Healthy alternatives to unhealthy hankerings

By Published On: March 31st, 2010

Commonly craved foods can take a toll on your energy […]

smoothiesCommonly craved foods can take a toll on your energy level as well as your health. Swap out diet-busting snacks for these healthy (and delicious!) alternatives.
If you’re craving potato chips, try popcorn.
Instead of opening up an addictive bag of greasy potato chips, put your microwave to use with a bag of delicious low-fat popcorn. Potato chips are high in fat—and realistically, you’re probably not going to stop munching after just one 1-ounce serving. Low-fat popcorn provides the crunch of a potato chip and is a great source of whole grain fiber. Many brands offer boxes of single-serving bags, so you can keep your snack portion to a reasonable amount.
If you’re craving a sugary cereal, try bran cereal with fruit.
Craving some Cap’n Crunch? Push that urge aside! Sugary cereals provide few redeeming ingredients and often leave you feeling hungry only an hour or two after eating. Instead, pour yourself a bowl of a whole grain bran cereal like All-Bran Complete, which is full of filling fiber. Add some fruit and low-fat milk to the mix for a delicious, well-balanced and satisfying breakfast that will keep you on track the rest of the day. Remember, too, that granola cereal is often just as high in fat as other, more obviously unhealthy breakfasts, so use it sparingly or just sprinkle it on top of low-fat yogurt.
If you’re craving cheeseburgers, try a falafel pita.
It’s hard to resist the temptation of melted cheese and juicy meat, but remember that this filling food is full of fat and often made with less-than-stellar ingredients. If you are in the mood for something hearty, a falafel sandwich should do the trick since it has qualities similar to those of its meaty counterpart. Made from chickpeas, it is a much healthier option than cholesterol-raising red meat and cheese. Pile on the cucumber, onion and tomato with some yummy tzatziki sauce in a whole wheat pita and bid those burger cravings good-bye.
If you’re craving a sweet drink, try 100 percent fruit juice.
Need to satisfy that sweet craving? Don’t reach for the cranberry cocktail! “Fruit drinks” can be filled with sugar and calories that offer little nutritional value and often cause sugar rushes that wear off quickly. Just because the carton says “fruit” doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Instead, find juices that are labeled as 100 percent fruit juice. These equally delicious drinks fulfill your need for sweet while providing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help fight disease. Your body will thank you for these natural boosts of energy.
If you’re craving buttery pastries, try oatcakes.
Looking for a warm, melt-in-your-mouth carb-filled snack? A pastry will likely hit the spot, but it will also be filled with empty calories, fat and cholesterol. Instead of ordering a croissant at the bakery, try swapping for a tasty oatcake. Oats can help calm cravings as well as maintain steady blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of fiber, an important nutrient for expectant women. Top the cakes with something sweet like jam or something savory like cheese, and you are good to go.
If you’re craving cheese dip, try hummus.
Let’s face it: We all know that too much cheese equals cholesterol and fat. And when melted down and mixed with other unhealthy ingredients to make cheese dip, it equals diet disaster. As delicious as these dips are, remember that they provide few nutrients and can make your already delicate tummy feel worse. If it’s a dip you want, try hummus, a scrumptiously thick spread made from chickpeas. It’s a great source of fiber, vitamin C, protein and iron—major bonus points for preggo gals. Make this incredibly healthy snack even more nutritious by coupling it with carrots or a whole wheat pita.
If you’re craving a milkshake, try a fruit smoothie.
The delectable creaminess of an ice cream shake is hard to pass up, but the fat and calorie count should at least make you hesitate. A healthier and just as satisfying option is a fruit smoothie. When they’re made with real fruit and milk, smoothies offer plenty of vitamins and minerals. Many ice cream vendors offer smoothies on their menus, and you can also make them yourself at home. Simply pair some frozen fruit with skim milk or low-fat yogurt in a blender and voila! If it’s the ice cream you’re after, make sure to get the low-fat version, which often has half the fat content of the regular kind.
If you’re craving pasta, try a whole wheat version.
Pasta is a classic, convenient dish that’s perfect for the busy and tired mom-to-be. It can also satisfy a carb craving and leave you feeling full and happy. But before you go crazy on the starch, think about substituting whole wheat pasta for your regular noodles. Whole wheat pasta is available at most grocery stores, so it’s easy to find and every bit as easy to cook. Use it in your pasta recipes for a nearly unnoticeable difference. The health benefits are comparatively great, as the whole wheat brings lots of nutrients (including fiber) to an otherwise empty calorie-laden dinner. Buon appetito!