When it comes to cravings, there is an in-between. Ignoring cravings all together leaves us feeling deprived. Eventually willpower takes over and a rollercoaster of longing begins. Bring on the bag of salt, sweet, crunchy, chocolaty, and crumbly. So, how do we honor our cravings in a healthy way?
Cravings are about giving our body (and often our mind) what it is asking for, but in the right and healthy way. You must “retrain” your body (and mind!) to crave healthy complex carbohydrate options that will provide you sustaining energy and keep you from riding the rollercoaster of guilt. Simply cutting back on highly processed, refined foods such as chips, crackers, bread, and cookies in the first place can help keep unhealthy cravings in check.
To keep your nutrition and fitness goals on track, try these healthy swaps when the craving hits.
Craving salty and crunchy? Instead of grabbing a box of crackers or chips, throw together a mix of roasted and salted nuts and seeds. Roast a cookie sheet of kale sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil for a crispy treat. Cut thin slices of sweet potato and roast in the oven to your liking. Longer roast time creates a crispier, sweet potato “chip”. Popcorn! Another great choice if you make your own, especially air popped. Sprinkle on parmesan, herbs, chili powder with a bit of melted ghee (clarified butter) or macadamia nut oil.
Got a sweet tooth? My personal go-to is dark chocolate. You want to choose a 70% or higher cocoa content to avoid unwanted sugar. If dark chocolate is too bitter, start with a 60% cocoa and gradually increase to a higher cocoa contact. You will get used to it! Not a fan of cocoa? Grab a piece of fresh fruit or make a fruit salad with apple, melon of your choice, and berries of all kinds. Freeze grapes or bananas and blend up a smoothie. Grab a Tbsp. or two of your favorite nut butter and dip into with a crisp apple.
Craving something between two slices? Give sprouted grain, Ezekiel bread a try. This will keep you on track and satisfy much more than refined bread. Ezekiel is nutty in texture and will keep blood sugar spikes at bay. Spread on your favorite almond butter, hummus or avocado.
Is pasta calling your name? There are so many options out there today. Experiment and keep your favorite on hand. Try chickpea, black bean, whole wheat, or quinoa pasta. If you prefer traditional pasta, opt for fresh or Barilla Protein+, which is a bit less refined and higher in protein. Other super healthy alternatives are noodles made from zucchini or my favorite, spaghetti squash. For a simple, vitamin-rich, and delicious supper, mix up your favorite, bottled marinara with lean turkey and pour over baked spaghetti squash. This dish will not disappoint!
Bottom Line: Stay off the rollercoaster and honor your cravings…smartly so! Just pause and be mindful about choosing healthy options that will make you feel great in body, mind, and soul!
Understanding your cravings and how they affect your overall health is an important part of what we teach here at My House Fitness of Allen. We have the best personal trainers in town because they understand your goals and how to get you results.