As Arnold used to say, “if you train like a fool and eat like a champion, you become a champion. But if you train like a champion and eat like a fool, you stay a fool”. Reality isn’t quite as dramatic, but it’s still pretty close.
Most people get cravings for sweet, fatty foods and sometimes it seems impossible to kick those cravings without indulging in the bad food.
But, once you have eaten them unhealthy snacks, do you feel bad or guilty?
I know we do. That’s why we have found healthy snack alternatives to keep you on track.
So, can we kick cravings for unhealthy snacks and still be satisfied by eating healthier substitutes?
Since one of the hardest parts of dieting is staying away from unhealthy snacks, we at TubbyGorilla decided to give you a list of healthy alternatives that can save you in those dark times when cravings besiege the fortress of your willpower and resolve:
Need a boost in protein? Read our article on sneaky ways to add protein to each meal.
The plain version. The plainest version you can find. It’s great for when you want to satisfy cravings without getting a ton of calories, spiking blood sugar or consuming dubious sweeteners, flavourings and other chemicals that aren’t quite ideal for your health. And it’s a perfect substitute for chips, Doritos and other crunchy but unhealthy snacks.
Or, try rice cakes, topped with low-fat cheese spread or even peanut butter. Rice cakes give you that crunch and are so light that you could eat a decent amount of them without the calories or fat you would consume from a bag of crisps.
Unsweetened dark chocolate
If the cacao content is high enough to give you a headache from all the theobromine, you know it’s good for you! For those who just can’t live without chocolate, it’s a good choice. Just don’t eat too much of it – it’s still high in calories.
Aim for dark chocolate that is 70% cocoa or more. We stick with a square of 70% because it still tastes sweet and is enough to cut your cravings. Try melting a couple of squares of chocolate and dipping strawberries in it, perfect for dessert.
For when you don’t really care about calories, but would rather skip the sugar, nuts are a very good snack. Lots of healthy fats. Minimum sugar. And a little bit of plant protein on top. The best part? There are so many kinds of nuts that you’re bound to find something you’ll love. Try them all!
Stick to the natural versions of nuts though, it is tempting to buy roasted and salted nuts but the salt content is really high in these. Your body will get used to natural nuts and they are a good filling snack.
No, peanuts aren’t nuts. They are legumes. So enjoy their beany-nutty taste while getting a decent amount of protein and unsaturated fats.
Don’t really like peanuts?
Why not try drizzling melted dark chocolate over them, like M&M’s. That would make a satisfying snack that you can look forward to.
Whole grains, fruit and honey; those are the ingredients of a perfect and healthy granola bar. Don’t assume that all granola bars are healthy or perfect, though – many have sugar, HFCS or other dubious ingredients, so know what you buy. Or make your own!
These work great as a snack or a breakfast on the go. Obviously, it is better to eat a more nutritious breakfast but sometimes busy lives and schedules stop us from doing that. Rather than not having breakfast, have a granola bar if you’re short on time.
Sparkling fruit water
If you like fizzy drinks and struggle to drink plain water, why not make your own organic all-natural homemade premium fizzling drink?
Just get a fruit of your choice (lime is nice), cut it up and leave it in a jug of water – It tastes great.
To make it carbonated, you’ll need some vinegar and baking soda (not too much), a drill and some toilet paper (what?). And here is what you will do with all that stuff. Of course, you can just buy a home carbonation system or build one using less extreme methods.
Or try adding lime juice to soda water, soda water is cheap enough from the supermarkets and is easy to add flavouring too.
Whole grain cookies or protein brownies
As long as there’s no sugar, flour or hydrogenated flour on the list, whole grain cookies are as healthy as can be. You can use a little honey to make even store-bought whole grain cookies sweeter, and you can easily make your own! Add protein powder to the mixture to make them high in protein too.
Or, if you are craving chocolate brownies, make your own protein brownies. Try something different, make these homemade protein brownies without flour.
Blend 3 overripe bananas, cocoa powder, nut butter and protein powder until smooth, then bake for 20 minutes. That’s it… EASY.
Apple-banana-peanut butter bites
For those who want to cover all the bases. This recipe has it all: crunchy and creamy, sweet and tart, and if you think that’s not enough, add a bit of cinnamon or other spices.
How do you make them?
Simply slice up an apple, spread the slices with peanut butter, then sprinkle cinnamon, vanilla or whatever other spice you think might work, and finally top with banana. Voila!
Protein pancakes or waffles
You can often find various good-for-you pancake, waffle or cookie mixes in stores offering protein powders and such. Not all of those mixes are one hundred percent healthy, but if you take your time to read the ingredient list, it’s easy to find a mix that’ll be both tasty and good for you.
Try banana pancakes, super healthy and tasty. Grab 1 overripe banana and mash with a fork, add 2 eggs and a sprinkle of baking soda, then fry. Top with honey and fresh berries.
Your typical parfait is made with sugar syrup, but take greek yoghurt and top it with fresh berries, fruit, granola and a small amount of honey to create a healthier and tastier alternative.
This could be eaten for breakfast too, a great sweet healthy snack.
Blend 1 cup of strawberries, add the juice of a one half of a lemon and one half of a lime, as well as 2-3 leaves of fresh mint. Mix and pour into a shallow bowl. Place it in a freezer and let it sit there for at least three hours, but stir and mix the contents of the bowl well every hour, lest they become a solid slab of ice.
Once at least three hours have passed, enjoy the delicious and healthy frozen dessert. Or just use an ice cream maker.
Now you have some great tasty snack ideas that will help you fight your craving for unhealthy snacks.
You have a better chance of sticking to your diet if you substitute unhealthy snacks for the ones we have suggested. You might even feel like you are indulging in a naughty snack when trying these. But, at least you know they are healthy alternatives.
Let us know how you get on with these.