Are you trying to eat healthy but having a difficult time with your cravings? Cravings come in many forms–the most common are for foods that are sweet or salty. These cravings can put even the healthiest eaters to test. Most cravings are mental desires and subside after 10-15 minutes, but there are those that need to be satisfied, especially when you are also physically hungry. Cravings typically start suddenly and need instant satisfaction while physical hunger begins gradually and can wait. Follow these suggestions to help satisfy your cravings without compromising your nutrition goals.
Sweet treats. Baked goods including cake, cookies, brownies, pies and pastries can be delicious, especially when your sweet tooth is calling. But they can add a significant amount of calories, fat and sugar to your day, with little nutritional value. For example, an average chocolate cupcake with cream cheese icing can have upwards of 400 calories and 20 grams of fat! If sweets are your weakness, try one of the following ideas as a healthy alternative:
- Fruit can be an effective sweet craving buster. Try fresh fruits like pineapples, pears, apples and peaches.
- Low-fat yogurt
- Low-sugar pudding cup
- Swap the full-fat version of your favorite ice cream for frozen yogurt, low or non-fat versions, or sorbet. Regular or Greek yogurt are good options too.
If you’re looking for a more substantial snack, try these recipes that incorporate fruits for additional sweetness:
- Warm Pear with Cinnamon Ricotta
- Caramelized Pineapple
- Lavender-Poached Peaches & Blackberries
- Grilled Apples with Cheese and Honey
Salty satisfaction. Chips, pretzels, French fries and tortilla chips can be a salt lover’s paradise. Too much salt can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure. Most people unknowingly consume too much salt, which is often used as a flavor enhancer and preservative in foods. Many of these salty snacks are also high in calories and fat. Healthier salty substitutions include:
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts or cashews
- Dip carrots, bell peppers or celery in hummus
- Light mozzarella string cheese
- Whole grain crackers
If you’re looking for other healthier salty alternatives, check out these recipes:
All together now. Are you a fan of salty, sweet, chocolate and crunchy snacks? Trail mix may be the perfect option for you. Making your own trail mix allows you to pick and choose how you satisfy your cravings. Create your own trail mix with this simple recipe:
– ¼ cup pretzels, cereal of choice or crackers
– 3 tbsp raisins, dried cranberries or dried fruit
– 1-2 tbsp peanuts
Things to keep in mind. Healthy eating does not have to mean giving up the foods you love all of the time. Moderation is the key to healthy eating. Adopting an 80/20 or 90/10 rule in which you eat healthy either 80 or 90 percent of the time and allow yourself to indulge 20 or 10 percent of the times is a good rule to follow. If you try to eat healthy 100 percent of the time, you may notice your cravings increase, and when you do allow yourself the chance to eat for enjoyment you go overboard. If 80/20 or 90/10 seems intimidating, work your way up, starting at 70/30. Following the serving sizes of your favorite snacks can also help you reduce the likelihood of overindulging.
Are you finding healthy eating to be a challenge? Looking for additional nutrition information? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Coaching Program, call us today to connect with a Wellness Coach for support and information!