This week I thought I’d try something new. Have you ever tried to think of alternatives to some of your cravings? Here were some of my cravings this week and the healthy alternatives I had instead.
at each and every meal
Salty, sweet and in-between cravings at every meal might leave you consuming more sugar, starch and calories than you should.
Craving: pancakes or waffles
The healthy alternative: You can still have your waffles or pancakes if you really want them, but you’ll need to make some substitutions to make this beloved breakfast food more healthy. Sub the white flour with whole-wheat flour, the chocolate chips with blueberries and the sugar with sweetener (or stevia if you’re worried about artificial sweeteners). And instead of syrup, try some whole fruit, no-sugar-added jam or vanilla yogourt, or find a no-sugar-added syrup that’s made with maltitol (a sugar substitute, if you’re not wary of them).
Craving: a sweet cereal like Cinnamon Toast Crunch
The healthy alternative: Oatmeal! One of my favourite cereals is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Though this cereal is now made with whole grains, it’s also loaded with sugar, as many delicious cereals are. I found a satisfying alternative in oatmeal. Cook your oatmeal as you usually would but without the salt, and then throw in a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter, lots of cinnamon and some nuts. Top it off with a few sprinkles of sweetener, or drizzle a no-sugar-added syrup. If you’re avoiding sweeteners, some raisins or berries will add a natural sweetness, while nuts give oatmeal a delicious crunch.
Lunch and dinner
Craving: a hearty burger and fries
The healthy alternative: You can still have your burger, just without the bun. Use iceberg lettuce leaves or large romaine lettuce pieces to create a healthier “bun” and to cut calories out. Skip on any sauces loaded with sugar, like BBQ sauce or ketchup, and find lower sugar alternatives. If you must still have your bread, use a whole-grain bun or whole-wheat pita bread instead of a white-flour bun. Skip on the fries, and opt for a salad or steamed vegetables. If you still want your fries, sweet potato fries contain less starch than regular fries. Another lower-calorie option is fried zucchini or cauliflower.
Craving: any type of pasta dish
The healthy alternative: You can still have your pasta but with a few substitutions, the main one being whole-wheat pasta. Whole-wheat or whole-grain pastas don’t compromise on the taste or texture. Load your pasta sauce with vegetables instead of lots of cheese. Olive oil-based sauces are lighter than creamy options.
The healthy alternative: 70 per cent cocoa dark chocolate. This has reduced sugar but not reduced taste. You still get the rich taste of chocolate and all the healthy benefits, without the added calories from sugar.
Craving: ice cream
The healthy alternative: Fat-free, no-sugar-added frozen yogourt topped with lots of fruit. Another alternative for something cold and delicious, believe it or not, is frozen fruits. Let your preferred fruit thaw out a bit before biting into it (be careful if you have sensitive teeth).
The healthy alternative: Brown rice crisps. Quaker makes them with whole-grain brown rice, and they come in a variety of delicious flavours, like dill pickle or salt and vinegar. Just be surenot to eat the entire bag. Another alternative is Triscuits, which are made from whole wheat. Triscuits also come in a variety of flavours, like tomato and herb or black pepper and olive oil. For something even healthier, steamed edamame (soy beans) are delicious and filling.
Craving: a cookie or doughnut
The healthy alternative: You will find this too easy, but reach for fruit instead. You get your sweet tooth satisfied without the added calories. If fruit doesn’t do it for you, try a handful of almonds mixed with a few pieces of dark chocolate — crunch and sweetness.