Last week you learnt all about sugar cravings – what they are, why we have them and how to keep them firmly under control. Yet with Christmas just around the corner, it could prove even more difficult than usual to resist all of the sweet temptation on offer. That’s why this week we’re introducing four fabulous solutions for sugar cravings, which will arm you with a heavenly range of healthy alternatives to enjoy throughout the festive season.
1) Make your own chocolate
Christmas is synonymous with chocolate – from alluring advent calendars to seductive selection boxes, this special time of year just wouldn’t be the same without it. Unfortunately regular chocolate is packed with processed sugar and contains a whole host of other unhealthy ingredients, which when enjoyed to excess, can lead to unwelcome weight gain and a variety of undesirable conditions such as diabetes.
Raw chocolate on the other hand, is crammed with a range of wholesome nutrients, which are extraordinarily beneficial for our mental and physical health and can even help us shed a few unwanted pounds. Raw chocolate is prepared from raw cacao, a powerful super food that contains no sugar or milk, virtually no caffeine and is literally brimming with vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Raw chocolate not only satisfies the most severe sugar cravings, it also heightens our libido, improves concentration and fosters feelings of intense pleasure and contentment. And eating raw cacao can demonstrably boost our energy levels, which is particularly advantageous during the hectic party season.
These days you can choose from a wide selection of deliciously indulgent ready-made raw chocolate bars, or alternatively you can have a go at making it yourself. Home made chocolate is incredibly fun and easy to prepare and makes an utterly unique and highly individual present for friends and family. ‘Naked Chocolate’ by David Wolfe and Shazzie contains a mouth-watering collection of raw chocolate recipes and showcases a number of original ways to make use of this most versatile ingredient to assuage your sugar cravings this Christmas.
2) Choose crunchy kale chips
The standard crisps and snacks that we tend to enjoy during Christmas and New Year, are extremely high in saturated fats and teeming with artificial flavours, colourings and preservatives. Unlike potato crisps, kale chips are prepared from raw kale, a highly nutritional vegetable that contains more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. Kale chips are also rich in cashew nuts, which boast a number of beneficial minerals including calcium, iron and magnesium. In addition, they are a superb source of omega-3 fatty acids, which encourage a healthy cardiovascular system, help prevent a hardening of the arteries and successfully manage our blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Although seriously crunchy, kale chips are not fried, but rather dried at low temperatures to ensure that they retain as many of their enzymes and nutrients as possible. A firm favourite with vegans, vegetarians and rawfood fans, kale chips are free from gluten, wheat and soy, meaning that they’re perfectly suitable for those on a gluten-free diet too.
Packed with energy and available in a variety of tempting flavours including exotic Wasabi Wheatgrass, Cheesie Purple Corn and Baobab & Onion, kale chips make a natural party snack that’s more than capable of keeping sugar cravings at bay.
3) Munch on festive fruit chips
Fruit chips are deliciously sweet treats made from generous chunks of pure and unheated exotic fruits such as banana, mango and pineapple. Fruit chips are a sensible alternative to sugary sweets, as they contain absolutely no processed sugars, flavourings, colourings, preservatives or any other additives. And just one handful of these chewy bites, is equal to one of your recommended five portions of fruit a day, as well as being an excellent source of fibre.
A real hit with children, fruit chips can be enjoyed direct from the bag or used to prepare a healthy homemade trail mix that the entire family can dip into whenever a sugar craving strikes. You can also use them to add a tropical twist to traditional Christmas cakes, puddings and pies.
4) Indulge in dried fruits with a difference
If you’re tired of conventional Christmas dates and are looking for something new to indulge your sugar cravings this year, why not try some delicious dried fruits with a difference?
Goji berries are a decidedly festive, deep red colour and similar in size to raisins, making them an ideal fruit to nibble on during the holidays. Their intensely sweet flavour is often compared to a blend of cranberry and cherry and is guaranteed to bring your usual trail and nut mixes to life. And, if you fancy a change from all that fizzy drink and alcohol, you can use these life prolonging, strength building and libido heightening little berries to prepare a refreshing smoothie or invigorating tea that won’t leave you nursing a horrible hangover.
Reputed to be the most nutritious fruit in the world, goji berries are a premium source of vitamin C and actually contain more beta-carotene than carrots. Goji berries not only keep your sugar cravings at arms length, their superior concentration of powerful antioxidants, will help strengthen your immune system and protect you from unwanted Christmas colds and flu.
Mulberries are bursting with valuable nutrients including vitamins C and K, iron, calcium, fibre and antioxidants – all of particular benefit when we’re tempted to burn the candle at both ends. Mulberries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and are revered for their amazing ability to strengthen our immune system, prevent premature aging, lower blood sugar levels, improve our vision and help keep our heart and cardiovascular system functioning properly.
With a supremely sweet, honey-like flavour that’s sure to satisfy the sugar cravings of even the sweetest tooth, dried mulberries can be enjoyed straight from the bag, as a tasty addition to breakfast dishes, trail mix, home made raw chocolate and all of your favourite Christmas desserts.