There isn't a day that goes by when I don't have a craving for chocolate. Yours may be for bread, pasta, ice cream, cheese or something salty. If we indulge excessively it can cause weight gain and can ultimately lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Satisfy those "guilty pleasures" in a healthier way:
Eating After Dinner
We just finished a great dinner and within a couple of hours we are scavenging through the cupboards, fridge and freezer. Keep your calories before bed to no more than 200. For a healthier snack try a bowl of yogurt and fruit; a slice of cheese and crackers; or an apple with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter.
Pretzels, potato chips and beef jerky are favorites to enjoy while watching TV or sitting in front of your computer. Salt makes you want more salt and these foods are leading causes of high blood pressure. I like to make my own popcorn and add some sea salt. Forget the packaged, high-sodium popcorn. Try steamed edamame with a sprinkle of sea or kosher salt or 1 oz. of cheese and crackers.
Substitutes for Anything With Sugar
Gummy bears, Twizzlers, Skittles and Starbursts are addictive and nutritionally empty. When have you ever stopped at one? The sugar gives us a momentary rush then a crash. Try sweet fruit like watermelon, strawberries or melon. Dried fruit, if kept to a minimum, also satisfies a sweet tooth. A bowl of multi-grain cereal with added fruit also quiets a sugar craving.
Creamy Dips for Veggies
You sit down to a healthy bowl of veggies and wreck it all with a high-fat dip made with excess oil, mayonnaise or hydrogenated fats. Try different flavors of hummus such as red bell pepper, garlic flavored and even pesto hummus. Try exotic vegetables and you'll have one nutritious and delicious snack.
Crunchy Food Substitutes
That crunch in your mouth is very satisfying when munching. Chips, pretzels and popcorn do the trick. How about getting a healthier crunch from a handful of nuts adding dried fruit? Or pop your own popcorn by placing a handful of kernels in a paper bag and microwaving for three minutes. Add some kosher salt and a light spray of vegetable oil and you have a longer lasting snack.
Sweet Beverages High in Calories
Are you trying to get off pop, soda and fruit cocktail beverages? It's easy to down a couple of these sugared drinks in one sitting. Try Perrier or soda water along with some ice and sliced lemons, limes or oranges; a healthy substitute for those sugar beverages.