Before you dive into the bag of potato chips or hit up that pint of rocky road — pause. Now consider these healthier options. Whether you're craving something sweet, salty, or a combo of the two, these snacks come with satisfaction, not regret. Similar to a glossary (but better), this snack guide will tame your taste buds no matter what you're in the mood for. Click through to see all 28 options, or get straight to the point below.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
We've all been there — that hankering for something that's not-so-great for us gets in the way of our normally sensible diets. How to deal.
"OMG, work is insane. Ooh, are those homemade?"
Stress may raise levels of ghrelin, a hunger hormone, making high-fat foods extra alluring. Fight the urge by literally walking away. A change of scenery helps you hit the pause button on hankerings.
"I can't stop ordering takeout. It's all I want."
No wonder you've got the Chinese place on speed dial: Too much fast food can overload your body with O-6s, and the excess can make you yearn for more fatty fare. The easy fix: Eat some healthy food with O-3s, like fish!
"The news bums me out, then I want to eat."
Thinking about tough times can bring on the desire to self-soothe by chowing on calorie-dense eats, research suggests. Simply being aware that the 11 p.m. news turns you into a junk food-seeking zombie can help you mind what you put in your mouth. You'll also avoid bad news from the scale later.
"The pastry at the a.m. meeting is so tempting."
Skip breakfast and those Danishes will win every time. "When you're starving, your body craves comfort foods," says Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., author of Crave. Eat within an hour of waking (protein and healthy carbs and fat) to fend off a growling stomach.
Pickles and ice cream have nothing on Kourtney Kardashian's cravings this go-round! The pregnant mama — who's expecting a baby girl in a few months — kept things healthy while pregnant with her son Mason, 2, but this baby has her gobbling down comfort food. During an appearance on The Rachael Ray Show today, Kourtney explained that she found herself wanting fruit and frozen yogurt the first time around, but now it's "cheeseburgers, sour cream and onion chips, and double-stuffed Oreos." And while that all sounds tasty — though, not quite healthy — the biggest problem she's having is keeping her son away from her treats! Take a look and tell us, did your cravings change with subsequent pregnancies?
There's lots to love about sugar: it makes dessert delicious and fruit flavorful. But eating too much sugar (more than the recommended six teaspoons a day) is bad for more than your waistline. Read on for three important reasons to cut back on sugar.
You always want more: It's hard to stop at just one cookie or piece of cake; that's because sugar is addictive. Eating sugar activates feel-good chemicals in your brain, making it hard to resist cravings. As a sugar high diminishes, the body's want for it increases, leading to a never-ending cycle of trying to resist the call of the cookie jar.
It makes you tired: Sugar may energize you at first (thanks to that quick insulin spike), but once you crash, you're left feeling fatigued. If you're tired of feeling foggy-headed as the afternoon wears on, try limiting sugary and starchy foods. But don't think this means you need to lay off that afternoon apple, however; while containing fructose, fruit is also made up of fiber and other nutrients that make them some of the best kinds of snacks.
It increases your risk of serious illnesses: Eating too much sugar can lead to heart disease, liver damage, stroke, and an increased risk of cancer. Many processed foods contain a surprising amount of hidden sugars already, so it helps to make a conscious effort to stick to whole, natural foods.
These should be reasons enough to cut back on your sugar intake! If you need help cutting back on sugar, read our tips on how to reduce your sugar (and salt) cravings here.
It's an endless cycle: satiating your salt and sugar cravings can end up with you just wanting more. Once our taste buds get used to sugary or salty foods, it's hard to cut back. Since most of us are eating way more than the recommended daily values for sugar (six teaspoons of added sugar a day) and salt (1500 to 2300 mg a day) — not to mention the sugar and salt levels hiding in processed foods — cutting back on these addictive ingredients is important.
You can put me in the over-salter group. Whether it's a stir-fry or chips and salsa, I find myself craving salty foods all the time. Lately, however, I've been trying to cut back on my sodium intake, and I've been realizing just how hard it can be.
Are you also a big fan of salt or sugar? Read on for some tips that have helped me cut my cravings.
Pickles and ice cream may be the punch line of pregnancy craving jokes, but most mamas-to-be have much more interesting food necessities. Our readers told us about wanting everything from canned soup to raw pie dough throughout their nine months, and celeb mamas-to-be have equally interesting desires. Take this quiz to see just how much you know about Hollywood's expectant moms.
We are pumped to share our fave story from Self here on FitSugar!
One common work-week diet trap: the 3-o'clock munchies. You know the feeling. Before you know it, you're standing before the vending machine, with the voice in your head saying "I want, I want, I want!" Here's how to silence those thoughts without feeling deprived. Ready to take control over your cravings? Follow these three simple tricks:
- Do indulge (in moderation): Denying yourself of the very treats you love is only going to make you want them more — and if you cut them out completely you may find yourself binging on them within a week's time. Better to keep yourself in check by practicing moderation. Love chocolate? Eat two small squares daily rather than the entire bar. Is it crunch you crave? Trade in fatty potato crisps for a healthy chip alternative.
- Try positive self-talk: Be gentle with yourself. So you ate a few cookies, so what! It's OK. Stay calm. You will not (I repeat): You will not blow up like a balloon. Rather than beat yourself up for allowing yourself a small indulgence, tell yourself "A few cookies is not an entire box. I deserve to satisfy my sweet tooth and I have. I don't need to eat any more cookies (today)." Being mindful of your inner dialogue will do wonders for your self-esteem and your waistline.
- Breathe before you bite: When that explosive wave of "I want (insert cookies, cake, chips, dip, etc. here)" hits, step away from the fridge. Make a commitment to yourself to wait it out at least 10 minutes. Focus on your breathing and what you are feeling. Are you sad, angry, or tired? If so, try improving your mood without food — call a friend, blast a song you love, take a walk or write in a journal. Chances are your yen for treats will pass. If you're truly hungry and feel your belly rumbling after those 10 minutes, eat — but try to choose a healthy snack.
Find five more ways to train your brain to shut out (and up!) those pesky cravings inside your head.
Need more food for thought? Read these stories at Self.com:
Salted avocado topped with cottage cheese and raw pie dough, please! When an expectant mama's stomach is dictating her food intake, anything goes. We asked our readers to share their craziest pregnancy cravings and weren't surprised when some of the responses were unlikely pairings. See if yours made the list!
- Mexican food
- Gummy candy
Pickles with ice cream or eggs round the clock, tell us: what was your most shocking pregnancy craving?
When trying to forge a healthy habit, even the strongest among us can slip up sometimes. Whatever our resolutions may be — working out every day, not eating sweets, having just one cup of coffee per day — we have unintended cheat days or weak moments. But just because you give in to temptation once doesn't mean you should give up your healthy goals.
I'll admit that sometimes when I veer from my healthy habits, I'm tempted to stay off track — just throw up my hands thinking the damage is done. This particularly happens during the holidays: if I pig out at one meal, why not just overeat at the next meal too? Or, after skipping workouts on vacation, it's difficult to motivate myself again.
But remember: just because you give in to temptation once doesn't mean you should give up entirely. In fact, it's even more reason to reset your healthy goals. If you end up eating a Snickers bar for breakfast in a weak moment, don't beat yourself up over it. Just make your next choice a healthy one and go from there. How do you deal with weak moments?