I know that my last topic was all about moderation, but I feel compelled to discuss it again — this time with a little story. My boyfriend, who takes very good care of himself, has what I would diagnose as a bread addiction. (Sorry, Matt, I told the world!) However, all week long, he does not touch a morsel of bread. He eats a super lean breakfast; salads, deconstructed sandwiches or burgers with no bun for lunch; and then whatever I cook for dinner, which typically doesn’t involve bread. Then the weekend rolls around, and one of those nights typically involves a dinner at a restaurant where there is a bread basket. With only one foot out of the car as we arrive at the restaurant, he will say, “I think I’m going to eat the whole bread basket tonight.” He means it, he does it and he smiles the whole time while he’s doing it.
The moral of this story is simple: deprivation leads to overindulgence. If you have something you love so much that you have to actively think daily to not eat it, you should instead find a healthy way to incorporate it into your day. Having one piece of bread each day of a seven-day week is actually much better for you than having the whole basket at dinner once a week.
The same can be said for dessert. If you love dessert, find a happy medium — something that is small and satisfies that sweet tooth without undoing your whole day.
Need some ideas? I’m glad that you asked.
For the bread lover, this is simple. Find a thin-sliced bread that is whole grain and maybe even has some flax seed in it. For example, sandwich thins, fitness breads, sprouted grain breads, thin-sliced whole grain breads or even crackers like Wasa crackers should help satisfy that urge. Thin-sliced breads are the same as regularly sliced breads. I can understand if you just can’t eat this. We all have our “things.” If you hate thin-sliced breads, just have one slice of a regularly sliced bread, but still be sure it is a 100% whole grain choice.
For the dessert lover, there are many options, but you have to be open minded. I have a huge sweet tooth — thanks a lot, Dad! — and what has worked best for me recently are preportioned desserts. The ice cream in the gallon tub doesn’t work in my home; sometimes, I feel like it’s just calling my name when I open the freezer, so I have ended my relationship with gallons of ice cream. However, some of my new favorites include Dole Banana Dippers, Chobani Bites and just plain dark chocolate. Each provide a little bit of nutrition and satisfy even the meanest of sweet tooths. The Dole Banana Dippers are dark chocolate-covered banana slices. They are proportioned, 100 calories of pure joy. Since they are frozen, they take a little longer to eat, which can help trick your brain into thinking you have enjoyed a little more than you really have. Along that same line, you can try freezing the “fun-sized” candy bars, but keep it to only one.
The Chobani Bites are 100-calorie treats as well. They have delicious flavors like mint chocolate and coffee chocolate, and they also contain protein. If you are feeling ambitious, you can make your own delicious Greek yogurt treat. Take plain 0% Chobani yogurt, mix in either pure mint extract or pure vanilla extract to flavor it and then mix in one tablespoon of dark chocolate chips. This combination is delicious and even nutritious! There are so many options out there to satisfy your sweet tooth, but remember to keep it light. Try new things, watch your portions and try to incorporate at least one healthy ingredient in your evening treat.
I hope that this post makes you realize a little more that the things you love don’t need to be forbidden. When they are tagged as forbidden to us, we then crave them more and in larger quantities. We then have a greater opportunity to overindulge. Satisfy your cravings in healthy ways each day so that your indulgence never crosses the line into overindulgence.