Even though I’m a nutritionist, I’m also human. Cravings hit me all the time. I do try to keep things on the healthier end, but sometimes, well, I fall off the healthy wagon – and directly into chocolate land.

Sunflower seeds that are still in their shell are a great way to combat eating out of boredom without all the extra calories. Photo: Getty Images.

By Seanna Thomas

What do you eat when the cravings hit? I always tend to lean towards sweet, but sometimes, just sometimes, if a bowl of something deliciously salty is placed in front of me, I just can’t help myself. Because, once again, I’m human.

Sound familiar?

It’s a common issue and we all have cravings. I have some solutions for you that can help you stay on track, but satisfy that sweet, salty, or crunchy tooth when you need it most.

SWEET:

Greek yogurt mixed with banana and flax seed.

Sometimes the sweetness of a ripe banana is all you need, while the creamy protein from the yogurt and the fibre from the flax will fill you up and keep you satisfied.

Coconut chocolate frozen banana

Peel a ripe banana and place it on a popsicle stick or straw. Roll in 1 tbsp of melted dark chocolate and then sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes. Place on some parchment paper in the freezer. When a craving hits you, it will be waiting.

Chocolate peanut butter cup smoothie

Ever have a sweet craving first thing in the morning? This will get you ready for your day, plus keep you full until your lunch break.

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp plain kefir
  • Handful of spinach (trust!)

Directions:

Add everything to a blender all at once and blend until smooth. Enjoy.

Nice Cream

Have you heard of this amazing treat? Nice Cream is the next best thing to the real indulgence of ice cream when you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet. You can buy a machine that turns frozen bananas into “ice cream,” or you just blend frozen bananas in your blender and eat it right away. Yup, that’s it. You can make any flavour you want: strawberry, vanilla, chocolate chip. Just be warned: it’s addictive.

Fruit!

Yes, I’m serious. Hello fresh strawberries or peaches. Dipped in yogurt? Divine.

SALTY:

Edamame with sea salt

You can find shelled edamame in the freezer section of your grocery store, but buying it still in the pods is a great way to get your fix and slow down your snacking. If you have to get each and every little soybean out of its pod, you’ll probably end up eating less, but still satisfying that craving.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

Again, sunflower seeds that are still in their shell are a great way to combat eating out of boredom without all the extra calories. Just be careful – some varieties can be really heavily salted.

Kale chips

Make a batch of these one afternoon and keep them for a special treat.

Pickles

Not just for pregnant women anymore. Grab a few pickles and your craving will be zapped as quickly as it happened. They’re truly magical.

Miso soup

Another power-packed snack is this protein loaded soup. Not only does it contain tofu, but miso itself is a fermented soybean product. Curb your cravings while getting a nice dose of probiotics.

Seaweed

The latest superfood. It’s salty and full of vitamin B12, calcium, iodine and tons of other great stuff. But it’s also a soluble fibre, meaning it will slow down the absorption of sugar and cholesterol in the body. Eat this before bed and you’re doing yourself a huge favour.

CRUNCHY:

Cucumber sticks, veggie sticks, carrot sticks

There aren’t a lot of things crunchier than good ol’ veggie sticks.

Nuts

Need I say more? Just grab a handful, otherwise you’re walking into super-high fat territory. 

Roasted chickpeas

You can  make these yourself, or you can buy a bag of them. Either way, they are scrumptious and oh-so-crispy and crunchy.

Frozen grapes

Sweet and crunchy? Yup. These frozen treats have saved me many a night when I’ve had a bad craving for something cold and crisp.

Apple slices with nut butter

I find Sweetango or Honey Crisp Apples to be the crunchiest, but it’s a personal preference.

THE ULTIMATE: SWEET, SALTY AND CRUNCHY:

Popcorn with honey, salt, cinnamon.

You might think it’s weird, but try it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Pinch sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Pop the popcorn and place in a bowl.
  • Drizzle the honey over top and toss.
  • Add the salt and cinnamon. Toss and enjoy.

Yes, your hands will get sticky. Yes, you will shove entire handfuls into your mouth. No, you will not want to share. I promise you, it’s all worth it.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you, if you really don’t want to eat badly, is to not keep the bad stuff in the house. Honestly, you know you’re going to eat it eventually. If it’s not there, you won’t. And, maybe, you’ll choose one of these awesome options instead. And wake up guilt-free in the morning.

Nutrition Facts:

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie:

  • Calories: 270
  • Fat: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 1mg
  • Sodium: 250mg
  • Potassium: 748mg
  • Fibre: 7.2g
  • Protein: 8.6g
  • Natural Sugar: 16g

Popcorn:

  • Calories: 157
  • Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 145mg
  • Potassium: 86mg
  • Fibre: 4g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Natural Sugars: 17g

Seanna Thomas is a regular contributor to Triathlon Magazine Canada. She’s a holistic nutrional consultant from Toronto who balances her career and three kids in impressive style. Find out more about Seanna at nutritionnaire.com

This story originally appeared in the January, 2020 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.

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