Is There Any Good Sweet Stuff That's Not Bad for You?

Sweet potatoes not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but offer nutrients, too.
Sweet potatoes not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but offer nutrients, too. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When your sweet tooth hits, it's hard to resist the temptation of candy, cake or cookies to soothe the urge. The sugar in the desserts, however, will continue to do harm to your health long after the craving has been satisfied. Instead, curb your desire for sugar by enjoying a sweet treat that's healthy.

Satisfy With Fruit

The sugar in fruit can help your sweet tooth, but it offers a bounty of health benefits, too. The fiber in the fruit tempers the effect of fructose, the sugar found in fruit, says Dr. David Ludwig in an article from "The New York Times." It also contains nutrients, which vary based on which type of fruit you enjoy. Blueberries, for example, contain vitamin C and phytonutrients. Although dried fruit might seem a bit more candylike, it has its pros and cons. It offers the benefit of vitamins, fiber and minerals; however, it's higher in calories and added sugars than fresh fruit, so enjoy wisely.

Fun With Frozen Bananas

Popsicles and ice cream might soothe your sweet tooth, but they're not diet-friendly. Substitute bananas for both -- instead of a popsicle or ice cream bar, dip a small banana or banana slices in dark chocolate and freeze them. You'll get the natural sugar of the fruit, the potassium in the banana and just a taste of chocolate. If you prefer ice cream, freeze the banana sans chocolate, and then put it in a food processor. It makes for a creamy ice cream-like dessert, but it's vegan, gluten- and dairy-free and doesn't contain any added sugars. Vary the flavor by adding a spoonful of natural peanut butter or some local honey.

Chocolate: A Traditional Treat

Not all traditional sweet treats are devoid of health benefits. Chocolate can be good for you, as long as you choose the right kind. Dark chocolate -- the kind with at least 70 percent cocoa -- might reduce blood pressure, lower stress hormones and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Stick to just a bite-sized piece per day, or the equivalent of 1 ounce, as it still contains around 150 calories.

The Sweetness of Vegetables

There's a reason sweet potatoes are the basis of a much-loved pie -- they're high in natural sugar. However, a pie laden with extra sugar, butter and other unhealthy ingredients isn't the best way to ingest these healthy root vegetables. Instead roast them or boil and mash them and enjoy their sweet flavor, along with their offering of beta carotene, vitamins A, C and B-6, plus potassium and fiber. Carrots are naturally sweet as well; roasting them brings out their sweetness even more.

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