It’s been 13 days.
One of the biggest struggles in taking this challenge has been my craving for dessert. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. It’s been 13… and I feel like my body is still intensely craving what it is used to – sugar, chocolate, ice cream, etc. I wouldn’t say I feel constantly hungry. I still feel like I am fueling my body but, I am still actively craving all my sweets. As a result, I’ve had to find a lot of “dessert” alternatives to cure my sugary cravings. Here are a few great alternatives I’ve used. Even if you’re not taking on this challenge, these are great healthier alternatives you can incorporate into your diet. Not all of these are “deserts” but, the whole point for me was to change my habits. I wanted to crave ending the night with tea, instead of a giant gooey vegan cookie (ugh which sounds delish, by the way).
Tea or other hot drinks
In the morning or during lunch, I usually have a green tea. At night, my favorite drinks are an ACV tonic (just apple cider vinegar and hot water, sometimes I add lemon, chia seeds etc) or herbal tea (I love ginger or anything “fruity”).
This is always a good sweet option. I aim to have 3-4 servings of fruit a day. My go-to choices are grapes, apples, or oranges. I aim to have at least 2 different types of fruit a day.
Larabars/Homemade Clean Energy Bars/Date bars
I love having an energy bar during the mid-day slump (3 PM) or around 10 AM. My favorite packaged bar are Larabars. Currently, I’m loving the Carrot Cake version but, Cashew Cookie is good too! Unfortunately, the ones with chocolate chips have added sugar.
If you are craving something chocolatey, here is my favorite Chocolate Walnut Date Bar Recipe (sub chocolate for the homemade dark chocolate below): https://www.marthastewart.com/1526520/dark-chocolate-walnut-date-bar
Lastly, I cook a batch of oat based bars at the beginning of every week. They’re practically fat-free, super clean and so easy to make.
Christie’s Homemade Energy Bars (great topped with peanut butter!)
Ingredients: 2 cups of oats (quick oats or pulsed in blender to a fine consistency), 1 mashed banana, 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 cup of plant milk, Add ins: 1 tbsp of cinnamon or spices of choices, dried fruit, chocolate chips, flax seed, nuts etc.
Mix ingredients together and place into a 9×5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes. Inside should be cooked, outside should be golden brown. Cut into 9 pieces.
Smoothies/ Protein shakes
I love making a quick smoothie with frozen fruit. Usually I’ll sub this for breakfast but, sometimes I’ll have it as a snack. Add in some organic protein, and you have a quick tasty protein shake. My favorite combination is 1 banana, 1 cup of frozen pineapple, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 tsp of chia, 1 tsp of flax, 1 tsp of Spirulina, 1 tsp of Amazing Grass greens powder. Optional, add in one scoop of vegan protein powder. I blitz it all up with water and voila – super tasty shake!
A play on the smoothies, you can add a little less water and make the above smoothie more of a “smoothie bowl.” Additionally, just blend frozen bananas with some water or plant milk. Add in toppings as you need – cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, etc.
An easy snack are raw carrots, celery or cherry tomatoes. These are easy to munch on when hunger sets in.
Sugar Free Granola
I’ve been loving sugar free and oil free granola recipes. They’re an amazing crunch topping for smoothie bowls. Normally, I’d have these with some vegan yogurt but, sadly a lot of vegan dairy products contain added sugars.
My favorite recipe: https://fitveganchef.com/healthy-vegan-pumpkin-granola-oil-free/
Toast with homemade Chia Jam
I love having sprouted toast with chia jam and peanut butter. This is one of my go to snacks. Jam is often filled with added sugars and making your own is soooo easy!
Christie’s Homemade Chia Jam Recipe:
Ingredients: 1/2 cup of frozen berries (strawberries, mixed berries, cherries etc), 2 tbsp chia seeds
Microwave the frozen berries. Blitz the berry mixture in the blender with all liquid. Add in chia seeds and let set in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Homemade Dark Chocolate
If you’re REALLY craving some chocolate, here’s an amazing homemade chocolate recipe that is VEGAN and sugar free. This is the perfect add on to the date bars or to crush up into some dessert recipes.
Some other recipe resources for inspiration:
I generally have not been using these resources as, I’m trying to avoid many items instead of finding a complete replacement – e.g. chocolate cupcakes without refined sugar. But, if you are simply looking for replacements or some other great recipes, here are a few are a list from some of my favorite bloggers.
The Minimalist Baker Refined Sugar Free Archives: https://minimalistbaker.com/recipes/refined-sugar-free/
Bakerita Refined Sugar Free Archives: https://www.bakerita.com/category/refined-sugar-free/
Top with Cinnamon: https://topwithcinnamon.com/restricted-diet