Cravings are something everyone experiences, even people who consistently eat a healthy diet. Occasional junk food is fine, especially if you are eating mindfully. But when these treats become go-to’s on a weekly basis (or more),  ), it may not have you feeling your best. Here are alternative options for seven of the most common food: 

Chips

Before you unleash your craving on a bag of chips, satisfy your need for something crunchy and salty. Try packaged pea crisps for a similar texture without all the salt. Or whip up some of your own veggie chips, for a nutrient-rich chip alternative. Roasted edamame or chickpeas are also simple to prepare, and give you a boost of protein and fiber that you won’t find in packaged chips. Simple toss frozen, thawed edamame or canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed) with a tablespoon of olive oil and fresh black pepper, and roast at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until crispy.

French Fries

To satisfy your salty french fry urge, make your own baked fries instead. Using either a regular potato or a sweet potato, cut it into wedges or thin strips. Brush them with olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and roast at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, turning once or twice.

Cookies and Cake

Unfortunately, most cookies, cakes, and sweets contain a large amount of added sugar, fat, and calories. Skip the store bought stuff and make your craving at home. Try a fruit-based dessert for a treat with natural sweetness, like banana bread or chocolate dipped strawberries. Or try these peanut butter zucchini brownies from hummusapien – so decadent and delicious, it’s hard to believe they are healthy!

Pizza

For a quick pizza alternative make English muffin pizzas. Cut a whole-wheat English muffin in half, top with tomato sauce, shredded cheese, and your choice of toppings (try diced peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli). Then bake at 400 degrees F for five to ten minutes. You can also try these pizza crust alternatives. Still craving that slice from the pizzeria? Enjoy a slice with a side salad.

Candy

Do you find yourself hitting the candy bowl one too many times during the day? My clients often reach for candy and sweets when they are having a stressful day, or are fighting the mid-afternoon energy slump. Unfortunately, sugar just makes this worse. Instead, choose naturally sweet dried fruit like pineapple, banana chips, or mango slices. Or stuff a few medjool dates with some peanut butter, for a combo of sweet plus salty that will keep your energy levels stable.

Ice Cream

Like all foods, ice cream can be enjoyed in moderation. Notice that you are looking for a scoop of that treat more and more. Go for a cold treat with less sugar, and more fiber, try making frozen banana ice cream. The best part? You only need one ingredient! I also love these other fruit-based ice cream recipes.

Mac and Cheese

This classic comfort food is a craving shared by adults and children alike. Instead of making it straight from the box, doctor it up with some of my tips , or make your own simple, healthy, one-pot mac and cheese .

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