Chocolate, soda and ice cream -- even just saying the words makes my mouth water. We all love our, but a lot of us don't realize that we're developing an to the sweet stuff. But, when the snack cravings hit, you don't actually have to turn to the food in your cabinets that's . There are plenty of healthier alternatives instead.
Look, I'm not going to tell you that you literally won't notice the difference between soda and sparkling water -- if it was really that easy, we wouldn't be eating so much junk food. But if you're serious about cutting down on your, here are 11 ideas for easy swaps to make that will still leave you feeling pretty darn satisfied.
Swap protein bars for homemade fruit and oat bars
Protein bars are a health food, right? Think again -- some protein bars have more extravagant flavors like Matcha Green Tea Fudge bars or Cranberry Almond bars, all with far less sugar than the ones in the store.. Instead, make your own bars at home. You can create
Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate
You may not have to completely give up your chocolate habit, but you should probably switch to a different type. Instead of indulging in a king-size Hershey's bar, eat a few squares of dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (70% or more). Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate and is rich in iron, magnesium, zinc and more nutrients.
To still get your sweet fix, pair the dark chocolate with a serving of fruit. You can blend unsweetened cocoa powder with a frozen banana for an ice cream knockoff, or melt the dark chocolate and drizzle it over some berries.
Swap fruit gummies for DIY fruit leather
Maybe you've never been a chocolate person, and prefer fruit-flavored candy instead. Besides switching to plain fruit, you can get pretty creative with some homemade alternatives. Try making your own cinnamon and pear fruit leathers, or add fruit to some no-bake energy balls.
You can also make your own strawberry jam with just strawberries and chia seeds and eat it straight out of the jar. I promise I won't tell anyone.
Swap soda for flavored sparkling water
Instead of switching to diet soda (we're still unsure whether that's a good idea) throw some sliced lemon, oranges, mint or cucumber into sparkling water for a refreshing and slightly sweet treat. If it's the caffeine you're after, put a tiny bit of honey into some iced green or black tea.
When you're really struggling to kick your soda habit, you can try weaning yourself off more slowly. Mix some juice with sparkling water, and gradually increase the ratio of the sparkling water till you don't need the juice anymore.
Swap store-bought snack mixes for homemade
Chex Mix, Cheez-It Snack Mix or Annie's Homegrown -- who doesn't love a good salty, crunchy snack mix? When you want to swap your snack mix out for something with less sugar and salt, throw together some mixed nuts, seeds and maybe a few squares of dark chocolate (don't overload your homemade trail mix with M&M's). If it's the extra calories in the snack mix you're trying to avoid, be wary of how many nuts you're eating, as they're fairly high in calories, too.
Swap toast for sweet potato
Bread is another food with tons of hidden added sugar. To replace your afternoon toast, slice a sweet potato lengthwise and pop it in the oven. You can then top with avocado, a fried egg or fruit with some honey.
Swap ice cream for frozen fruit
Ice cream is by far my favorite dessert -- I can down a pint of Ben & Jerry's faster than you can say Cherry Garcia. But that much dairy and sugar leaves me feeling pretty awful later, so I've learned to love eating frozen fruit instead. It hits the same cold, sweet craving, and is also way easier on the wallet than ice cream.
Swap cereal for healthier breakfast options
Sure, sugary cereal is a tasty breakfast, but it's even better as a midnight snack (bonus points for eating it straight out of the box while standing in front of the cabinets). But, since one serving of cereal typically has almost all of your allotted added sugar per day, you may want to choose another food. To replace a morning bowl of cereal, try prepping fruit smoothies or oatmeal ahead of time. For a midnight snack, make some homemade granola and pair with Greek yogurt.
Swap flavored yogurt for plain yogurt with toppings
Danimals and Gogurt tubes were staples of my childhood, and they look pretty darn tasty to me as an adult as well. Instead of eating sugar-filled yogurt that's advertised as healthy (I'm looking at you, Yoplait) throw some fruit and a splash of honey into a bowl of Greek yogurt. You'll get to control the amount of sugar you're eating, and Greek yogurt delivers a good dose of protein, too.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.