10 Healthy Foods to Eat When Cravings Strike
Did you know, 50% of people regularly experience food cravings! Craving foods or 'unhealthy' foods is a very normal thing!
However if you're following a calorie deficit diet, you probably want to watch what you are snacking on and how many calories you are taking in.
Fruit is naturally very sweet and a great choice when you get a sugar craving.
In addition to tasting great, fruit is an extremely nutritious snack. It provides antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds, all in very few calories.
Furthermore, eating fruit has been linked to better health and a lower risk of diseases like heart disease and obesity.
One 2015 review found that eating 300 grams (or 4 servings) of fruit per day reduced the risk of heart disease by 16%.
To make your fruit feel more like a treat, try dipping it in a little dark chocolate or making a mixed fruit bowl.
Creamy and indulgent, but it’s also really healthy.
It’s high in protein and lower in sugar than regular yoghurt, and it’s a good source of calcium, B vitamins and beneficial bacteria.
This combination of nutrients makes it a great food for both your bone and digestive health.
Moreover, topping your Greek yogurt with fruit may provide additional health benefits and nutrients.
If you are craving chocolate, you can try swapping your regular milk chocolate for a small amount of dark chocolate.
It's made with at least 70% cocoa is not only delicious, but it also contains a high amount of antioxidants.
Additionally, including dark chocolate in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease.
However, you’ll still need to watch your portion size. While small amounts have been linked to health benefits, larger amounts will add a lot of sugar to your diet and may not have the same protective effects.
Stick to a small square or two to satisfy your craving.
Drip some fruit in nut butter - this makes a delicious snack that’s popular among health conscious people. Eating a small amount of nut butter with fruit can be the perfect way to satisfy a craving for a sweet and crunchy treat.
This snack provides all the vitamins, minerals and fibre found in fruit, as well as the healthy fats, proteins and beneficial plant compounds found in nuts. However, on its own, nut butter can be very easy to overeat. To make sure your snack is as healthy as possible, watch your portion size and choose a nut butter that contains only nuts (and perhaps a bit of salt).
A mild-flavoured cheese product that’s low in calories but very nutritious. Despite containing only 163 calories per cup, it consists of about 70% protein and contains good amounts of calcium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin (B2).
The high protein and low calorie content of cottage cheese can make it a really good snack choice, especially if you are trying to lose weight. This is because high intakes of protein from dairy foods like cottage cheese have been shown to help people feel fuller longer, which could help you eat less and lose weight.
If you’re craving sweet and creamy ice cream, you could try making yourself this healthy alternative.
Banana ice cream is made by blending ripe bananas in a food processor and freezing them for at least an hour.
This snack is not only creamy and full of flavour, it’s also much lower in calories and higher in fibre than regular ice cream.
If you want to make this treat more interesting, you can add other ingredients like milk, fruit or spices to mix up the flavour.
Popcorn can be a great snack to satisfy your salt craving without blowing your calorie budget, especially if you’re prone to snacking on chips.
However, the preparation method, serving size and topping choice are key when choosing a healthy popcorn to snack on.
A 3-cup (about 30-gram) serving of plain popcorn contains just over 100 calories, but eating large servings that have been sweetened with sugar or caramel can mean the calories add up.
Additionally, homemade, air-popped popcorn is much lower in calories than popcorn that has been popped in hot oil. Avoid pre-packaged microwave varieties, which are full of unhealthy ingredients and calories.
You can keep your popcorn snack healthy by choosing air-popped, plain or slightly salted popcorn and watching your serving size.
If you’re craving something to eat but need to watch your calorie intake, try snacking on some olives.
Olives are a small, pitted fruit that’s often featured in the Mediterranean diet in the form of olive oil.
They’re low in calories and contain a wide range of beneficial plant compounds.
Additionally, oleic acid, which is the main fat found in olives, has been linked to some health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved heart health.
Edamame are immature soybeans. People often boil them and then sprinkle them with salt before popping out the beans for a tasty snack.
If you’re craving something a bit salty, edamame is a great choice.
This low-calorie snack is high in fibre, protein and a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and folate. 1 cup (155 grams) of edamame contains about 190 calories and 17 grams of protein.
It also contains 52% of the RDI for vitamin K and over 100% of the RDI for folate.
This makes edamame a really healthy snack and a great choice for halting your salty cravings in their tracks.
Miso soup can also be an excellent choice for dealing with salty cravings.
Miso paste, its main ingredient, is made by fermenting soybeans with salt, grains and a type of fungus called koji.
This Japanese soup is not only tasty and low in calories, it’s a good source of fiber, protein, beneficial plant compounds and quite a few vitamins and minerals.
It’s also been linked to a few health benefits.
For example, one study found that Japanese women who regularly ate miso soup had a lower risk of breast cancer.
Another study found that Japanese women who ate a lot of plant compounds from soy-based foods like miso soup had a lower risk of stroke.