Thursday, 8 March 2012

Satisfying the cookie monster

In our office we have a sweet corner where people bring in sweets and biscuits for the team to enjoy and with a readily available source of unhealthy snacks it can be hard not to indulge a bit too frequently.

This afternoon I had a real sweet craving and the chocolates were definitely tempting me but fortunately I had a bag of dried figs in my desk so had a few of these instead to satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking my lent resolutions.

Sugar has an addictive quality, so the more biscuits and chocolate you eat the more you're going to crave them. But the fact is that even the healthiest of us will have sweet cravings every now and then.

The key to dealing with them is to have a healthy sweet option to hand so you've no excuse to eat the sugary option.

For work, unsulphured unsweetened dried fruit are a durable sweet desk snack. Go for the lower GI options - figs, apricots, apples and pears, for a high fibre treat, but don't go crazy and eat a whole packet. Make sure you store them in a lock and lock container to keep the mice away.

Fresh fruit is obviously a better option, but not something you want to leave in your desk for a long time.

Fruitus muesli bars or Nak'd fruit and nut bars are also good at satisfying a sweet tooth without sending you on a blood sugar rollercoaster and are nice with a cup of rooibos tea.

At home I have more options:

I always have some flavour of St Dalfour jam and non-sweetened nut butter at home, plus gluten free bread in the freezer (either dietary specials or warburtons wholegrain rolls), for a healthy peanut butter + jam toast combo!

I keep frozen berries in the freezer and have some ground almonds and agave in the cupboard to make a mini raspberry crumble for a sweet pudding.

In winter I also love stewed apples or tinned pears with cinammon and rice milk custard (make with custard powder and rice milk, no sugar necessary).

Rice pudding can also be made with rice milk and some vanilla essence and served with a dollop of raspberry St Dalfour for a comforting school dinners style pudding.

For those days when you need to eat out of a tub get some Booja Booja ice cream for your freezer. It's non dairy and sweetened with agave - there are lots of flavours (vanilla, coconut and maple pecan are my favourites), you can order these from or get them from your local health food store.

If you can't resist the cookie jar and have to keep biscuits in the house for your partner or family, then get yourself some gluten and dairy free biscuits. These are usually still made with sugar but are less moreish and unhealthy than regular biscuits.

If only chocolate will do it for you then get yourself some dark chocolate bars with 75 per cent minimum cocoa, a couple of squares will hit the spot.

For days when I've got a bit more time I'll make a chocolate mousse with cocoa powder, silken tofu and agave, or some vegan pecan chocolate brownies with gluten free flour.
Recipes are on my recipe page:

None of these puddings are perfectly virtuous so you shouldn't be having them every day, but they are so much healthier and balancing than eating properly sugary treats so it's worth making the switch and you'll still feel like you've had a treat.

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