By Breanna Woods, Contributing blogger
We all have cravings. While it’s okay to indulge every now and then, giving into every craving could seriously derail your fitness goals. Since you never know when a craving may strike, it’s good to have some healthy swaps on hand to keep you satisfied, but also on track.
These are some of our favorite healthy swaps for any type of craving, whether it’s sweet, salty, crunchy, or greasy.
If You’re Craving Something Sweet
If your sweet tooth is strong, we can relate. It’s hard to ignore a craving for something sweet and decadent. There are a lot of reasons you might feel like you need sugar, but two big ones are hormones and emotions.
Sometimes hormonal shifts actually rev up cravings for sweets and carbohydrates in general. A shift in emotions can do the same thing. Feeling down or stressed makes your body literally crave comfort. Then, sugar satisfies the area of the brain that feels rewards. In other words, eating sweets really can make you feel a little better.
So, next time you’re raiding your pantry for something sweet, try some of these healthier options:
Banana “Ice Cream”
This healthy treat is a pretty popular alternative for ice cream. That’s because it’s actually delicious and creamy, which means this healthy swap actually gets the job done when you want a bowl of ice cream. Just slice and freeze a ripe banana. Then, blend it! We were shocked to see how much this actually looks and feels like soft serve. Pro tip: add a little cocoa powder or peanut butter.
Eating donuts for breakfast might lead to a crash later in the day. Unless you make a recipe like this one for protein donuts! These are high in protein and low in sugar, which means they’ll fuel your morning with no crash in the afternoon. They’re also baked instead of fried.
Image courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie
Single Serving Mug Cake
The biggest problem about cake is the fact that you’re usually stuck with an entire cake to tempt you. Mug cakes are great because they only make a single portion! Try this recipe if you want something indulgent with the option to add lighter ingredients.
“Cookie Dough” Greek Yogurt
Maybe you’re avoiding cookie dough because it’s high in calories and sugar. Or, maybe you’re avoiding it because of the whole salmonella thing. Either way, this is a healthy swap that can help satisfy your cookie dough craving. Start with plain 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt and add one tablespoon of peanut butter, ¼ teaspoon vanilla, and a few chocolate chips.
Indulge in your need for chocolate, but make it healthier. Dark chocolate actually provides antioxidants and fiber, which makes it pretty healthy as long as you don’t overdo it! Try dipping strawberries, blueberries, oranges or sliced bananas in dark chocolate. Let them harden in the fridge or freezer and you’ll have a delicious treat ready to go!
If Salty And Crunchy Food Is Your Weakness
Eating too much salt can make you feel bloated and harm your long term health. If your cravings tend to be more on the salty side, we’ve got you covered.
This healthy swap for greasy potato chips is a win. Just thinly slice up some veggies, like sweet potato or carrots. Toss them in a little olive oil and salt. Then, just roast them in the oven until they’re nice and crispy! Kale chips are a good option too.
Salty and crunchy - the best of both worlds. Plus, did you know that popcorn is a whole grain? This healthy snack is best when you make it yourself. That way, you can control the amount of butter and salt.
Raw Veggies with Greek Yogurt “Ranch”
No, you don’t have to eat raw, plain veggies when you’re actually dying for a bag of chips. Instead you’re going to dip them in a creamy Greek yogurt ranch dip. All you need is some plain Greek yogurt and a packet of ranch dressing mix.
When You Want Greasy Or Fried Food
Sometimes you just need a little comfort food. Something greasy like pizza, nachos, fries, or wings. Or maybe something like creamy soup or a hearty casserole. YUM. If you weren’t craving them before, maybe you are now. Sorry!
So what can you do if you’re craving something greasy or fried? Here are some ideas.
Image courtesy of Live Eat Learn
All of the flavor of the real thing, without all of the calories and fat. And bonus - you sneak in a serving of veggies! Try this recipe in the air fryer to make them extra crispy.
Flatbread Veggie Pizza
DIY pizza is the way to go when you’re trying to up the nutritional content. A whole wheat flatbread crust will provide more fiber for less calories. Then, choose a sauce and load it up with plenty of veggies. Don’t forget a sprinkle of cheese!
Simply swapping a typical greasy beef burger for a lean turkey patty makes a huge difference! To add flavor, try mixing ingredients like onion, feta cheese, spinach, and plenty of seasoning into your turkey burger.
Image courtesy of Food Network
Bell Pepper Nachos
Remember, it’s not always necessary to curb your cravings for something more healthy. Indulging every now and then is normal! These swaps can help you stick to your goals without missing your favorite foods.