Friday, 31 July 2015

Beat sugar cravings with these 20 sweet treats – a visual guide

We all know that fresh fruit is the healthiest way to end a meal but sometimes it just doesn’t cut it. Your body sends out signals for something small, decadent and sweet to finish off your dinner. Just enough to satisfy without blowing the whole day’s intake. Just enough to rein in a craving. When a sweet craving strikes, try ONE of these 20 treats that range from healthy to semi-healthy and then indulgent – depending on your mood and what’s on offer.
I’ve done the hard work and counted the kilojoules for you so here are 20 sweet treats that are all under 600 kilojoules (145 calories), the official snack cut-off figure. So now you have a pleasant way to finish off a meal in a divinely tasteful, guilt-free way.

Overcoming the Tim Tam Trap

If you’re trying to lose weight, one small treat each day makes good sense. It will keep you on track and stop you breaking the diet with a wild binge. The trick is to keep it small, 600kJ or less.
Use my Snack Limiter Rule – serve up your small treat on a small plate or in a bowl or plastic tub, the quantity you’re going to eat, no more or less. Close up the pack of biscuits and put it away. That way, there’s no temptation and no endless treats facing you for mindless eating.
We’ve all experienced the Tim Tam Trap – treats so delicious that you can’t stop at just one. And distracted by TV or a magazine, you don’t notice your hand going back and back for a second and a third. Until – horror – you notice that half the pack has been eaten. Select one treat that you like from below so you’ve got something to look forward to.

6 healthy sweet treats


Serving: Small punnet of blueberries Treat1 BlueberriesWeight: 120g
Kilojoules: 470
Calories: 112
Nothing beats the sweetness, lightness and ease of blueberries. Pop into your mouth and crunch. Figures also apply to a medium-sized mango, or a small bunch of grapes, or a punnet of strawberries, or an average piece of any fresh fruit. Choose what’s in season and within your budget. Read why berries are one of my favourite super foods thanks to their vitamins and antioxidants. 

Prunes (dried plums)

Serving: 6 prunes, pittedTreat2 PrunesR
Weight: 72g
Kilojoules: 375
Calories: 88
I must confess a weakness for the dried plum. Prunes are always in my cupboard ready to be popped into my mouth when I need a pick-me-up. They’re not overly sweet but have that complimentary tartness that really appeals. A handy snack that can always be there in your cupboard. And of course they’re famous for keeping your insides regular!

Raisin toast with ricotta

Serving: 1 slice raisin bread or toast with 1T ricotta Treat3 Ricotta toastR
Kilojoules: 530 

Calories: 126
Quick, warming and satisfying on a cold day. Fruit loaf warms you up without sending your blood sugars into a spike as it’s low GI. It’s got around the same kilojoule and fat count as regular white bread but with a little more sugar due to the sultanas or raisins. Wholemeal fruit loaf is healthier and gutsy but not always available. Store in freezer and defrost a slice as needed. Spreading ricotta instead of butter also cuts the fat content of this snack.

SPC Fruit Snack – Peaches and Apricot

Serving: 1 small tub from the supermarketTreat4 SPC tubRR
Weight: 120g
Kilojoules: 262
Calories: 62
Keep a tub of these fruit pieces in your desk drawer and you’ve always got a sweet fruity snack on hand. At almost 15 grams carb per serve, it represents one standard carb portion if you’re on a diabetic diet. Yes it contains added sugar but don’t slurp the syrup; just lift the fruit pieces up and out and you’ll be ahead. Or look out for the no-added-sugar types.


Treat5 DatesServing: 7 dates, pitted
Weight: 45g
Kilojoules: 545
Calories: 130
Yes they’re sweet and sugary but I find snacking on 7 dates cuts a sugar craving dead. And you get a bonus: lots of bowel-beneficial fibre plus potassium, an essential mineral that keeps blood pressure in check. I love ‘em!

Fruit puree pouch

Serving: 1 pouch of SPC Power PulpTreat6 Puree
Weight: 150g
Kilojoules: 444
Calories: 106
Pouches of puree aren’t to my liking but they’re popular with kids, sweet, quick to pack and convenient. Just open and squeeze into your mouth! They’re all fruit but remember that there’s nothing to chew and little fibre, so they don’t satisfy as long as real fruit.

5 less-healthy sweet indulgences


Serving: 4 liquorice twists
Treat7 LiquoriceRRWeight: 50g
Kilojoules: 597

Calories: 142
Compact. Long-life with a unique flavour. I’m partial to the odd chew on liquorice but it has to be the firm twist or strap, not the soft eating type. Despite liquorice’s herbal angles, let’s not kid ourselves – this is STILL confectionery with its load of sugar, colours and flavours. If you eat slowly, four twists can go a long way …

Jellied fruit

Serving: 1 tub fruit set in jelly
Treat8 Jelly fruitWeight: 40g
Kilojoules: 348

Calories: 83
Keep a couple of tubs of fruit set in jelly for those cravings for something sweet and soft with that childhood nursery-nostalgia of Aeroplane jelly sweets. At 348kJ, it’s not going to blow the diet and you get to dream in peach, apricot, pineapple or mango.

Sesame bar

Treat9 Sesame barRServing: 2 sesame snaps (half a small packet)
Weight: 20g
Kilojoules: 446
Calories: 106
This sesame honey treat suits a craving for something crisp and crunchy along the lines of hard sweets. They take a while to chew your way through so they’re quite satisfying. They give your mouth a good workout.


Serving: 8 marshmallowsTreat10 MarshmallowsRR
Weight: 40g
Kilojoules: 556
Calories: 132
You don’t have to toast them over a campfire or wait 15 minutes before consuming. Marshmallows with their soft mousse-like interior are a common treat food. With no fat, only sugar, you can bite into 8 and still say under 600.

Snakes and jellies

Serving: 5 snakesTreat11 SnakesR
Weight: 64g
Kilojoules: 600
Calories: 143
Don’t know about you but soft jellies such as snakes or jelly babies are a big weakness for me. So I have to put them out on a plate to save myself heading back for more and more. These definitely give you a sweet hit of pure sugar but are a real taste experience.

6 chocolate indulgences


Serving: 2 small treat-size chocolate bars, dark or milk
(individually wrapped to prevent theTreat12 spareR Tim Tam Trap) or
about 5 squares
Weight: 25g
Kilojoules: 555
Calories: 132
Yes you can eat chocolate if that’s what you’re craving but it’s only a small amount – two snack bars or about 5 squares or any other combo that adds to 25 grams (just under one ounce). Make sure you sit down, close your eyes and eat it slowly. Really make this bit last.


Serving: 2 Smarties snack boxes or about 20 smartiesTreat13-SmartiesRR
Weight: 26g
Kilojoules: 520
Calories: 124
If you have a weakness for Smarties then aim for two of their snack boxes (about 20) to get you through that chocolate craving. It gives you a Smartie hit without blowing the whole thing.

Chocolate wafer biscuit

Serving: 1 Tim TamTreat15 Chco wafer biscRWeight: 18g
Kilojoules: 400
Calories: 95
Yikes! At 400kJ, I can only have one of these decadent biscuits, or more accurately 1 ½ biscuits which is ridiculous as I'd eat TWO of them. I know and you know. Chocolate is the most concentrated of foods so it’s only a little that fits under the 600kJ cap so you can only have ONE. Three mouthfuls which hopefully is enough to satisfy without sending you screaming for more.

Dark chocolate pieces

With their antioxidant polyphenols, small amounts of dark chocolate have more than taste to recommend them. You can find out more about it in my article Dark chocolate - health food or guiltless treat?
Serving: 3 Dove Promises Treat16 Dark chocR
Weight: 21g
Kilojoules: 489
Calories: 115
Dove have been around for years but their latest wrapped “bites” of chocolate offer a handy advantage over the large slab blocks. You have to unwrap each one which slows down your eating and you can count them out on a plate so you don’t go back for more – without getting your fingers all sticky!

Choc mint

Serving: 1 Nestle Mint PattieTreat17 Chco mint pattieRR
Weight: 20g
Kilojoules: 360
Calories: 85
I’m a sucker for mint combined with chocolate, so I thought of this old favourite. It’s also good as it is individually wrapped and sold as just one, so you can’t demolish the whole pack as you could with chocolate mint biscuits or a whole box of chocs.

Whipped chocolate

Serving: Nestle Aero Bar (1/2 bar or 3 pieces)Treat18 Aero barRR
Weight: 20g
Kilojoules: 450
Calories: 107
Another popular chocolate treat that tempts you at train stations and newsagent sweets counters everywhere. Sadly it’s only half a 40g bar so eat half now, half tomorrow. See my post on How a whipped chocolate can give you more volume for fewer kilojoules inLight chocolate.

3 frozen treats

These treats will help you out when only ice-cream will do.

Single-serve mango ice cream

Serving: 1 Weis Mango and Cream bar Treat19 WeissbarRR
Weight: 80g
Kilojoules: 482
Calories: 115
Single serve means portion control is done for you. And these mango bars really hit the spot with their luscious taste and smoothness.

Ice cream

Serving: 1 scoop regular vanilla ice cream *Weight: 70gTreat20 IcecreamRKilojoules: 570
Calories: 136
Ice cream really hits the spots when it’s hot and humid outside. Or you’ve been working hard physically.
Plus you get a bit of calcium (yes!) and protein. OK so I’m justifying already.

Light ice cream

Serving: 2 scoops low-fat or light vanilla ice cream*
Weight: 80g
Kilojoules: 546
Calories: 130
Treat21 Lite icecreamRYou get roughly two scoops compared to one of regular ice cream but there is a trade-off with less flavour and mouthfeel so it’s up to you. If you love LOTS on your plate and don’t mind the drop, a low-fat ice cream can make you feel content and satisfy that sweet craving.
*  You can throw over a handful of fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries or the pulp of a passionfruit. Negligible kilojoules.


7 Weight Loss Secrets – Changes You Can Make In One Minute

There are some tricks of the trade for staying slim for some women. Why do they keep it a secret you ask? I am not sure, but I wanted to find out what I’m missing. Are there some tips that can help my weight loss journey hit that extra leap? Whether we are losing the baby weight, new relationship weight, or just the day to day extra poundage, it seems you don’t have to completely overhaul what you are doing to start losing inches.
In some studies it has shown that the littlest changes in your lifestyle can actually help the pounds fall off effortlessly, and stay off. That re-gain of the same 10-20 pounds can be a real pain!
Here are some secrets that have been proven to work! And they won’t make you want to pull your hair out while you go grab that Snickers out of the vending machine.

1. Drink TeaCatechins and antioxidants found in green and white tea may accelerate fat burn, and boost metabolism. Women who had the highest amounts of those vitamins from the tea has shown to weigh less than those that don’t sip the brewed stuff.
Here is a recipe for a Homemade Raspberry Sun Tea
2. Enjoy Your Lunch
Eating slowly and enjoying each bite creates a hormone that gives you feeling of fullness. It can also help you avoid getting gas, and stay slim simultaneously. So ditch the distractions like watching television so you can enjoy and savor each bite.
3. Eat Your Breakfast!
I know, you have heard this one since you were a kid, and still hear it from all the nutritionists out there, but it is so true. People that have been eating breakfast since they can remember have a waistline that is about 2 inches smaller than people who skip the meal. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals eating in the morning can help rev your metabolism and can make less of an enzyme that can raise cholesterol.
4. Eat at the Same Time Everyday

It can help drop the pounds. A study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California showed that when mice ate scheduled meals and then fasted for 12 hours at night, their liver burned more sugar and fat. so get your dinner in at the same time if possible, it might speed your weight loss effortlessly. Wouldn’t hurt to give it a try right.
5. Drink Water First Thing
When you first wake up, have a glass of water on your night stand to down as soon as you wake up. Researchers at Virginia Tech reveal that if you drink about 16 ounces in the morning helped people lose about  pounds more than non-water drinkers. Water is filling and if you drink it before a meal you can eat approximately 75- 90 calories less. Drink up!
6. Weigh Yourself
It might be hard to look at sometimes, but the habit helped non-dieters stay on track. Checking out the fluctuations can help you keep on track if it gets to be too much. You can fix your diet for the next few days, because you know where you stand.

7. Workout in the A.M.
Exercising on an empty stomach in the morning improves glucose tolerance, which helps your body burn fat.  Which in turn helps you lose weight faster.

What are some tricks you do to help keep the pounds away? Comment below! I would love to hear any tricks you've found effective and helpful!


Post-Workout Recovery: Banana, Almond Butter, and Coconut-Water Smoothie

After a long, sweaty run, you need to refuel and rehydrate fast. Whip up this quick coconut-water recovery smoothie from ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes, who is also a spokesman for ZICO. Packed with electrolytes, protein, and carbs, this mild-tasting smoothie is delicious without being overpowering. "It's probably my favourite recovery beverage," says Dean, who recommends you opt for pure, unsweetened coconut water for the best balance of electrolytes and sugars. Read on to get the recipe!

Monkey Flip Recovery Smoothie

Smoothie to Drink After a Workout


350 mls of pure, unsweetened coconut water
1 banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
2 tablespoons plain non-fat Greek yoghurt
Stevia or honey to taste
Ice to preference


Add all ingredients to a blender, then blend until smooth.


Drinks, Smoothies 

3-Ingredient Snacks For Under 150 Calories

When you need to grab an easy snack, check out one of these recipes that are made with three ingredients or less! Craving something sweet? Whip up these popsicle-like yogurt- and chia-seed-covered frozen grapes. Each 10-grape serving is just 52 calories. Keep reading for more simple snack inspiration.

Frozen Banana Pops
Make these treats with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen — you only need a banana, yogurt (I used soy), and chocolate chips. One popsicle is 78 calories.

Baked Cinnamon Banana Chips
These irresistible sweet little gems are seasoned with cinnamon to satisfy sugar cravings, and the addictive chewiness might have you devouring the entire batch. But don't worry — half a batch is under 150 calories.

A frozen snack to satisfy your ice cream cravings, these smudgies are made with banana, peanut butter, and graham crackers.

Vegan Banana-Oat Protein Balls
Made with just rolled oats, protein powder, and banana, each 47-calorie ball offers 2.7 grams of protein.

Dried Cantaloupe
Bonus! This snack is only one ingredient and each delicious, chewy serving is just 25 calories!

High-Protein Banana and PB Snack
If you love the classic combo of banana with peanut butter, jazz your snack up by adding protein powder.

Striped Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather
This snack couldn't be easier. All you need is applesauce from the jar and cinnamon. One serving is just 18 calories.

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Another frozen treat, this dessert is made with just frozen bananas and creamy peanut butter, so it makes a healthy 150-calorie snack.

Chunky Apple Orange Almond Spread
Juicy, sweet, and made with just an apple, raw almonds, and a little orange juice, thisspread is only 42 calories and tastes delicious served on crackers.

Fruit and Nut Bars
If you like Larabars, make your own fruit and nut bars! These 148-calorie bars are made with almonds, dates, and raisins.

Kabocha Squash Fries
Squash isn't just for dinner! When french fry cravings strike, bake up these squash fries.

Carrot Chips
Craving potato chips? Make a healthier version using carrots — each serving is just 79 calories.

Almond-Butter- and Granola-Filled Dates
Cut a date in half, remove the pit, fill it with some almond butter, top with granola, and yum! This snack tastes like dessert.

Kale Chips
Bake up a batch of these crispy chips, made with just kale, olive oil, and salt and pepper.


Thursday, 30 July 2015

How to Lose Weight Without Giving Up Dessert

You don't discriminate. Whether we're talking about cakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream, cupcakes, chocolate, doughnuts, muffins, cheesecakes, or sundaes, you get excited about it all! Sugary sweets bring you so much joy, but they also send you shopping in search of larger jeans. Don't fret! We have your sweet tooth covered! Follow these 12 tips and learn how to indulge in dessert without gaining a pound.

Tone It Down
If you can't bake a batch of your favorite dessert without devouring half the recipe in one sitting, make smaller portions of the dish so you can eat one serving and be done. This single serving of chocolate chip banana bread is under 120 calories. One and done!

Find Healthier Alternatives
While nothing beats a hot-fudge brownie sundae, devouring over 500 calories, spoonful by spoonful, can leave you with a bellyache and a side of guilt. Find healthier alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth, whatever your craving is, without sacrificing flavor. If you're obsessed with ice cream, this vegan cherry chocolate chip ice cream is so sweet and creamy and just 126 calories per luscious bowl. And these vegan ice cream popsicles can be made with banana, soy yogurt, and chocolate chips.

Celebrate the Natural Sweetness of Fruit
Fruit is low in calories and high in fiber, so just a little will fill you up. Since a bowl of strawberries probably doesn't get you as excited as, say, a bowl of ice cream, pair your fruit with something slightly more decadent, like these chocolate-mousse-filled strawberries, frozen banana and peanut butter nibblers, or these yogurt-covered frozen grapes.

Add Extra Protein and Fiber
If you increase the nutritional value of your treats, you'll feel much better about taking a bite. While Rice Krispies treats are definitely not considered healthy, you can make then more nutritious by upping the protein. These marshmallow-free peanut butter Rice Krispies treats are fortified with protein powder, so one crispy and chewy square offers 4.6 grams of protein. You can also add beans to cookie recipes to increase the fiber, or throw in some flax meal or chia seeds for healthful omega-3s.

Swap Out Not-So-Healthy Ingredients
While baking with butter is akin to religion, the crazy-high calories and saturated fat found in this tried-and-true ingredient make it pretty unhealthy. Just swap butter out for avocado as in these pumpkin spice muffins. Find other ways to ditch unhealthy ingredients by swapping oil for applesauce in these yummy recipes, or use Greek yogurt in place of butter, sour cream, or cream cheese.

Add Veggies Whenever You Can
By looking at these decadent double-chocolate fudge brownies, would you guess they're made with pureed zucchini? Yep, and around 150 calories per square. You can also add spinach to brownies, some chickpeas to baked chocolate doughnuts, or sweet potato to oatmeal cookies. Veggies increase the fiber and other vitamins of your baked goods, and you can't even taste them!

Cut Down on Sugar
Three cups of sugar in a two-loaf banana bread recipe? That's outrageous! For many recipes, you could easily decrease the sugar by 30 to even 50 percent, saving hundreds of calories, and still have sweet results. Or ditch the sugar altogether and sweeten your recipes with pureed fruit — these fruity muffins are made without a granule of white sugar.

Yogurt For Dessert!
While yogurt is popular for the first meal of the day, its sweet creaminess can also satisfy your ice cream or pudding cravings. These dessert-like topping ideas make you feel like you're enjoying a sundae for much fewer calories.

Dip It!
If a plain piece of fresh fruit doesn't quite satisfy, make it more indulgent by dipping your fruit into something tasty. Try this chocolate hummus that's 100 calories per serving or this creamy peanut butter dip that's just 60.

Go Splitsies
Sometimes nothing can satisfy the very real need for an M&M ice cream cookie sandwich, so don't live without it! But don't devour the entire 260 calories on your own, either. Split one with a friend or, even better, two friends, and you can get a few bites of the flavors you crave without consuming a meal's worth of calories.

Indulge a Little Every Day
Yes, you heard that right! It's obvious that stuffing your face with daily bars of chocolate and pints of ice cream won't help you lose weight, but it doesn't mean you have to give treats up entirely; in fact, it's better to indulge a little once a day. Don't go overboard, but allow yourself a small nibble of something sweet to satiate your cravings and prevent an all-out binge. Here are some 150-calorie desserts you can make yourself, like these chocolate-covered sunbutter cups.

Make Snack Time Dessert Time
Eating one to two 150-calorie snacks a day can keep hunger at bay, so why not use these times to indulge in a little something sweet. These chocolate raspberry truffles are actually protein balls in disguise, offering 3.3 grams of protein per bite. Or crunch on these honey-roasted cinnamon chickpeas. If chocolate's what you're craving, these no-bake brownies are made with oats, cashews, dates, and banana.