Cravings! I like to say get them before they get to you. Salty, Sweet, Crunchy – or even a mix of all, they sure are powerful. Here are a few tips to steer you out of trouble! The trick is to have a healthier option of what you really are dying for. The other thing I keep in mind is, its ok to splurge! Just don’t make the splurges back to back to back – you know what I’m saying. If you are really craving that piece of pizza, or chocolate, go for it – just keep it in moderation.
When You’re Craving Something Chocolate
Chocolate is the most craved food of all. If you feel like gooey, chocolaty candy bars, brownies or chocolate chip cookies are calling your name, try these instead:
• One ounce of dark chocolate: The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it has and less added sugar. Try one-ounce squares of premium dark chocolate that have at least 70 percent cacao.
• Chocolate-dipped frozen banana: Any dark chocolate-dipped fruit is a better-for-you choice. This simple recipe will cure your craving for less than 200 calories. (Fresh strawberries are a good sub for bananas.)
• Dark chocolate protein pudding: Combine six ounces of plain Greek yogurt with two teaspoons of cocoa powder. Stir to combine. (If you need more sweetness, use vanilla yogurt or add honey.)
When You’re Craving Something Sweet
Most of us already get two to three times as much added sugars as we should, so instead of reaching for a treat that is nothing more than empty sugar calories, try these sweet-tooth tamers instead:
• Prunes: Fresh fruit is a great option, but it’s often not as satisfying as dried fruit; easy to pack and take with you anywhere! The fiber helps temper blood sugar levels to temper cravings.
• 1 Tbsp of natural nut butter with fruit spread on a piece of whole grain bread. The fat in the nut butter will fill you up and the sweetness of the fruit spread will combat that craving!
• Fruit and Cottage Cheese. Not only does this option satisfy sweet teeth, it provides a perfect serving of filling protein, too. If plain fruit isn’t sweet enough, try drizzling with honey or mixing in a teaspoon of cocoa powder.
When You’re Craving Something Crunchy
Potato chips provide a satisfying salty crunch but at a high price. A study from Harvard reported that a daily 150-calorie serving (just 15 chips!) equaled more than 1 1/2 pounds gained in four years.
• Air-popped popcorn: A cup of “naked” popcorn has just 30 calories and is 100 percent whole grain and provides fiber and antioxidants. Top with a dash of salt and one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, if desired.
• Pistachios: Crunching on an ounce of pistachios (about 49 nuts) packs in as much protein as an egg and three grams of fiber for 160 calories. Research also shows that the shells may enhance satiety by making the portion appear larger, and the “empties” remind you of how much you’ve eaten.
• Grape-Nuts: As far as whole-grain cereals go, Grape-Nuts scores highest on the Crunch-O-Meter. Enjoy 1/4 cup of Grape-Nuts with 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt for a fiber- and protein-rich snack with less than 200 calories.