If you’re trying to eat a healthy diet, you might feel like you must give up treats completely. However, feelings of deprivation can lead many people to give up their healthy lifestyle and return to old habits. For that reason, it can be a good idea to learn to incorporate healthy treats into your diet.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can eat healthy, while still enjoying a treat.
Many of your favorite treats can be made healthier by making a few simple ingredient swaps. You can make healthy oatmeal cookies by swapping out the white flour, butter and sugar for healthier alternatives.
Mashed banana and peanut butter act as a binder and provide sweetness, while also providing healthy fat and valuable nutrients. You can experiment with different mashed fruits and nut butters in your favorite cookies and cake recipes.
Healthy versions of your favorite snacks should probably be your go-to, but sometimes you just really want the original.
The good news is, you can still have it. If you find yourself craving your favorite slice of cheesecake, go ahead and eat it, just don’t eat all of it and don’t eat it all the time. Try a few bites and savor them.
With most rich desserts, if you pay attention, the satisfaction you get after the first few bites steadily declines. Most of the time, you’re finishing off that dessert not so much because you want it, but because it’s in front of you.
Planning to eat a smaller portion can provide you with the same satisfaction level, without derailing your healthy eating plan.
If you love vegetables, then you can skip this section. However, if you’re one of those people who finds it a struggle to work more veggies into their diet, this tip is for you.
You can turn the food you don’t like into a treat you’ll enjoy by combining the food you don’t enjoy with foods that you do.
For instance, you can enjoy all the healthy nutrients and fiber of leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, by blending them into a delicious smoothie with your favorite fruits. The sweetness of the fruits can mask the bitterness of the greens.
You can also add other healthy ingredients, such as plain Greek yogurt, nut milk and avocado to the mix to add a creamier mouthfeel.
You’ve probably heard people call fruit “nature’s candy.” There’s a good reason for that. Most fruits have a natural sweetness to them.
Eating more fruit can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth, while also getting the benefit of the nutrients, fiber and water fruits contain. Most fruits taste great without doing anything to them, so they can make a great choice for an easy and portable treat.
However, you can also get creative and transform the fruit into a healthy frozen treat, mix it in with your yogurt, oatmeal or cereal, cut it up and put it in your salad or combine a bunch of different types and make a fruit salad.
Nuts & Nut Butters
If you prefer your treats on the savory side, consider nuts and nut butters. These foods are calorically dense, so you will probably want to stick to small portions, but they can also be a great source of healthy fat and protein.
Nuts and nut butters are pretty delicious as is, but you can also use them to make no-bake cookies, granola, trail mix, candy and a variety of other tasty treats.
You may not think of chocolate as being a healthy treat, but studies have shown that dark chocolate can have health benefits.
If you’re watching your calories, you’ll probably want to stick to small amounts of it, but a few squares of high-quality dark chocolate can satisfy your chocolate cravings, while also providing you with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and other nutrients and antioxidants.
You don’t have to give up the foods you love to eat a healthy diet. Making smart swaps, controlling your portions, trying out some new flavor combinations and adding naturally healthy treats to your diet can keep your taste buds satisfied, without compromising your health.
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Bio: Paisley Hansen is an avid student of health and fitness and overall well-being. She has devoted herself to the field, loves acquiring new knowledge about anything related to health and fitness, and leads a very healthy lifestyle for her family to follow.
In recent years she has decided to share much of her knowledge in this field. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book, outside with her family or at the gym.