Healthy eating can come with many challenges.
In many cases, the most significant difficulties with dieting are not about the food but rather your emotions.
When you are feeling stressed, anxious, or bored, it can be very tempting to turn to food for comfort. And when you do give in to these cravings, you may feel guilty and shameful about ruining your diet.
This suggests that the key to healthy eating may be all about finding foods that satisfy both your emotional and physical needs.
Here are five tasty and healthy treats that you can enjoy without feeling guilty:
Blueberries get their blue color from pigments called anthocyanins. These pigments are powerful antioxidants that have been linked to many health benefits, including improved heart health and reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.
Blueberries also appear to help prevent age-related memory loss and cognitive decline, as well as some types of vision loss.
If you’ve never tried jackfruit before, look for it in your grocery store near the other frozen fruits and veggies. You might also be able to find a whole, fresh jackfruit—it’s the largest edible fruit in the world!—but packaged frozen jackfruit is much more convenient and perfectly ripe.
Jackfruits are associated with health benefits such as:
- improved cholesterol
- lowered blood pressure
- reduced inflammation
- reduced bone loss
- better skin health
- preventing stomach ulcers
Jackfruits also appear to provide anticancer effects by reducing the proliferation of cancer cells.
Some chocolate snacks are loaded with added sugars and unhealthy fats, but dark chocolate itself can actually be quite healthy.
Dark chocolate has a high concentration of antioxidant flavonoids, which can potentially help reduce your risk of developing many chronic illnesses.
These flavonoids reduce inflammation and protect your tissues from oxidative damage—two primary drivers of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis.
Dates are very sugary. They are one of the sweetest fruits you can eat.
But unlike other sugary snacks, dates are also packed with fiber and essential nutrients, which help offset some negative effects on blood sugar levels.
Dates are rated as having a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels in the same way that white bread, soda, or donuts can. This makes them an excellent treat, even for people living with diabetes.
Greek yogurt is a thick and creamy variety of yogurt that has been strained to remove much of the liquid whey. This process also concentrates protein, calcium, and other nutrients.
Yogurt is a probiotic food that provides your digestive tract with beneficial bacteria. These good bacteria help keep your gut healthy by promoting regularity, improving your immune system, and preventing the overgrowth of harmful microbes.
Next time you are craving a sweet snack, consider what effect it may have on your emotions. Will it make you feel guilty and shameful because you know it’s not good for you? Choose something that you can feel good about, physically and emotionally.