Let’s be honest; if you’ve ever tried to change your eating habits, you’ve been derailed by food cravings.
No matter how hard you try, suddenly you’re faced with that urge to piledrive French fries or M&Ms. And all the good, healthy choices you’ve been making fly out the window.
Of course, there are some tried-and-true strategies to prevent cravings, such as mindful eating, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.
But sometimes that cheeseburger is right in front of you, ready to grab. And nothing else seems quite as appealing.
Here are some appealing yet healthy alternatives you can reach for when it feels like nothing but junk food will do.
Dates, Instead of Candy
Dates are dried fruit packed with antioxidants. And yes, they are also packed with sugar. While this might seem counterintuitive, the sugar will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing potassium, fiber and iron that candy can’t offer. Another bonus: just a few dates bring real satisfaction, whereas an entire package of M&Ms may not be enough. If you’re craving some crunchy sweetness, try filling the dates with almonds.
Veggie Chips, Instead of Potato Chips
Yes, I know, potatoes are a vegetable, too, but we all know that old excuse just doesn’t work. Next time you’re at the grocery store, reach for a bag of kale chips instead of those comforting yet deadly potato chips. They will satisfy that urgent need for a quick salty crunch. They’re just as easy and convenient as potato chips, but a whole lot healthier. Another quick way to satisfy this urge: some carrot sticks dipped in hummus.
Water, Instead of Soda
Thirst definitely can play tricks on us. You might think you’re craving a can of soda, but most of the time, what your body really wants is some cold water.
There are plenty of carbonated and flavored varieties of water available if plain water just doesn’t seem appealing enough. Another healthy option is a glass of iced tea.
An Apple, Instead of Pie
There’s nothing quite as comforting as the warm, buttery taste of a homemade apple pie. You can get the enjoyment without all the extra sugar and calories just by sticking some apple slices in the microwave for a few minutes along with some cinnamon and a few drops of water. Then eat them over a ginger snap or graham cracker to satisfy your urge for sweet comfort food.
Fruit With Nut Butter, Instead of Ice Cream
Any kind of fruit dipped in nut butter is a traditional go-to for healthy eaters who want to curb cravings, and it really works. The fruit and nut combo brings you a power punch of proteins, vitamins and minerals. A word of caution: keep your portions small. When it comes to nut butter, a little goes a long way. And of course, choose a brand of nut butter that doesn’t have too many added ingredients.
Cravings are inevitable and discouraging. But with a few simple food substitutions, you can overcome them and enjoy the long-term benefits of healthy eating.
By Amy Gardner