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by Anne Finch, Accredited Practising Dietitian for LiveLighter


Have you got a sweet tooth? Roll with it!

We reckon working with what we like, and knowing what’s achievable for us is critical to making long-term behaviour changes. So instead of banishing sugar and beating yourself up about any transgressions, here are some ideas for nutritious sweets, and strategies that can help curb the cravings.

When eating out

1. Listen to our hunger cues

It’s not easy! Particularly when we have expectations around what we’re going to eat (like, if we always have dessert, or it’s included in the meal). Get comfortable taking a moment to check in with your body. How full are you? What do you feel like eating? You can learn more about mindful eating over here. Listen to your body, and if you want cake... enjoy it!

2. Two spoons

It’s a classic solution! Share dessert with a friend. This way we can savour a little sample of a sweet treat, and not feel like we’re missing out.

Three young women smile as they share a piece of cake

3. Doggy bag

This is obviously not ideal for… say, ice cream… but many cakes and sweets will be just as good tomorrow… maybe even better! It’s like a bonus dessert, and can be eaten at a ‘hungrier’ time (which, let’s be honest, isn’t always at the end of a meal out).

4. Walking feast

After a meal, why not have coffee or dessert at a different location? Enjoy a walk, give satiety (fullness) signals a chance to kick in, and explore a different menu.

Home, sweet, (at) home

1. Listen to your hunger cues

Yep, again :) For better or worse, we’re creatures of habit. Sometimes we fall into habits, and they can easily override our body’s cues. For example, having a biscuit with a cup of tea. We might eat the biscuit (not a problem), even if we don’t particularly feel like it (mindless eating alert!), because that’s what we always do. One tip to break a habit, is to change up the whole routine. Instead of trying to have the same cuppa without the biscuit, try having a different hot drink, taking it to a different location etc.

2. Convenience is key

Many snacks and sweets are pre-packaged and ready to eat. To match that ease and convenience, our nutritious swaps need to be just as easy! Have that watermelon cut up, the trail mix mixed or the home-made muffins ready to go in the freezer.

Slices of watermelon on a small wooden chopping board. A knife sits next to the board and a larger piece of watermelon is in the background.

3. Elevate your fruits

We can probably all agree that an apple isn’t going to cut it when we’re feeling like a luxurious sweet treat. But how about… dragonfruit? Or frozen jackfruit? Or pomegranate? Or grilled pineapple? When we get out of our banana/ apple/ orange comfort zone, there’s some very fun and fancy fruits to explore! And while they might be pricier than our staple fruits, they’re usually still cheaper than a café cake or tub of ice cream. Aaaand they’re a good source of fibre, vitamins and some minerals. Win!

4. Nutritious snacks and desserts

We’ve got loads of recipes for sweet snacks that are easy to whip up or keep in the freezer. They’re built around core foods like wholegrains, fruit, nuts and dairy/ dairy alternatives. But we’re also all for keeping it simple! Peanut butter and banana on toast, a handful of dried fruit and nuts, or some fresh, canned or frozen fruit can also hit the spot.

Two short glasses containing a chocolate coloured pudding topped with fresh blueberries and raspberries

Three tall glass jars containing a creamy chocolate coloured liquid. Each glass contains two light blue paper straws. Small ramekins sit next to the glasses, one contains dates and the other contains chickpeas.

Four icepoles sitting on a light blue plate. Each icypole has a different colour. A few raspberries are scattered on the plate.

A white ceramic plate with two slices of bread topped with ricotta, sliced banana and sliced strawberries. A cup of black tea sits in the background with the teabag still in it.

Two white ceramic bowls containing a wet mixture of oats, peach slices and cranberries.

A white ceramic bowl containing sliced apples covered in cinnamon topped with a dollop of yoghurt. A whole apple sits in the background.

Healthy habits

Quitting sugar, “eating clean” and fad diets will come and go. These approaches are destined to fail and come with an extra helping of guilt for “failing” the diet. Listening to our bodies, making changes we can sustain, and being kind to ourselves are the healthy habits that can improve our health and wellbeing.

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