It’s no secret that dieting is hard. Sure, we all know to eat lean meat, consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, and to limit starchy carbs and processed foods. However, we’re all human, and sometimes we can’t help but to crave those sweet, sweet indulgences. When those cravings hit, and you just have to give in but don’t want to hinder your progress, don’t panic! There are ways to satisfy your appetite without blowing your diet. Use some of the tips below to treat yourself and stay on track while you’re doing it!

1. Use Sugar Alternatives

Whether you’re baking, making coffee, or just craving, reduce and replace added sugar in your diet with healthier alternatives such as stevia, unsweetened applesauce, or dates. Stevia comes in various forms from packets of powder to flavored drops and works great for all your sugar needs from baking, to coffee, and even oatmeal. It’s derived naturally from plants and has no calories, effectively satisfying your sweet tooth without sabotaging your waistline.

2. Eat Fruit

It’s called nature’s candy for a reason. Fruit is a great option for a sweet snack to satisfy your craving while also providing your body with much-needed vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. Try it frozen, blended into a smoothie, mixed in a fruit medley or trail mix, or simply eat it raw!

*A few of my favorites are frozen grapes, banana “ice cream,” and oven-baked strawberries*

3. Drink “Diet” Beverages

Sure, soda tastes great, but it makes us feel awful. Instead of grabbing a coke, get your bubble fix with diet-friendly sparkling water beverages. There are a ton of options in stores and every flavor to suit your needs! However, if you find yourself truly fixated on the thought of pop, opting for a diet variety will give you the same taste without blowing your calories. In fact, Zevia is a great brand that offers pop-like beverages made with stevia. Whatever you choose, make sure that it aligns with your health and fitness goals as well as your fundamental beliefs regarding food. Just remember, there is no such thing as a bad food.

So you see, you really can have your cake and eat it, too! The next time you’re craving something “bad,” don’t deprive yourself to reach your goals. Instead, modify the foods your craving to fit your needs. There is always a way to make an item healthier, or less calorically dense. Be creative, browse your local grocery store, and have fun with your food, because dieting shouldn’t be boring!