Healthy Snacks for Dealing with Cravings

healthy snacks when dealing with cravings

Lately I’ve had lots of people asking me about ideas for healthy snacks that will satisfy their mid-afternoon or after-dinner sweet tooth.

Cravings happen even to the healthiest of us. It can be our body’s way of telling us what it needs. Or it can be an old habit or emotional crutch that’s subconsciously running the show (more on that in a minute). No matter the reason, when a craving hits we get the urge to snack – which when done mindlessly, can undo our healthy habits.

There are a few different schools of though on snacking, some people say eating regularly helps keep your metabolism firing, while others say it put too much strain on the digestive system. My personal take is more about being in-tune with your own unique body. Learning the difference between being physically hungry and craving food to help deal with a certain emotion is a really important step in dealing with our relationship with food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Sadness, loneliness, stress and boredom are common reasons people turn to food for comfort, it’s about getting to know your triggers. I find when I’m standing in front of the cupboard wanting something ‘nice’ to eat an hour after lunch, I just ask myself if I’m bored, procrastinating or actually really hungry? If it’s one of the first two I’ll distract myself for a while, have a glass of water and the desire to eat generally goes away. Of course if I’m actually hungry I’ll make myself something healthy and delicious based on what my body feels like.

I’m not sure about you, but I find that when I get a craving for something, it won’t go away until I’ve satisfied it! Even if the craving goes away for a week or so – it’ll be back with a vengeance soon enough. A technique I find really helpful when dealing with cravings, is to substitute it with a similar but healthier alternative.

Usually, when we get a food craving it’s either for something sweet (chocolate anyone?), salty (potato chips), creamy (ice cream!), or savory (Spag bol or maybe fried chicken). While these options might sound tempting when you’re mid-craving, they’re not worth the havoc they will unleash in your body!

These types of junk food create extra strain on your body to process, cause inflammation and spike blood sugar, and can make digestive issues worse in people with gut dysbiosis (unbalanced gut bacteria) or leaky gut. And it goes without saying, that eating too much of them can cause you to put on weight. Is a few minutes of pleasure worth all that?!

The good news is, you don’t have to fight your cravings for the rest of your life! Health is all about balance and enjoyment right? Instead, 9 times out of 10 you just need to substitute.

Here are my top healthy snacks for dealing with cravings:

 

Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:

  • fresh, whole fruit
  • a small bowl of fresh/frozen blueberries
  • apples and almond butter
  • dried fruit (in moderation and best made yourself as the store bought varieties can contain high levels of sulphites to maintain their colour) 
  • green smoothies (you’ll find a range of different recipes in my pre-xmas cleanse)
  • banana (or any fruit) “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 (or walnuts are good too)
  • organic dark chocolate chips
  • home-made protein balls (you’ll find a few different recipes in my pre-xmas cleanse)
  • Chia seed pudding like this Choc-chia pudding

For your salty cravings, try these healthy alternatives:

  • olives
  • pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root
  • tabouli pesto or hummus (with chickpeas or beetroot) 
  • steamed vegetables with tamari or umeboshi vinegar
  • freshly made salsa or guacamole
  • sauerkraut or fermented veggies(you’ll find a few different recipes in my pre-xmas cleanse)
  • salted edamame

Your creamy cravings can be satisfied by eating:

  • avocados (with salt, pepper and lime juice – yum!)
  • dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush
  • puréed soups like this carrot and ginger soup
  • smoothies
  • puddings made with silken tofu, avocado, or mashed banana (try this healthy chocolate mousse)
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • coconut milk hot chocolate (mix 1 cup of coconut milk, 1/4 cup coconut water, 1/4 filtered water, 11/2 tbsp raw cacao, 1/2 tsp vanilla powder in a saucepan and heat)

Don’t cave and reach for the Pringles when you’re after a savoury or crunchy snack. Try:

  • homemade popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan and top with either sea salt or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour)
  • apples
  • frozen grapes
  • veggie Chips like zucchini, beetroot or these sweet potato or kale ones
  • carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
  • celery and nut butter
  • raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
  • Nori chips
  • homemade crackers (you’ll find the recipe in my pre-xmas cleanse)

So there you have it over 30 snack ideas for you to choose from next time a mid-afternoon craving hits. Rather than trying to fight your cravings, listen to what it is your body wants specifically and choose the healthier option that will make you feel good inside and out!

If you’re looking for more healthy snack and meal ideas, there are over 90 delicious recipes in my upcoming 21-day Pre-Xmas cleanse. Plus for a limited time I’m offering 2 x FREE 30 minute sessions with me (worth $190) when you join. Click the image below to find out more.

Pre-xmas Cleanse

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