Usually when cravings for a particular food appear, it's easy to fool yourself into satisfying it in a much healthier way. Here are a few tips and recipes for some common healthy-diet busting junk food alternatives:
Craving Ice Cream?
Try Frozen Banana Soft Serve Instead!
This recipe is so simple and yet is guaranteed to satisfy that sweet tooth while providing you with amazing nutritional benefits. And yes, you can make almost any flavor you can think of!
1 Frozen Banana
2 medjool dates
1 teaspoon coconut milk
For flavoring: 1 tbspn raw cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, or frozen berries. Or top with some organic cocoa nibs for an extra healthy punch.
Blend in food processor until creamy. Careful not to add too much milk or else will resemble more of a smoothie than a bowl of ice cream!
Try Seasoned Popcorn Instead!
Air-popped organic popcorn is full of fiber and can satisfy the need for a salty snack. My favorite way to enjoy it? Sprinkle with one teaspoon melted virgin coconut oil and add hot sauce, nutritional yeast, and a few raw nuts and goji berries to make this snack a nutritional powerhouse. You can add curry powder, freshly ground pepper, oregano or any of your favorite spices. The combination of salty, savoury and sweet will satisfy any craving! Portion control is still key, stick to approximately 3 cups and be sure to hide the rest!
Try Spaghetti Squash Instead
Nature made it really easy to fool yourself into thinking you're digging into a big bowl of spaghetti! When baked, this squash forms "noodles" that you can season and top with homemade tomato sauce for a low-carb, high fiber and nutrient rich main course.
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons healthy oil (virgin coconut, olive, avocado or walnut are best!)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.
Note: Zucchini “noodles” also work wonders :)
Craving a Caramel Macchiato Frappucino?
Try a Date-Arade Power Smoothie Instead!
This will not only save you from filling up on chemicals, fake sweeteners, processed sugar and dairy, but will save you a lot of money plus provide a much longer-lasting sustainable energy boost.
1 frozen banana
2 medjool dates
1 tsp flax, chia and/or hemp seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
Optional: 1 tsp each of raw cocoa nibs or cocoa powder
½ cup almond or coconut milk or water.
Blend and enjoy!
Craving a Burger and Fries?
Try Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms with Baked Veggie Chips Instead!
When grilled, portobella mushrooms have a meaty, smoky texture and flavor that rivals any hamburger. Better yet, stuff it with loads of toppings, and you've got yourself a healthy comfort-food classic.
Portobello mushroom caps
Artichoke hearts (optional)
Sundried (or fresh) tomatoes (chopped)
Fresh garlic (minced)
Organic cheddar cheese
1) De-gill (scrape out) as many Portobello mushroom caps as you will be using.
2) Pop the mushroom caps in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees to soften them.
3) While the mushrooms are cooking, saute desired amount of fresh spinach, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes in a pan with olive oil and garlic to taste.
4) Once the mushrooms are softened, take them out of the oven and fill them with the spinach, artichoke heart, and sundried tomato mixture. Then top them with feta cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
5) You can either eat them now, or pop them back in the oven for a couple minutes just to get the cheese nice and melty.
Serve with a side of baked veggie chips. To make, cut thin pieces of carrot, sweet potato, turnips and beets. Sprinkle lightly with a healthy oil and sea salt, and bake at 375 degrees until crispy.
Try a simple Fruit Crisp instead!
Typical store-bought pies are full of (bad) fat, processed sugar, wheat, soy, chemicals, and plenty of other garbage that make it a far cry from comfort-food! Instead, try a simple fruit crumble recipe full of phytonutrients, protein and fibre that will taste as good as it is good for you :) Now that's REAL comfort food!
1 organic apple
1 organic pear
1 cup berries
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cashews
1 tbspn cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup hemp seeds
Cut the apple, pear and banana into bite-size pieces. Toss in a bowl with the berries, vanilla, and cinnamon. Layer the bottom of a baking dish, and layer the top with the oats, cashews and hemp seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the fruit becomes soft.
For an extra treat, eat with a scoop of coconut "whipped cream". Simply place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours, and then scoop out the hard, whitened layer. Whip up in a blender with a dash of vanilla extract until thick and frothy. Place on top of your warm fruit crumble and enjoy!
Try Carbonated Water Instead!
The only thing soft drinks are good for are cleaning bathrooms and eroding metal. Definitely not something you should be putting into your body! Not only that, but one of the easiest ways to detox and lose weight is to cut out soda,
If you're in need of that refreshing, bubbly taste to quench your thirst, start weening yourself off the chemically-laden pops by adding a splash of fresh juice to carbonated water. Lime or lemon juice is best. Try this simple switch and you'll soon be surprised by how quick your taste buds evolve as they regenerate and no longer need as much sweeteners to satisfy your craving for sugary, fizzy drinks! Better yet, try Mineral Water so you're getting loads of essential nutrients at the same time.
Note: Kombucha also can do the trick and is full of gut-friendly probiotics!
Try Magnesium Instead!
Chocolate cravings have been shown to be much more intense in those that are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is an essential mineral and is required for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. So, next time your craving strikes, try eating a good quality dark chocolate bar (preferably organic and above 70% cocoa) which is a rich source of magnesium, or try a magnesium supplement to see if your cravings subside. Other good sources of magnesium snacks are: Almonds, Avocado, Cashews, and Edamame and Yogurt.
Something to keep in mind regarding cravings is that they often stem from other factors: boredom, routine, or sugar addiction could in fact be the culprit. Next time you have a strong craving, ask yourself if you're maybe just used to the routine of snacking (while watching tv at night, etc) and see if you can replace that with a different habit. Even something simple like brushing your teeth or chewing gum can make the craving to snack less strong. If it's during the day, try going for a brisk walk and see if you're still craving a treat when you come back. Sometimes a little fresh air can be a better pick-me-up than a sugary snack!
Ask yourself when the last time you ate a balanced, healthy meal was. If it's been a few hours, you're setting yourself up for snack-time failure! If you are of the mindset that because you skipped a meal and that means you can afford some extra snack-calories, remember, not all calories are created equal! It would be much more beneficial to load up your plate with veggies, some protein and healthy fats (olives, avocado, even a handful of nuts), wait 30 minutes, and you may be surprised to see your craving disappear.