Cravings happen even to the healthiest of us. Often, when a craving hits in the afternoon (that’s me!) or post dinner, we get the urge to snack. Snacking can be a bad habit to get into if the snacks we choose are “junk foods”, those high in calories, sugar, salt 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.

We get different types of cravings.   If it is for something sweet you may be reaching out for the biscuits, cakes, donuts or chocolate at 4pm.  Or if you feel like something savory and crunchy you want to have potato crisps, salted nuts, Bombay mix or other packaged snacks and just can’t stop eating these.  Or you may want something sweet, cold and creamy like ice cream.  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 find healthier alternatives.

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

  • Fresh, whole fruit
  • Sliced apple or another piece of fruit with a teaspoon of nut butter
  • Dried fruit and limit these are as they are high in sugar
  • Green smoothies
  • Banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze and when ready to eat blend it in a food processor with nuts, berries and cacao powder and serve)
  • Dark chocolate and you can begin with 70% dark chocolate if the stronger ones are too bitter in taste for you

For your savory cravings, try these healthy alternatives:

  • Olives
  • Pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root
  • Hummus or another dip with a few baked tortilla chips and vegetable sticks
  • Steamed vegetables with tamari or shoyu
  • Freshly made salsa or guacamole on a cracker
  • Home made salted edamame

Your creamy cravings can be met by having:

  • Smoothies
  • Natural Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
  • Rice pudding
  • Dips and spreads with vegetables or crackers, like yogurt dip or baba ganoush
  • Puréed soups
  • Puddings made with silken tofu, avocado, or mashed banana
  • Home made desserts that are made with coconut milk or milk

Finally, don‘t cave in and reach for the crisps, when you can eat these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks:

  • Apples
  • Frozen grapes
  • Rice cakes with a dip or nut butter
  • Home made popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan)
  • Carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
  • Celery with nut or seed butter
  • Raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts

Don’t fight your craving. Instead, listen to what your body wants and choose the healthier option that will be good for both your energy levels and to your waistline.