Struggling with raging cravings? Don’t worry – you’ve got lots of company! A study published in the journal Appetite found that a whopping 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men experience food cravings. Whether your weakness is for something chocolaty, salty, sugary, or crunchy, here are 10 healthier go-to options that satisfy.
Chocolate: About half of all women crave chocolate, making it the most-craved food. If gooey, chocolaty candy bars, brownies or other morsels start calling your name, here are two of my favorite better-for-you chocolate bites.
Frozen chocolate-dipped bananas. With this simple dessert you can get your chocolate fix while enjoying the taste and nutritional benefits of a banana. Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber and potassium. All this in less than 180 calories!
S’mores. Place a 1 oz dark chocolate square and a marshmallow on a half graham cracker sheet and broil until slightly melted. Top with the other half of the graham cracker. Portion-controlled at about 150 calories, this is one chocolaty treat that will keep you in your skinny jeans.
Salty: These stand-ins for potato chips, pretzels and other salt-rich faves are heart-smart and waistline-friendly
Artichoke hearts. Artichokes, prepared the right way, are one of my savory favorites. Just drain a can of hearts and sprinkle with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a few capers or dash of salt. This veggie is a good source of folate, filling fiber and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. In fact, they rank 7th on USDA’s top-20 antioxidant-rich foods .
Pistachios. With six grams of plant-powered protein per ounce (about 49 kernels), pistachios are a satisfying snack. In addition to their protein, pistachios provide fiber and healthy fats—a trio that helps stomp out hunger. The shells may even slow you down to help keep you satisfied between meals without overindulging.
Olives. For a fast, simple salt-craving stopper, olives can’t be beat. Contrary to popular belief, olives are not high in calories. In fact, a serving of extra large black olives (about 4) has only 25 calories. Enjoy them on their own or add to soups, salads or salsas.
Sugary: When my sweet tooth starts talking to me, here’s what I answer with:
Fresh Fruit. When you need to tame a sweet tooth, reach for naturally sweet fresh and dried fruit choices.While they have plenty of natural sugars, they also pack in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some of my favorites: Easy-to-peel clementines – they’re sweeter than many citrus options and are perfectly portable. Two clementines have just 80 calories and a whopping 290% vitamin C.
Dried Fruit: Figs are another sweet cravings crusher. Known for their fiber content, figs also contain more calcium, potassium and iron than many other common fruits. Figs also contain disease-fighting antioxidants. One serving – 3 to 5 dried or fresh figs – provides 3.5 grams insoluble fiber and 1.5 grams water-soluble fiber.
Crunchy: Need some crunch while you munch? These are sure to quash your crunchy cravings:
Air-popped popcorn. Not only is popcorn a whole grain, you can enjoy 3 cups of air-popped popcorn for just 90 calories while getting 3.5 grams of fiber. Make it tasty but keep it healthy by toping with 2-3 teaspoons of grated Parmesan cheese.
Pomegranate arils. The sweet-tart pomegranate arils (the fruit’s juicy seeds), make for a great crunchy, high-fiber snack with lots of flavor without too many calories. I eat them on their own and also add them to cereal, yogurt, and salads when I want an added burst of flavor and texture.
Veggie crudités and dip. Put the breaks on a crunchy craving with nutrient-rich veggies and dips. Nothing feels quite as crunchy as crisp raw veggies. I pair fiber-packed carrots, celery, and broccoli crudités with ¼ cup protein-filled hummus or black bean dip.