Smooth
Instead of that shake or malt, try making fruit smoothies or slushies. A mix of your favorite fruit(s) with yogurt or almond milk, or ice can be just as much of a nice cold treat. Some I recommend include:
– Pineapple + mango + coconut milk + ice
– Apple + spinach or kale + blueberries + banana + almond milk (can add protein)
– Frozen strawberries + raspberries + blueberries + water/ice + honey to taste

From Cakes & Cookies To Muffins & Pies…Huh?
Baked goods (cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, etc) are notoriously high in fat and calories, so a few options are English Muffins, Bagel Thins, Graham Crackers. A few things I like are:

– Peanut Butter spread over Cinnamon-Raisin English Muffins or a Cinnamon-Raisin Bagel Thin
(bagel thins are only 100 calories, depending on the season, you may find other Apple, Pumpkin English Muffins)
– Cut up apples, peaches, pears, or berries sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg & a little sugar, and then baked
(you could put this over an English Muffin or Bagel Thin too)
– Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust (100 Calories) filled with your favorite yogurt & topped with fruit or granola

Fry Lovin’
Instead of stopping at a fast food restaurant to get fries, get some sweet potatoes, cut them up in thin long strips, season to taste and bake.

Natural Chips & Dips
If you are trying to rid yourself of the processed Flaming Hots, Doritos, Fritos, and other types of chips, just find a bag of white, yellow or blue corn tortilla chips (just make sure you read the label, they should have just corn, salt, and oil). These with a variety or either guacamole, pico de gallo/salsa, and even mango or pineapple salsa are great!  You can find some good salsas at the fresh section of Whole Foods, Jewels, Pete’s Market and other stores.  I’m a label reader and so I encourage you to make sure to find some where you know what all the ingredients are, it’s not that hard.  Hummus with cut up cucumber, carrots & pitas are a great snack too.

Frozen Treats
You know you can buy frozen yogurt that has low fat and even no fat as a replacement for ice cream.  One of my favorite treats is cut up kiwi and strawberry over frozen yogurt and evenly topped with sprinkles of crushed Teddy Grahams.

Feel free to try any of these and let me know what you think or even email me some of your own creations…have fun!

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