Food can be filled with emotions, labels and information that’s not totally factual. Making decisions about what to eat can be a minefield. Especially if you don’t have a good base understanding of nutrition. But how do you get that? Where should you get your information from?
Often when people begin to look for ways to lose weight, they’ll be told to cut out the junk food, sweets or other indulgences. But dropping all these sweet treats from your diet, while likely good for you, can leave you feeling deprived. Like you’re missing out on something. I know for me, as soon as I tell myself I can’t have something, it’s all I can think about. It almost makes me crave that food on the spot!
And I believe that eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. You want to enjoy the food you’re eating and if you’ve got cravings for sweets or junk food, what should you do? You don’t want to lead a life that will lead to heart disease but you want to enjoy yourself!
Another challenge many people face is certain activities that involve food. Think about the Superbowl and you’ll likely be dreaming of nachos and cheese. Or what about a visit to the movie theater? Is it complete without a big bowl of buttery popcorn?
Below I want to share with you some simple solutions for all of these cravings to help you take control of your diet.
Alternatives To Guilty Food Pleasures
Veggie Burrito Bowl
I love Mexican food. But a big plate of nachos or a giant burrito is not going to leave me feeling energized. Instead, a veggie burrito bowl like this will give me all those flavors I’m craving without the high-calorie price tag. And it’s gluten free!
½ cup Beans & legumes, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked – 134 calories
¼ cup Guacamole – 105 calories
½ Bell pepper, red – 18.5 calories
½ Bell pepper, yellow – 25 calories
2 cups Leafy greens, raw – 30 calories
1 Tbsp Vinaigrette, light (less than 50 calories per 2 Tbsp) – 17.5 calories
1 Cumin, dash – 0 calories
1 Salt, dash – 0 calories
1 tsp Red pepper flakes, dash – 0 calories
Drain and rinse chickpeas.
Spray pan with an oil spray. Cook veggies and chickpeas ~10 minutes, stirring frequently, on medium-low heat.
Combine all ingredients.
Top with seasoning and dressing.
Note: I like Trader Joe’s fat free vinaigrette – but Paul Newman, Whole Foods, etc. all have good light dressings
If you need to bulk this up a bit more, add some roasted sweet potato.
Love french fries? I never thought I’d find a healthy alternative for this guilty pleasure, but you’ve got to try these next time you get a food craving. Rather than saturated fat (like butter or coconut oil) opt for healthy fats like olive oil spray.
2 Zucchini, medium – 66 calories
1 Egg, large – 72 calories
¾ cup Cheese, Parmesan, grated (cups) – 258.75 calories
1 tsp Garlic salt – 0 calories
½ cup Salsa – 32 calories
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Cut zucchini into thin strips
Crack egg in one bowl and whisk with a fork; mix parm and garlic salt in a second bowl
Spray 2 baking sheets (well) with an oil spray
In an assembly line, dip each piece of zucchini into the egg, then in the Parm. Add to baking sheets.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Dip in salsa.
No dairy? Toss zucchini strips in oil, don’t use the egg or Parm. Still season with garlic salt.
Pear and “Reese’s” Dip
Do you have a sweet tooth? Healthy alternatives to chocolate do exist! You can try a small amount of dark chocolate. But if that doesn’t work, indulge in these treats, guilt free.
1 Pear – 103 calories
1 Tbsp Peanut butter – 94 calories
1 Tbsp Chocolate chips – 70 calories
Add chocolate chips and peanut butter into a small microwave safe bowl
Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring, until smooth
Dip fruit into chocolate pb mixture
To make yourself some healthy ice cream, simply freeze some bananas and then blend. You’ll need a good blender for this one, but add a little unsweetened almond milk if you need to keep the blender going. You can add other berries or cacao powder to make this ice cream flavored or a little maple syrup if you like it sweet. Healthy eating can still be sweet!