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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Controlling Your Sweet Tooth

Some people claim they are either born with a taste for sweet or a taste for salt or savor. I've come to believe that on the day I was born, I was asking for the nurse to squirt  chocolate in my baby bottle. Controlling my sweet tooth isn't always easy, but I've found some tricks that I thought I would share.

  • Eat 3 meals each day- If you are skipping meals or famishing yourself with only the crumbs of a 90 calorie granola bar you of course, are going to have difficulty shooing away the nagging sweet tooth. Don't starve yourself! Take the time to enjoy 3 meals per day and include protein, such as nuts, Greek yogurt, and lean meat, and fiber-rich foods, like fresh produce and whole grains, to keep you feeling full.
  • Combine sweet with healthy- If you're like me and the large majority of women, you love chocolate. But if your evil cravings of ice cream drenched in chocolate sauce are pounding your brain, take control and grab a banana dipped in chocolate sauce. You may even want to roll it in crushed almonds and stick it in the freezer! Or make your own trail mix with high fiber cereal and nuts, and throw in some chocolate chips. The point is you'll still be able to enjoy your chocolate but will get the added bonus of vital nutrients!
  • Allow yourself a small treat- Completely going cold turkey and never allowing yourself a sweet treat usually does not last long. I'm a big believer in a well-balanced diet, which means filling your belly with mostly fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean meats with just a "pinch" of nutrient-dense foods like cookies, pastries and candies. So throwing a bite-sized piece of chocolate in your lunch bag to ward off your chocolate fix is way better than indulging in a regular-sized candy bar in the vending machine. Going out to your favorite ice cream shop and ordering a small or kiddie size version of your favorite ice cream is better than bringing home a quart or gallon size container of it similar version at the grocery store.
  • Chew on gum- Okay. So what about those times where you are stuck in a place surrounded by sweets and there is not a single healthy thing nearby? Go to the purse and grab a stick of gum or if at home, run to the bathroom and brush your teeth. I particularly like the mint flavors because even a piece of chocolate tastes weird and dirty after having a fresh clean feeling in the mouth!

There will be times that you will overindulge, but don't beat yourself up over it. Go back to these tips to help the everyday struggle of managing your sweet tooth. And remember; you are a role model for your children. Pass down good and sensible eating habits!

Chocolate Banana Bread

½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup Splenda®
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
¼ cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup finely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together margarine and sugars very thoroughly. Add eggs, bananas, milk, and vanilla; stir well. Add rest of ingredients and mix until just barely combined.

Pour batter into a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan; cool completely before wrapping for storage.

Yield: 14 servings, 1 serving = 1 slice

Nutritional analysis per serving: 198 Calories, 8 grams total fat, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 247 milligrams sodium, 27 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 4 grams protein

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