Guest Author - Christina T. Schlacter, PhD
What cravings so do you have? We all have food cravings. The trick to healthy eating is to find ways to satisfy those cravings so you do not feel deprived. Ignoring your cravings will only make you want them more. Yes, you read that right: Eating healthy does not mean giving up your favorite foods. It means finding ways to incorporate them into healthier alternatives for your body and mind. Here are some healthy alternatives to the most common cravings out there.
Craving: Sugar and Chocolate!! Your co-worker's candy and chocolate treats are only making your 3pm sugar craving worse.
Good Alternative: Curb chocolate cravings by make yourself a Hot Mint Chocolate - Heat 1 cup of low-fat chocolate milk and stir with a peppermint stick.
Better Alternative: If your office has a break room, stash frozen grapes or dark chocolate in the freezer. Frozen foods take longer to eat and they'll satisfy your sugar cravings. Grapes are low in calories and dark chocolate has powerful antioxidants.
Best Alternative: Go for a brisk 5-minute walk outside. Not only will the candy jar be far from reach, the fresh air will rejuvenate your mind and burn calories.
Craving: French Fries. You know a side salad with oil and vinegar should be your side of choice, but sometimes a sandwich tastes so much better with fries.
Good Alternative: Ask the server to only bring you a 1/4 order of fries (about 20 or the size of a card deck). You will be surprised how few of those salty delights will satisfy your cravings.
Better Alternative: Find a restaurant that makes sweet potato fries, a more nutritious alternative to plain French Fries and order a child-size portion. You can also make your own at home: Cut sweet potatoes in thin slices and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Broil in the over until crispy and bubbling (about 5-6 minutes).
Best Alternative: Take a hard look at your diet. You need some salt, fat, and carbohydrates to keep your body functioning. If you have cut any one of these food groups out entirely, your body will react by craving more to make up the deficit. In the meantime, order a shrimp cocktail or hummus with pita bread to get your salt cravings under control.
Craving: An adult drink. You really want that margarita with your fajitas.
Good Alternative: Make your own - but never from a mix! Margarita mixes are on the top of dieting no-nos. The average 8 oz restaurant margarita contains about 250 calories of pure sugar and empty calories. If you can not forgo your margarita, make it yourself and cut the calories in half. To make your own margarita mix 1 shot Tequila (the nicer the brand, the less sugar you will need), 1 shot of unsweetened lime juice (try Key Lime Juice for a different twist), and 1/4 shot of triple sec in a shaker and enjoy on the rocks.
Better Alternative: Have a glass of red wine. The antioxidants in red wine may help increase the good cholesterol (HDL). If you don't drink, don't start, but if you do, drinking red wine in moderation (4 oz or less a day), is your best bet.
Best Alternative: Have a club soda with lime and offer to be the designated driver. You'll save on empty calories and get out of bed in the morning without a headache when you go for a run.
What cravings so do you have?