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 become a bad habit because the snacks we choose are often junky, un-nutritious, and high in calories, sugar, or fat.
The key 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, these are foods you shouldn’t eat all the time if you want to be healthy.
But that doesn’t mean you have to fight your cravings for the rest of your life. Instead, you just need to substitute.
Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:
- fresh, whole fruit
- apples + a nut butter (almond butter is my fave)
- 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:
- pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root
- tabouli, hummus
- steamed vegetables with umeboshi vinegar
- freshly made salsa or guacamole
- sauerkraut (will also knock your sweet craving right out!)
- salted edamame
- a small piece of smoked salmon
- a hard-boiled egg
Your creamy cravings can be met by eating:
- rice pudding
- dips and spreads, like hummus
- puréed soups
- puddings made with avocado or mashed bananas
- mashed sweet potatoes
- coconut milk
Finally, don‘t cave and reach for the Pringles, when you can eat these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks:
- frozen grapes
- rice cakes
- carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
- celery and nut butter
- aw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
- kale chips
My current favorite go-to snacks are smoked salmon for savory, kale chips for crunchy and of course smoothies!
While I have a smoothie every morning for breakfast, sometimes I will have one in the afternoons too, especially for a post-workout recovery drink. I usually make my smoothie before I leave for my workout then refrigerate it. So when I get home from a run, or from the gym, it's ready to do its job of repair and recovery!
Don’t fight your craving. Instead, listen to what it is your body wants and choose the healthier option that will be good for your health (and your waistline!).
Download my list of 22 Healthy Snack Ideas (click on the image below), then join my new Facebook group and share what you come up with!
Want even more ideas? Get my 14+ smoothie recipe eGuide - free just for you!