Fruits that indulge your sugar cravings
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying something sweet, if you have a hard-to-satisfy sweet tooth, looking for alternatives that will help scratch the itch — sans added sugar — is a great way to support your health in the long run. Enter fruit.
Here is a roundup of six especially sweet fruits, all recommended by food experts, that can serve as great substitutes when your next craving strikes.
- Dates: This sweet, chewy, tender and ever-so-slightly smoky dried fruit is a stellar choice if you’re craving something sticky and sweet like pecan pie, said Liza Kimminau, manager of Bumble Bee Juice in Easton, Maryland.
They’re naturally full of fiber, potassium and antioxidants, and plenty sweet when eaten plain. You can also make a more substantial snack by halving the fruit, adding a teaspoon of your favorite nut butter and sprinkling on homemade granola.
- Fresh figs: Figs are sweet, hearty and full of flavor — all qualities that make them a great substitute if you’re craving something somewhat dense like a nut cake, Kimminau said They’re also a great source of fiber.
For a sweet breakfast, lunch, snack or dessert, top a couple of slices of your favorite whole grain or sprouted grain toast with organic ricotta cheese. Then, add fresh, sliced figs on top, Kimminau recommended.
- Red grapes: These plump orbs are bursting with sweet, tart flavor, plus vitamins C and K, and antioxidants. “Perfectly ‘poppable,’ grapes are the ideal snack when craving something sweet and fun to eat, like candy or popsicles,” Kimminau said.
For a frozen, mini popsicle-esque treat, try Frosted Grapes: Rinse your grapes, stick them in the freezer and enjoy once thoroughly chilled.
- Pineapple: This tropical, slightly floral fruit is loaded with fiber, vitamin C and bromelain, an enzyme that may help with inflammation and digestion, said Sara Haas, RDN, registered dietitian and author, who recommends freezing cubed pineapple for a chilled treat.
You can also mimic the flavor of pineapple upside down cake by sprinkling large slices of pineapple with cinnamon and allspice and placing them on a nonstick grill, suggested Jess Swift, M.S., RD, a Washington, D.C.-based chef and registered dietitian. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until the pineapple begins to brown.
- Wild blueberries: Along with an earthy sweet taste, this type of blueberry, slightly smaller than the farm-grown version, delivers fiber, vitamin A, potassium, folate and vitamin C, said Haas. Add a handful of these to your morning bowl of cereal the next time you’re craving a sugary breakfast cereal. They also pair well with plain yogurt for a sweet and creamy snack, she said.
- Peaches: This juicy fruit, a moderate source of vitamins A and C, is plenty sweet, but it becomes even more delicious when transformed into a healthy version of a peach galette.
To do so, cut the peach in half and sprinkle it with cardamom and ginger. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until the peach begins to soften. Drizzle with a balsamic glaze and top with fresh mint, Swift suggested.
EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at eatingwell.com.
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