I’m pretty sure the following scenario seems familiar. You’ve had a great few days of eating clean, being more active, and taking care of yourself when suddenly a big, unquenchable craving hits you hard. What follows is a torrid love affair with all kinds of not-good-for-your-body food that would make even the biggest glutton blush. What is one to do?
1. Japanese Pickled Plums (Umeboshi)
Keep a healthy dose of Umeboshi plums for whenever you get impaled with intense cravings for sweet food. Not only will you satisfy your sweet tooth, the sour punch will help combat any recurring sweet cravings from sabotaging your healthy lifestyle. Umeboshi plums, like any other plums, also aid with digestion.
Not this: Sweet food | But that: Umeboshi plums
2. Pickle Chips
Pickle chips are not the same kind of chips you’d see at the supermarket. Whenever you have a craving for junk food, especially chips, what you are really craving is the crunchiness and texture. Thinly sliced pickles can be flavored with different kinds of herbs and spices and contain far less calories than normal chips. Pair your pickle slices with garlic and dill, paprika and crushed red pepper, or a little smidgen of butter. Pickles are loaded with salt, so it might not be a good option for those watching their salt intake.
Not this: Chips | But that: Thinly sliced pickles
3. Raw Nuts
Everybody is aware of the health benefits of raw nuts–in moderation. When your chocolate cravings are kicking you in the gut, opt for raw nuts instead. Usually, chocolate cravings are your body’s way of screaming for more magnesium, which raw nuts contain plenty of. Do try to avoid roasted, toasted, or salted nuts as they end up doing more harm than good. Try not to eat too many as the calories can add up quickly. A handful, say 10 or so, should do the trick. If your chocolate cravings are still not met, indulge in 2 squares of dark chocolate, making sure it’s 70% cocoa or more. Not only will you get an important dose of necessary antioxidants, the slight bitterness will add dimension and stop your chocolate craving in its track.
Not this: Chocolate | But that: Raw nuts
How did broccoli top a list of craving quenchers? Whenever you are craving a cheeseburger, fatty steak, or anything fatty really, your body might be in need of more calcium. Eating broccoli actually quells those fatty cravings as it is a great source of calcium. Nosh on some steamed or raw broccoli and drizzle some healthy dressing on top.
Not this: Fatty food | But that: Broccoli
Whenever you have an intense desire to inhale a package of potato chips, pretzels, salty crackers, or any other salty food, opt for fish. Your body most likely needs more salt, but instead of ingesting unhealthy, processed salt, eat fish, which naturally contains chlorides, the compound that constitutes regular table salt.
Not this: Salty food | But that: Fish
6. Red Meat
So it’s almost your time of the month and you’re having a massive craving streak. This is usually the result of low zinc levels, which is common pre-menstruation. Combat this by opting for steak. You can also use this as a chance to try out bison, ostrich, boar and other game meat. The novelty of it allows cravings to subside more easily.
Not this: PMS-cravings | But that: Red meat
Although important for Jack, beans are also important for us as well. When you want to devour a whole loaf of bread, eat beans instead. Usually, bread cravings stem from your body’s desire for more nitrogen. Beans contain plenty of it and also come in a variety of types and flavors. Lima beans are especially delicious.
Not this: Bread | But that: Beans
Binge eating is a monster of an issue. It’s one of the main reasons most people pack on pounds and quickly too. When you feel that your vices far exceed your logic, reach for raisins. Physiologically, binge eating is your body’s way of wanting more tryptophan, an important amino acid. Raisins contain plenty of them, while also satiating a sugar craving.
Not this: Binge eating | Raisins
9. Yogurt and Fruit
Ice cream can be the devil. Not only is it one of the fastest ways to gain a few pounds, it also contains a boatload of sugar per ounce. Opt for healthy plain yogurt, although Greek yogurt is superior, blended with frozen fruit. It’ll taste like ice cream, but without the hefty calories, fat, and sugar. Don’t have a blender? Top your yogurt with fresh fruit instead.
Not this: Ice cream | But that: Yogurt and fruit
10. Fake and Bake
When craving fried food, try out this healthier alternative. First preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Slice and dice a chosen vegetable–sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, or anything else you can think of–strips that resemble french fries. Dip the strips in egg whites and then into a 1:1:1 mixture of Parmesan cheese (feel free to omit this if you don’t want to use cheese), coconut flour (anything but white flour will work well), and bread crumbs (whole wheat is best). Bake for at least 10 minutes or until the edges starts to brown.
Not this: Fried food | But that: Fake and Bake Veggies
Have you recently found yourself raiding for snacks? That’s usually the result of low vitamin D levels. The raw fish in sushi is one of the few foods that contain natural sources of Vitamin D.
Not this: Snacks | But that: Sushi