A sweet tooth may be part of your DNA. Researchers have found that most babies prefer sweet foods to non-sweet foods. Whether you blame your sweet tooth on genetics or conditioning, having a sweet tooth can make it hard to lose weight.
I grew up in a home where sweets really were a treat. We rarely had dessert, Halloween was a big thing because of the usually forbidden candy, and delectable desserts were reserved for holiday celebrations. Even though my sweet intake was limited when I was a child, I failed to follow that good example when I got older.
I ate way too many sweets and gained a lot of weight. As I committed to losing weight, I had to find ways to satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking my calorie bank for the day. If you want to forgo sweets altogether while losing weight, that’s great. But if you know in your heart you need to find a way to have some sweets and still lose weight, these tips are for you.
1. Bake Your Own
I learned how to make desserts before I could cook main dishes. That wasn’t a good thing for my weight. However, it ended up being beneficial because now I bake my own sweets. I control the ingredients, the amount of sugar and fat, and cut the recipe into smaller amounts to avoid having leftovers.
2. Buy Individual Treats
If baking isn’t your thing or you don’t want the temptation, purchase a small individual dessert and split it with a friend. Good small desserts include an single truffle, a mini cupcake, a small cookie, or a slice of pie. When it’s gone – it’s gone.
3. Learn to Appreciate Fruit as Dessert
I had a friend who always served fruit as dessert. If you begin to think of fruit as a dessert rather than a side dish or a snack, the fruit becomes elevated from standard to special.
4. Give Your Sweet Tooth a Break
The more sweets you eat the more you want them. At least that’s what I’ve found over the years with clients and friends. Declare a sweet moratorium as a way to break the cycle of eating too many sweets. When you do have a sweet again you may be surprised that a little taste goes a long way.
5. Quality Beats Quantity
Dry grocery store desserts in clear plastic containers aren’t worth the calories. They’re just not. If you are going to have something sweet that cuts into your calorie allotment, choose a dessert made with quality ingredients you really love.
6. Don’t Keep Treats at Home
Tempted to eat more sweets than you have decided to have? Don’t keep any sweets at home. Make your home a sweet free zone. That way if you have a sweet craving at 10:00 p.m. you will have to find a healthier alternative because you aren’t likely to get in the car and drive down the road to purchase one.
7. Find Low Calorie Alternatives
Most sweets are high in calories. For example, a single milk chocolate candy bar has about 160 calories. Low calorie alternatives that will satisfy your sweet cravings include sugar free candy, fruit dipped in dark chocolate, gum, frozen popsicles, or a few chocolate covered nuts.
8. Use Your Freezer
If you have sweets at home, freeze them to make it more difficult to eat them mindlessly. Sweets that freeze well include cupcakes, small pieces of cake, most candy, fruit pies, and bars. Cut larger desserts into small individual servings before freezing and wrap well to avoid freezer damage.
9. Turn Down Bad Desserts
Some desserts just aren’t worth the calories. Skip desserts made with ingredients you don’t like. For example, I find it easy to skip any pudding or custard dessert because I don’t care for them. When you say no to desserts you don’t love you are not only saving calories but also increasing your willpower.
10. Place Limits on Sweets
A sweet tooth is a formidable opponent in the world of dieting. One technique I find successful is to allow myself a single sweet each week. I can pass up less than stellar sweets during the week if I know that when Saturday comes along I will have a small piece of something delectable.