How to fight your favorite cravings (You HAVE to try #2!):

coffee

This week, I decided to do a fun little post on combating common cravings for high-carbohydrate foods. I have plenty of other posts out there on how carbohydrates are processed just like sugar in the body. Excess carbohydrates can make us feel sleepy, raise our inflammation levels, and lead to an increase in body fat. I don’t intend to go in-depth with those issues today. Instead, I want to delve right in to some delicious substitutions for your favorite decadent treats.

In my nutrition coaching experience, I have found that for people to improve their health, they cannot rely solely on will power. Sheer fortitude alone will only carry you so far. If you feel deprived of your favorite foods on a daily basis, sooner or later, your efforts will backfire, often resulting in a binge on the very foods you were trying to avoid. The most effective way to eliminate unhealthy foods is to replace them with foods that contain better nutrition.

I see hundreds of food journals each month. For this post, I have chosen from the top ten junk foods that people crave. From there, I narrowed it down to five foods that can be easily made in your home inexpensively, without special equipment or strange ingredients.

Your Craving:

  • McDonalds French Fry

1. Medium fry contains 380 calories & 48 carbohydrates. (Not to mention rancid oils.)

Eat This Instead:

Potato slices, pan-fried in coconut oil, lard, or butter, and salted. Pre-heat 1 tbsp. of your choice of temperature-stable cooking oil in a skillet on medium-high. Slice a russet potato lengthwise, into oval disks. Fry on each side, salting liberally, until the outside of the potato is browned and crispy and the inside is soft.

Recipe contains 260 calories & 32 carbohydrates.

Your Craving:

  • Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

2. Grande contains 310 calories & 49 carbohydrates. (Also contains artificial flavors & colors.)

Eat This Instead:

You will need a blender. Add 8 oz. hot coffee, 4 oz. unsweetened almond milk, ¼ cup fresh or canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tbsp. honey to the blender. Blend well until mixed & enjoy! If you crave a richer latte, sub canned coconut milk for the almond milk. If you crave one that is sweeter, add more honey. You could also use espresso and add more milk.

As written, recipe contains 145 calories & 23 carbohydrates.

Your Craving:

  • Lay’s Potato Chips

3. 30 Chips contain 320 calories & 28 carbohydrates.

Eat This Instead:

Roasted & salted pumpkin seeds! Trust me on this one. If you love crunchy, salty foods, pumpkin seeds are great! You can buy them at the store, but I prefer to roast my own at home. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Toss the seeds in a bit of oil—I like red palm oil for its nutty flavor—and salt. You can also add any other seasonings you like, such as a packet of ranch dressing. Bake until golden brown, usually 10-12 minutes.

½ cup contains just 150 calories & 11 carbohydrates.

Your Craving:

  • Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

4. 1 cup contains 720 calories & 52 carbohydrates.

Eat This Instead:

Peel a banana, break it into chunks, and toss it in the freezer for four or more hours. (This one requires a little bit of forethought. Or you can just keep frozen bananas on-hand all the time…) Throw frozen banana chunks into a blender, along with 2 tbsp peanut butter, a splash of almond or coconut milk, and a bit of vanilla extract. Blend on high until the mix forms a consistency like soft-serve ice cream, then stir in a tbsp. of chocolate chips. If your ice cream is too runny, you can toss it back in the freezer for a little while to solidify.

The entire bowl of ice cream contains about 350 calories & 30 carbohydrates.

(Note: you can use the banana/almond milk/vanilla base to create other flavors as well. Add mint extract and chocolate chips and a few spinach leaves for a delicious chocolate chip mint, or add pecans, coconut, and pineapple for a tropical twist!)

Your Craving:

  • A Great Big Bowl of Granola

5. 1 cup of Quaker Natural granola contains 446 calories & 70 carbohydrates. (Milk not included.)

Eat This Instead:

You can make your own version of grain-less granola at home. This one is my favorite: Take ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds, ¾ cup sunflower seeds, 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut, 3 cups almonds, 1.5 cups almond meal, 3-4 tbsp pumpkin pie spice, ¾ cup raw honey, ½ cup raisins, ¾ cup melted coconut oil, & 3 tbsp pure vanilla extract. Stir all ingredients together and spread onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees, turning halfway through.

1 cup contains about 400 calories & 20 carbohydrates. (Much fewer carbs than its oat-filled alternative, and this version has more protein and healthy fats. And my cereal-obsessed father didn’t notice the difference!)

So, there you have it! Five this for that swaps that will have you eating healthier, without feeling deprived.

Yours in Health,

Angie

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