Cravings happen even to the healthiest of us.  Often, when a craving hits in the afternoon or the evening after dinner, we get the urge to snack. Snacking can be a bad habit to get into, because the snacks we choose are often junky, un-nutritious, and high in calories, sugar, or fat.

The trick to snacking without piling on the pounds is to find healthy alternatives to the regular snacks you might normally reach for.

Usually, when we get a craving it is for either something sweet (chocolate!), savory (potato chips!), creamy (ice cream!), or crunchy (crisps!).  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 substitute and pay attention.

Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:

  • fresh, whole fruit
  • apples and almond butter
  • dried fruit
  • green smoothies
  • banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or  raisins ,and serve)
  • dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butter
  • organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips

For your savory cravings, try these healthy alternatives:

  • olives
  • pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root
  • tabouli, hummus
  • 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:

  • smoothies
  • avocados
  • 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, when you can eat these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks:

  • apples
  • frozen grapes
  • light popcorn or plain popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan)
  • carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
  • celery and nut butter or fresh salsa
  • handful of raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, and walnuts

Most importantly, listen to your craving. Listen to what it is your mind and body wants and craves.  Notice when you find yourself craving these certain or specific foods.

Ask yourself these important questions:

What is going on in your environment when your cravings are strong?

What emotions are you feeling at the time of craving (frustration, loneliness, boredom…)?

What else could be the reason for craving this food?

Leave a comment and share your insights or thoughts about your cravings. 

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p.s. I promised I would let you in on my personal food craving. Now, I don’t often indulge, but when I do, it’s sweet and creamy, like dark chocolate or bread pudding. For that reason, I turn to this  nutritious, chocolatey recipe.