While we all know cakes, cookies, or other sweet desserts aren’t the healthiest food out there if you are a sweet tooth or cookie monster than I have some great news for you today. These treats can actually be part of an active, healthy lifestyle, and I have said it many times before, moderation or balance is key!
Sweet treats or comfort foods can mess up your diet, so I’m not giving you carte balance to go crazy and stuff yourself with chocolate cake or blueberry muffins every day. Let’s be clear about that.
I often get questions or hear stories about how people really feel guilty when they indulge themselves with an occasional sweet treat (think birthdays, Christmas, holidays or weekends).
As long as you focus on eating a healthy, well-balanced diet most of your time, these splurges will not harm your health, and you shouldn’t feel bad or guilty but enjoy them with full pleasure and savor every little bite.
Find Your Balance
We are all unique creatures with different needs. While some people can go vegan or eliminate sugars from their diet in a blink, others will struggle to do so. And there is nothing abnormal or wrong about that.
I love the saying: “Changing lives, one bite at a time.”
If you are willing to make life-long changes towards a healthy lifestyle, then a step-by-step approach is for most people guaranteed success. Changing too much at once creates a lot of stress and makes most people go back to their old unhealthy habits.
ALSO READ: Easy Ways to Quit Sugar
Once you get your diet under control, you’ll feel much more comfortable about occasionally enjoying your favorite treats or comfort foods.
Here are a few quick tips and tricks to take control over your meals
- Eat a rainbow: foods with different colors house various nutrients. To make sure you get all the nutrients you need, load your plate with a rainbow of colors. Note: I’m talking about wholesome, fresh foods here.
- Balance: make sure each meal includes all the macronutrients: carbs (fruits-veggies-whole grains-sweet potatoes-etc), protein (seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, lean meat/fish for non-vegetarians/vegans, etc.), and a healthy fat (avocado, avocado oil, coconut oil, etc.). However, when composing these meals keep the 20/80 acid-alkaline rule in mind. Click here for more info.
- Display healthy snacks in plain sight: to control your cravings, display healthy treats such as colorful fruits or a mix of dried fruits and nuts in plain sight. Keep cut-up veggies and homemade dips in the fridge. This will help you choose these over other less healthy treats tucked away in your cupboards.
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Pimp your healthy treats
With a growing health-conscious community, healthy snack alternatives are becoming widely available. These yummy treats will make you forget about cookies or cakes.
Here are a few examples:
- Fresh fruits with lemon cashew cream
- Chia seed pudding
- Avocado chocolate mousse
- Healthy, dairy- and sugar-free ice creams
- Kale chips
- Trail mix with your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
- Veggie sticks and homemade dip (kale guacamole, hummus, or ginger-carrot-parsley cashew cream are my fav)
- Yogurt (I love homemade coconut yogurt) and fresh or frozen berries or other fruits.
- Raw carrot cake with lemony cashew frosting
The options are endless. Let your creativity rule!
How to handle the not-so-healthy treats
Like mentioned above, less healthy treats can still be part of a healthy lifestyle, but there are a few guidelines to make the most out of your cheat moments.
- Control portion size: it’s not because you can, you have to eat that entire cake. Keep it at one slice. Serve desserts in small plates or bowls.
- Homemade treats: if you are planning to indulge yourself with a sweet treat, try and make your own. Only then you are absolutely sure what is in them, and you can make your own healthier version without harmful additives, colorants or preservatives…. And maybe add less sugar too.
- Savor every bite: take your time and be mindful of what and how much you put in your mouth. If you are going to leave snacks for special occasions you are going to enjoy them more. So savor every bite.
- Another 20/80 rule to remember: if it comes to nutrition, then the 20/80 seems to be the magic number. I talked about the 20/80 acid-alkaline rule earlier, but there is another 20/80 rule I like to mention here. 80 percent, or more, of what you eat should be whole, nutritious, healthy food and the 20 percent is reserved for treats or other comfort foods. Some people like the save their 20 percent during the week and have a cheat day during the weekend, others find it easier to allow themselves one sweet or savory little treat a day. It is up to. If that makes sticking to a healthy diet easier for you, then please do.
Take home message
Balance/moderation is key. There’s no need to feel bad or guilty when enjoying your favorite treat. As long as you are in control and these treats no longer dominate your diet. Keep them for special occasions, by doing so you will enjoy and savor them more. You’ll see.
Thanks for reading. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.