One challenge of eating clean is avoiding cravings. Several years ago when I was tracking what I ate I listened to my body and started noticing my cravings were usually distinctly sweet or salty. I wanted a cookie, but a little oatmeal did the job. Or Doritos sounded like just what I wanted but somehow a bowl of veggies with some salt and spices was almost more fulfilling. As I paid attention more and more I could tell when my body wanted something I could replace versus directly craving one specific food. After all, sometimes your body really wants a nutrient and you might stuff your face more “eating around” it than just giving in.
So after a few years of experimenting, I have found a list of replacement foods for various cravings. I’ll divide them by sweet and salty/savory since that’s how I tend to crave. But my overall rule of thumb for replacement success is to match both the sweet/salt craving with ingredients in them. For example, cookie may mean I’m craving sweet plus carbs. Ice cream, sweet plus dairy. Hamburger = salt + protein. Chips I may want salty and crunchy. Most of my suggestions are fast since most of the things you’re combatting are too. Gotta make these quick if you want to talk yourself out of them, right?
Have something you crave? Tell me and I will try to come up with a replacement!
Oatmeal (add a little brown sugar, semi-sweet chocolate chips, nuts, fruit or dried fruit if it needs a kick)
Fruit dipped in semi-sweet chocolate
Whole grain cereal
Fruit and veggie smoothie
Tea with honey
Whole grain raisin bread (sparingly, but better than some desserts)
Banana with peanut butter
Green smoothie (good when I’m craving a shake!)
Healthy banana bread
Mints or gum
Frozen fruit eaten like a Popsicle
Bowl of cooked veggies with salt (just pop frozen vegetables of choice in the microwave)
Fresh vegetables with or without dip
Popcorn (air popped with a tiny olive oil and salt)
Eggs (hard boiled, scrambled, however you prefer)
Whole wheat toast
Slices of lunch meat
Low fat string cheese
Whole wheat crackers and salsa
Tortilla with avocado, salt and pepper
Sliced tomatoes with salt
V8 or similar juice
Black bean burrito
Confession — I have a sweet tooth. Now often I can combat it, but sometimes I just want to give over to temptation and eat a pan of brownies. That’s the problem — I would want to eat the whole pan! There’s nothing rewarding in that. So as I was getting a craving tonight, I took a glance over at that big bowl of apples sitting on my counter and decided to get creative. When you need a yummy dessert, these apples are pretty sinless. At just under 170 calories (depending on the apple), Eve won’t feel bad at all. Even Adam might take a bite. This recipe is for one, but they would be a great dessert to multiply for company or a healthy family dessert.
Sinless Chai Baked Apple
1/2 tsp sugar (or artificial sweetener)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp raisins or dried cranberries
2 tbsp Original Oregon Chai concentrate (or substitute with brewed chai + 1/2 tsp honey)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Core the apple using an apple corer or paring knife leaving a 1″ hole. Place apple in a oven safe bowl. Mix together cinnamon, sugar, walnuts and raisins and stuff inside the apple.
Heat up chai until nearly boiling and pour into bowl around apple. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until apple is soft and caramelized.
Enjoy every sinless bite.Read More
It’s the new year and this week I have been getting my butt in gear. I’m aiming to exercise five days a week and eat a healthy diet within my calorie limit.
Now I don’t know about you, but I hate feeling constrained to food I hate, constantly struggling to count calories and forcing a workout schedule upon myself. There’s a reason it never works for most people. Many start off strong, but give up after a week or two once they get back into old habits. Despite that, people who are track their diet, exercise, and weight tend to lose weight more consistently. That means the key to success is tracking your real-time progress and following your schedule so you can get real, measurable results.
Why I like My Fitness Pal.
You set the goals.
When you create an account, you input your health goals whether you’re looking to maintain and tone or lose weight. Having it written down where I see it everyday and tracking progress is half the motivation I need to keep going.
It makes counting calories easy — even fun.
I am a snacker. I am much more likely to eat 5-7 little meals a day than I am to sit down for 2-3 large ones. In many ways this is the ideal way to eat for your metabolism, but when I stop watching what’s going in, it’s easy to end up over-indulging. With the MFP food diary you simply look up the food you ate (down to the exact brand and amount), and input it into breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks where it records all the nutritional info. Now for the fun part — they also have a handy barcode scanner so you can scan the exact food your eating and it is added instantly. Yeah, I’m a nerd, but I sort of get excited to use the scanner.
Once you start tracking, you will start to make smarter decisions about where to “spend” your calories. You find yourself choosing an apple instead of muffin or a side salad instead of fries to conserve your calories. Afterall you don’t want to get to dinner and realize you only have 200 left. Beyond calories, it also measures your other daily nutrients like fat, calcium, fiber, etc so you can make sure you’re reaching your nutritional goals there as well. I don’t worry too much if I go over on vitamin C, but if I’m way over on fat even if I’m under on calories, I know I need to watch it.
It makes me want to exercise.
The site has tons of different exercises and is measured by the amount of time you spend doing that exercise. A lot of losing weight is about your caloric intake. If you are maintaining your weight by consuming 2,500 calories and you lower that to 2,000, you will begin to see results. Now if you eat 2,500 calories but burn 500 at the gym, you still net out at your caloric goal of 2,000. You see the incentive here? I love food and those calories represent something totally delicious I would otherwise have to abstain from. I started to notice how much more I love my workout days over my “too lazy to get off my ass” days because I got to eat a little more. Also on days I know I have a party or a dinner out, I plan ahead by burning some extra calories to make up for it.
You can track weight, measurements and progress.
Not only can you track your daily progress in your caloric intake, but you can track your weight and measurements week to week. It creates a graph so you can see progress since your last “weigh in.” You can add custom measurements too! For instance I added stuff like body fat and water weight (since my scale tracks those) as well as measurements like my waist, hips, thighs, etc. Tracking this shows your visible progress and gives you even more motivation to keep it up.
Connect with friends for motivation.
Find other fitness pals or even share info with your actual workout buddies to keep you in line and cheer you on. I have a few friends in different states and we all comment on each other’s posts when they’ve accomplished something great like losing weight or rocking it at the gym. Don’t worry — they don’t have to see it all. You can choose to keep all your info totally private if you want, or control what your friends see. With my friends, my feed will share when I’ve lost weight (but not if I’ve gained) and my workouts.
To sum it up.