At HTF we believe all foods and beverages can be part of a healthy lifestyle if they are consumed in moderation. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Americans are recommended to limit added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories as part of a healthy diet. For example, if you were on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, no more than 200 calories (approximately 50g) should come from added sugars. Added sugars are syrups and sugars that are added into foods. They can have a wide range of names found on nutrition labels such as honey, brown sugar, dextrose, fructose, maltose, and sucrose. Added sugars tend to be in most processed foods such as ketchup, breads, and beverages. Naturally found sugar in foods such as fruit and milk are not considered added sugars.
Sugar in excess can inhibit weight maintenance and loss, but also lead to obesity, type two diabetes, and heart disease. So how can you still enjoy sweets while staying within the recommendations? The first step is to eliminate as many processed foods as possible. This allows your discretionary calories in sugar, to be used on the foods and drinks you love the most all while staying within the recommendations. The second step is to reduce portions when it comes to sweets. Slow down and enjoy. The third step, is to start to consume sweets that have a better nutritional value. Be sure to watch calorie and portion sizes. Lessen the amount of sugar needed to still satisfy a craving. Here are some of our favorites for all the dessert lovers.
Fruit – Fruit is naturally sweet while still providing nutritional benefits.
- Mini Banana Sandwiches
Cut up a banana. Place a dab of peanut butter between two slices of banana.
- Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites
Coat blueberries with non-fat Greek yogurt. Place on a piece of parchment paper then freeze
Dark Chocolate – Dark Chocolate is rich in antioxidants.
- Chocolate covered strawberries
Place a small dab of melted dark chocolate on the tip of strawberries. Place on parchment paper, wait until the chocolate dries then place in the fridge.
- Chocolate covered raisins.
Place a small dab of melted dark chocolate on the tip of raisins. Place on parchment paper then wait until the chocolate dries.
Reference: US Department of Agriculture