Even the healthiest people have cravings from time to time. Often, when a craving hits in the afternoon or in the evening after dinner, it’s hard to resist the overwhelming urge to reach for the nearest thing that will satisfy it. Snacking can be a bad habit to get into, because quite often the snacks we choose are junky, lack nutrition, and are high in calories, fat or sugar, and sometimes all of the above, right?
These little snacks here and there can add up and lead to the pounds slowly creeping on. We’re then left scratching our heads wondering why we’ve put on weight even though our main meals are healthy.
Now, the solution is not to never ever snack, that wouldn’t be realistic. The trick is to have healthy alternatives to snack on that will satisfy the cravings and not damage our health.
Usually, when we get a craving it is for the texture or sensation rather than the food itself. So, if you crave something sweet, you might reach for chocolate. If it’s savoury you might head for the packet of crisps. If you want something creamy, you’ll have your head in the freezer rooting around for the ice cream and if it’s something crunchy you’re after you’ll be heading for the crisps again.
Obviously, my examples are foods you shouldn’t eat all the time if you want to be trim and healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to fight your cravings for the rest of your life. Instead, you just need to snack smart.
So here are some suggestions for you to try that are much healthier than the normal snacks most people have around the house.
Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:
- fresh, whole fruit
- apples and almond butter
- dried fruit (just make sure they don’t have added sugar)
- green smoothies
- banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts or berries and serve)
- dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butter
- a small chunk of organic dark chocolate
- coconut chips
For your savoury cravings, try these healthy alternatives:
- pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon or beetroot.
- steamed vegetables with tamari/shoyu or umeboshi vinegar
- freshly made salsa or guacamole
- Sauerkraut (will also knock your sweet craving right out!)
- salted edamame
Your creamy cravings can be met by eating:
- homemade rice pudding
- dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush
- puréed soups
- puddings made with silken tofu, avocado, or mashed banana
- mashed sweet potatoes
- coconut milk
Finally, don‘t cave and reach for the Pringles because you know all too well that once you take off that lid it’s downhill and before you know it you’ll be staring at the bottom of an empty tube.
How about giving these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks a try instead:
- frozen grapes
- rice cakes
- popcorn (use coconut oil to pop)
- celery and nut butter
- raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
So don’t battle with your craving and beat yourself up because you gave in. Instead, listen to what it is your body wants specifically and choose the healthier option that will be good to your waistline and your health.
Prabha Shiyani is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, specialising in genomics, and an EFT Practitioner. She finds genomics a fascinating subject and uses genetic testing to tailor people’s lifestyles and diets to their genes. Prabha’s passion is to help busy women find balance so that they can be the absolute best version of themselves. To read more about Prabha click here.
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