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Sweet Swaps

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My favorite Sweet Swaps
Healthy Alternatives to Junk Food and Some Myth Busting Tips

By: Jordan Dafnis, Health Enthusiast and Your Life Arizona Intern
 
I am a girl who can eat and I love good food, especially sweets. Because of this sugar addiction I have found some really great swaps for high calorie junk foods that kills those cravings while still being at least somewhat healthy!
 
Post Meal Treat Options:
 
Dark Chocolate is a great option.- You can even find dark chocolate that has ZERO sugar! WOWZA! 50% or more cocoa is what you’re looking for and if you can find one sweetened with stevia instead of sugar you are going to be set!
 
Here is why we want to choose a less sweet dark chocolate. When you eat something super sweet and packed with sugar it sets of endorphins in your brain, pleasure endorphins, like when you go for a run or drink a beer! Yes those same endorphins can be released while eating food… That is why you can literally be addicted to food and sugar!  By eating something with little or no sugar you are less likely to feel that super endorphin release and you can be happy with a smaller amount.
 
Dark Chocolate is a very high calorie food but it has a lot of beneficial factors and in small amounts it is a great treat! 
 
Rice Cake with Peanut Butter Powder- One of my favorite low calorie snacks, 100 calories or less!  I like to add a little stevia and cinnamon to my peanut butter powder and I use cashew milk instead of water so that it’s a little creamier. It is so good.  You can also find Flavored rice cakes like caramel and chocolate. They are bomb.
 
Enlightened Ice Cream Bars- These are my moms favorite, 80 calories per bar and the caramel flavor is awesome. Halo top is another great lower calorie ice cream brand and Fry’s just came out with one as well.
 
Candy Bar Swaps:
 
ONE Protein Bars- The Almond coconut flavor tastes just like an almond joy and they have cake, cookie dough and other really yummy flavors. These ones are great super high in protein and they have minimal sugar, they are a more processed bar so if you are going for a more natural diet these may be ones to avoid.
 
Go MacroBars and RX Bars- These two are very natural and pretty similar. RX bars have a very short ingredient list of all natural foods, they are pretty high in sugar with around 13 grams per bar.  Go Macro bars are also very natural and though they are called “Go Macro” If you are tracking macronutrients the name doesn’t mean they necessarily have the best “macros”. They are not super high in protein and depending on what bar they have around 35 grams of carbs which is a little high but you may need the energy so if you do, go for it!
 
The bottom line is if you swap out a candy bar for a protein bar you will be doing yourself a favor. Though protein bars have similar calorie content they tend to have less sugars and fats and of course more protein.
 
“Healthy” High Calorie Foods
 
This may or may not come, as a surprise to people but just because something is vegan, organic or gluten free doesn’t mean it’s low calorie.
 
I don’t want to shame eating healthy foods with good, clean ingredients; it is a great idea and overall will do your body some good. But if you are trying to lose weight there are some “clean” and “healthy” foods that may be hindering your weight loss.
 
Organic Sweets- When shopping for food I see a lot of sweets that have claims like “organic”, “natural”, “antioxidants”, “super foods” and more. This is where reading the label is super important! The first ingredient might be “organic raw sugar” … Still just as sugary and fattening as cane sugar. Or they are loaded with fats and are super calorie dense.
 
Eating natural foods is awesome and overall a great alternative to refined and processed sugars and foods, but if you’re going through an entire bag of organic cookies a night, this may be one of the reasons you’re not quite reaching your weight loss goals… I know this because I have been there!
 
Granola- ¼ cup of granola has around 25 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat. !/4 of a cup is a small handful.
 
Peanut butter and all Nut butters have around 16 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons. That’s about one good spoonful. That is a lot of fat. Nuts in general are a very high fat food. Great for your brain but over consumption can definitely lead to some weight gain.
 
Lara Bars, clif bars and similar “healthy” bars – These bars can also be very high calorie and low protein. It is important to read the nutrition facts and the labels. The calories and sugars in lara bars are comparable to the of a candy bar. For example a clif bar has 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbs and 24 grams of sugar!  Yikes… Compare that to an entire two cups of a Reese’s bar has 4.6 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbs and 21 grams of sugar!
 
If you take nothing else from this article please take this: READ THE NUTRITION FACTS AND INGREDIENTS <3 
 
Protein Pancake Favorites
Birch Benders Protein Pancakes- You can find these at sprouts and they are great, low sugar and great ingredients.
 
My Recipe: 
50 g of Birch Benders Protein Pancake Mix
Add ¼ Cup of Stevia
1 tbls of LILLY’s Unsweetened Chocolate Chips
3 tbls of plain low fat or non –fat Greek yogurt or plain low-fat or non-fat cream cheese
2 tbls of Pumpkin Puree’
 
Preparation: 
Mix all ingredients together and cook on stovetop over medium heat in light oil of choice.  About 2 to 3 minutes per side. Enjoy!
 
Food is fuel! How lucky are we to live in a country and be in a place where for a lot of us our problem is that we have too much food and we have trouble differentiating between different qualities of foods. Think of food as your energy source, your gas, your battery power, you want to give it the best quality stuff and enough to feel good and fuel but not to much so that you feel bogged down. Listen to your body and enjoy some treats every now and then. It is not a competition and you should eat good because you want to live a long and healthy life, not because you want to look like someone on instagram. Be smart, read labels, eat clean and train dirty!!
 
Lots of Love, Jordan <3
 
 

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