In working with
clients one of the first things we frequently
address is their sweet cravings.
Perhaps I attract clients with sweet
cravings because I have a sweet tooth of my
own. It’s been there since childhood, when
my grandmother always kept our freezer
stocked with homemade cakes and cookies. What
In overcoming my
own sweet cravings, I have become an
expert at helping my clients and
workshop attendees break through theirs.
Does this mean I never eat cake or cookies?
Of course not. That wouldn’t be any fun! It
just means I don’t feel that need to have
them as frequently. That’s my goal for my
clients. I help them
tweak their diet so they aren’t always
fighting a desire to eat the more
refined sweets like candy, cookies, cake, and
See, when I work with
clients I don’t just say “stop having sweets,
they’re bad for you,” I say
“let’s figure out WHY you’re having the sweet
cravings.” This is where my approach varies
a bit from a traditional nutritionist. In my
experience, both personally and with clients,
a sweet craving is a sign that something is
out of balance. By
addressing the imbalance and therefore
reducing the craving, my clients can eat
healthy without feeling deprived.
One of the
reasons we all get sweet cravings
is because we don’t have enough sweet flavor
in our diet. Ideally, we want a balance of
sweet, salty, bitter, and sour tastes in our
diet. We typically don’t get sweet flavor in
our meals and so we look for a sweet treat
such as candy or cookies.
What would happen if
we added some healthy sweets to our meals?
I’ve experimented with this
personally and with my clients and it works
like a charm. When I talk about healthy
sweets I’m mainly talking about sweet
vegetables such as sweet potatoes, winter squash
such as butternut, beets, and
carrots (especially cooked
carrots). How often do you eat these foods? I
will frequently make a batch of one of these
sweet vegetables on the weekend and keep them
in the refrigerator so I have them on hand
when I want something sweet – either as part
of a meal or a snack.
If you cook them
right, they’re honestly like eating candy.
Plus, they are packed with
nutrients and fiber. Sweet potatoes are my
personal favorite. The trick is to bake (not
microwave) them at 450 degrees for one full
hour. Yes, an hour is a long time. Simply set
a timer and go watch TV or make some phone
While I’m certain
that eating more sweet vegetables will help
you with sweet cravings, there
may be other things going on that are causing
your cravings. Often when I work with
clients we find there is a combination of
three or four reasons behind the cravings and
we go step-by-step to address each one.
Food Focus: Beets
This once forgotten vegetable is making a comeback! Beets are such a good source of colorful anti oxidants that are needed for good health. They’re easy to cook and they are one of the sweet vegetables, mentioned in my last newsletter, that help reduce sweet cravings.
Beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, but they are also very low in calories. Aside from the sugar, beets contain powerful nutrients that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.
Cooking Beets with Only 5-Minutes of Active Time
While beets take a while to bake, they’re very low maintenance and take only 5 minutes of active time. Simply set a timer and go do something else.
1 bunch of beets (about 3)
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets in foil. Place on baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool. Peel beets. Cut each into 8 wedges.
Place beets in a medium size bowl and toss with the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
You can serve on a salad, over greens, or simply eat them on their own. Enjoy!
Once the beets have been cooked, the skin will literally slide off as you drag your hand across the beets. To avoid staining your hands, wear gloves or put olive oil on your hands before handling the beets.