Curb your sugar cravings

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Got a craving for something sweet? Don’t let those sugary foods overcome you this holiday season. Dr. Laura Christoph, Professor of Nutrition, shared some healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Curbing Sugar Cravings
Just as we get motivated to “spring clean” our diets, grocery stores pop up with Cadbury cream eggs, jelly beans, and chocolate bunnies. Also, as the weather improves, ice cream begins calling our names! Try these strategies for satisfying your sweet tooth without breaking the Calorie bank!

Craving chocolate?
Try dipping some fruit in dark chocolate. A small piece of dark chocolate each day is found to lower blood pressure and is rich in cancer fighting antioxidants. However, its bitter taste leaves those with a sweet tooth wanting more! Try dipping some sweet fruits such as strawberries, pineapple, and apples in to the dark chocolate dip, and get a bit of natural sweetness rather than the sweetness from added sugar! Making these is also a fun activity the whole family can enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Fruit Dip

Ingredients:
24 slices or sections of assorted fresh fruits, such as tangerines, tangelos or clementines, Asian pear, bosc pear, pineapple, Granny smith apple, organic strawberries with tops, or thick slices of banana
4 ounces organic dark chocolate, chopped*
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
Set slices of fruit on paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Melt chocolate in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes.**
Pour chocolate into 3 shallow soup bowls. Stir cinnamon into one bowl, cardamom into the second and cayenne pepper into the third. Dip one side of each slice or section of fruit into chocolate. Place fruit, coated sides up, onto a wax-paper-lined plate. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes.

Craving ice cream?
Try this frozen banana+ cocoa concoction. The banana provides sweetness, and the cocoa satisfies our indulgent chocolate craving and provides a little fat for creamy texture.

Simple Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
3 frozen, peeled ripe bananas
2 tablespoons of high quality cocoa powder (full-fat is recommended)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Milk of choice, if needed, to help with the blending process

1. In a food processor or powerful blender, blend the bananas, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract, until smooth. If needed, drizzle in milk of choice to make a creamy texture. Don’t add too much however, or it will turn into a thick smoothie. If your bananas weren’t very sweet for whatever reason, you can add a little sweetener.
2. Serve right away for a soft serve texture. Or place in a lidded container and freeze for an hour or two (not more) to harden.

Craving peanut butter?
PB2 is a powdered peanut butter product that has had the fat extracted, and it gives great peanut flavor to dishes without the fat. Try a peanut butter “milkshake” that is super high in protein, and much lower in saturated fat and sugar than a traditional shake! This is a great choice for after exercise on a warm spring day.

PB2 Milkshare

Ingredients:
8 ounces milk (I used 2%)
½ scoop of French Vanilla Designer’s Whey 100% Premium Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon PB2
1 Tablespoon Chocolate PB2
½ cup ice
½ frozen banana

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until combined.
Serve immediately.

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