Healthy substitutes for when you crave unhealthy foods
Sometimes all you can think about is devouring that candy bar that keeps catching your eye in the vending machine, or chowing down on that slice of apple pie that’s calling you from the kitchen. Before you act on your craving, consider a better alternative that won’t hurt your diet or leave you feeling guilty.
Brad Gruno — CEO of Brad’s Raw Foods and author of the forthcoming “Brad’s Raw Made Easy” — shared these tips to satisfy your cravings in a healthier way. Though he may have made this list as a way for raw-food dieters to avoid falling off the wagon, we think these are great swaps for anyone who’s just trying to make better food choices.
Dried dates, raisins, plums, cranberries, apricots, and goji berries are foods that will satisfy your cravings for chewy, candy-like treats. Eat sparingly so you don’t go overboard on the sugar.
For ice cream:
In a blender, place two peeled, chopped frozen bananas, ½ cup of almond milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and ½ teaspoon of salt (optional). Blend until combined. Try adding 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for a rich creamy treat, or ¼ cup of cocoa powder.
Try 2 cups of frozen strawberries, 1 cup of fresh orange juice and ½ mango. Pulse in a blender until combined. Eat as is, or place it in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours for a firmer texture. Experiment with other combinations of frozen fruit.
Use a vegetable peeler or a spiralizer to make long peeled “noodles” from zucchini, summer squash or cucumbers. Toss with your favorite herbs, fresh tomatoes and a little olive oil.
For chocolate pudding:
Mash a ripe banana with a splash of almond milk and a few tablespoons of cocoa powder. Top with fresh berries and enjoy.
Cut slices from large carrots at a diagonal and use them to scoop up some fresh raw guacamole or hummus. Munching on slices of colorful raw beets, jicama or bell peppers also satisfies that need for a crunch.
Slice a ripe piece of fruit, or have dried fruit mixed with nuts or a bowl of fruit with honey. Roll grapes in coconut sugar (found in health food stores) and freeze, or have a homemade energy bar. (Check out HellaWella’s recipe for homemade granola bars here.)
For fatty comfort foods:
Avocados or sprouted nuts are a quick fix. Or spread nut butter on your favorite fruit and top it with cacao nibs.
For salty foods
Think celery, spinach or sea vegetables, either as is or juiced. Rehydrate sea vegetables and add them to a salty spinach and celery salad.
For warm foods:
A dash of cayenne, red pepper flakes, horseradish or a fresh jalapeño adds filling, satisfying heat. Or make tea, take a hot shower or find a sunny spot to sit in.
For unknown cravings for something:
Drink lots of water, and enhance it with citrus, fruits, mint or even a slice of cucumber.
Other ways to curb cravings
- Take a walk.
- Write in a journal — your own diary and especially your food journal.
- Don’t skip meals. Eating at the same time every day helps keep cravings at bay.
- Sleep if you can.