Is healthy snacking an oxymoron?
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 be a bad habit to get into, because the snacks we choose are often junky, un-nutritious, and high in calories, sugar, 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.
Usually, when we get a craving it is for either something sweet (chocolate!), savory (potato chips!), creamy (ice cream!), or crunchy (crisps!). 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.
Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:
- fresh, whole fruit (check out this dip recipe for apples!)
- apples and almond butter
- dried fruit – without added sugar
- 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 tamari/shoyu or umeboshi vinegar
- freshly made salsa or guacamole
- Sauerkraut (will also knock your sweet craving right out!)
- salted edamame
Your creamy cravings can be met by eating:
- rice pudding
- dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush
- puréed soups
- puddings made with silken tofu, avocado, or mashed banana
- 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 or my favorite, frozen blueberries!
- rice cakes
- plain popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan)
- carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
- celery and nut butter
- raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
Don’t fight your craving. Instead, listen to what it is your body wants specifically and choose the healthier option that will be good to your waistline.