Salty or sweet? Healthy alternatives to satisfy your cravings
By Brittany Anas
It’s 3 p.m. — the snacking hour that is in limbo between lunch and dinner and when your tummy starts growling. Whether you’re craving something sweet, like candy bars, or something salty, like potato chips, we’ve got healthier substitutions that won’t wreck your diet or make you crash.
Scientists have lots of theories for why we get cravings. Among them, we’re hard-wired to eat calories and fat grams because our early ancestors needed them so not to starve to death. (And, since you won’t wilt away in between lunch and dinner, avoid the temptation to go “hunting and gathering” at the vending machine). Nutritionists also seem to agree that we crave the foods we like the most. There’s some debate over whether our cravings are linked to nutritional deficiencies.
Here are some tips for avoiding cravings — and being prepared for when they do hit.
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner: You’ll be less likely to snack if you’ve had three well-balanced meals.
Keep a snack packed: When you’ve got an apple or a high-fiber granola bar stashed in your purse, you’ll be less likely to snack on your kids’ Goldfish crackers in the car on the way home from the grocery store. We’ve all been there.
Clean out your spaces: The motto “out of sight, out of mind” can help you steer clear of junk food. Clean out your cabinets and fridge and get rid of the unhealthy temptations. Replace them with healthier options.
If you’re craving ice cream … swap it for a fudge bar. The average fudge bar has about 120 calories and less than 3 grams of fat. Compare that to ice cream: One cup of chocolate ice cream has about 150 calories and roughly 8 grams of fat.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth … make yourself a bowl of mixed berries. Sprinkle a little bit of powdered sugar or a dollop of yogurt on your raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Or mix in a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips. The nutritional value of blackberries is especially impressive. There are 4.5 grams of fiber in just 1/2 cup. Fiber = full feeling.
If you’re craving something salty … step away from the chips and get some popcorn. Jolly Time popcorn comes in 100-calorie packs and in “butter” or “kettle corn.” A 100-calorie bag has 2 grams of fat and 9 grams of fiber. By comparison, just an ounce of potato chips has 160 calories and more than 10 grams of fat and just a trace of fiber.
Other articles you might also like:
• What to wear to look 10 pounds thinner
• How to eat like the French
• Cops and robbers on bikes and other ways to exercise with your kids
• The best free food journals and how they can accelerate your weight loss
• Lifeguarding to pro football offers: Who were America’s fittest presidents?
• Face-time: Simple ways to get a more youthful look