Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?

If so, you’re in good company! Half of all Israelis say that they eat at least one sweet food every day. And they’re probably not counting sweetened beverages.

Israel ranked the third highest in consumption of sweets among OECD* countries recently surveyed. (Fortunately, we also ranked third in the amount of vegetables we eat.) The average Israeli eats nearly 40 kilos (18 pounds) of sweets each year. The amount of sweets eaten in the US is even higher.

Women report eating more sweets than men and claim that sweets help improve their mood and increase their energy. Women tend to eat sweets in the afternoon, while men prefer them in the evening.

We all know that sweets are a big contributor to expanding waistlines. They’re often called “empty calories” – filling us up so we aren’t as likely to eat the food that’s good for us. But obviously, most of us aren’t going to give them up so soon.

To cut back on the sugar in your diet, drink water, sparkling water, and unsweetened herbal, green or regular tea instead of sweetened sodas, high calorie iced coffee and tea and fruit drinks.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with nutrient rich sweets like these:

Natural peanut butter and pure-fruit preserves on a rice cracker
An ounce (28 grams) of dark chocolate
Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
Fresh, frozen or dried fruit
Low-fat pudding try my recipe for homemade chocolate pudding
A small handful of sweetened nuts (see the following recipe)

* Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, consisting of 34 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas.

Cinnamon Walnuts

I especially like walnuts, but you can use any other nut, or a combination of nuts. Double the recipe if you’d like, and store half of these in the freezer.
Stick to a heaping ¼ cup serving of these, as nuts are high in (healthy) fat.

1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
½-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar (I use demarara sugar for these)
2 ½ cups walnuts

Preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, sugar and vanilla. Add the nuts to this mixture, and mix to coat them completely. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Mix the nuts around on the baking tray and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.

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Chana Rubin, RD
Food for the Soul

Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating
By Chana Rubin, RD

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