30 snacks that will keep you from piling on the pounds

Cravings happen even to the healthiest of us. Often, when a craving hits in the afternoon or the evening after dinner, we get the urge to snack. Snacking can be a bad habit to get into, because the snacks we choose are often junky, un-nutritious, and high in calories, sugar, or fat.

The trick to snacking without piling on the pounds is to find healthy alternatives to the regular snacks you might normally reach for. Usually, when we get a craving, it is for either something sweet (chocolate!), savory (potato chips!), creamy (ice cream!), or crunchy (crisps!). Obviously, my examples are foods you shouldn’t eat all the time if you want to be trim and healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to fight your cravings for the rest of your life. Instead, you just need to substitute.

Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:

  • fresh, whole fruit
  • apples and almond butter
  • dried fruit
  • green smoothies
  • banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or  raisins ,and serve)
  • dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butter
  • organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips

 For your savory cravings, try these healthy alternatives:

  • olives
  • pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root
  • tabouli, hummus
  • steamed vegetables with tamari/shoyu or umeboshi vinegar
  • freshly made salsa or guacamole
  • Sauerkraut (will also knock your sweet craving right out!)
  • salted edamame

 Your creamy cravings can be met by eating:

  • smoothies
  • avocados
  • rice pudding
  • dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush
  • puréed soups
  • puddings made with silken tofu, avocado, or mashed banana
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • coconut milk

 Finally, don‘t cave and reach for the Pringles, when you can eat these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks:

  • apples
  • frozen grapes
  • rice cakes
  • light popcorn or plain popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan)
  • carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
  • celery and nut butter
  • raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
  • homemade sweet potato chips (see recipe below)

 Don’t fight your craving. Instead, listen to what it is your body wants specifically and choose the healthier option that will be good to your waistline.

sweet-potato-chips2

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Makes 2 servings

2 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon(optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This recipe requires that the sweet potatoes be thinly sliced in order to be crispy. The best tool for the job is a mandolin. If you don’t have one, you can also use a very sharp knife, however the chips will not be as crispy. Lightly coat your slices with olive oil and cinnamon. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then place the slices on the parchment paper, making sure they do not overlap. Bake for a total of 2 hours. Halfway through the cooking process, flip the chips onto the opposite side. When the chips are done, remove from the oven, and immediately sprinkle with sea salt. Allow the chips to rest for at least 10 minutes before eating.

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